'You got this cuz:' Northerners express support, concern for Hunter Tootoo
Cabinet minister resigned Tuesday saying he was seeking addictions treatment
Former federal cabinet minister Hunter Tootoo's constituents are expressing concern and support for him since his announcement that he'll be leaving cabinet and seeking treatment for addictions issues.
"I support him," said Iqaluit resident Joanie Tagak in Inuktitut. "It's regrettable but that's life."
"I will support him and continue despite his shortcomings," said Emily Illnik, another Iqaluit resident, in Inuktitut. "I am sure he can be an example to others who find themselves in that situation."
"I don't know him personally, but I've known him long enough to think that maybe he tried his best," said Amber Tagalik. "His addictions problem... to actually admit it is showing strength."
Tootoo's mother, Sally Luttmer, had a similar sentiment when she spoke to CBC from Calgary.
"I am more proud of him for his courage in taking this step than I was even when he was named a minister."
In the legislature Wednesday, Premier Peter Taptuna extended his support to Tootoo, and said he has shown courage and works hard.
Nunavut cabinet minister George Hickes, a cousin of Tootoo's, said he had spoken with him briefly to offer support and assistance, and that he admired his courage.
"I think he learned a lot from my cousin Jordin [Tootoo] when he went through a similar situation a number of years ago. I commend them both for their bravery."
Jordin Tootoo chimed in as well.
It takes blood sweat and tears to stand up and ask for help from a real man. <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a> admitting is the 1st step. You got this cuz.—@Jtootoo22
Others went online to offer their own messages.
Nunavut and Canada needs a Healthy, Happy Hunter. <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a> Thanks for your leadership and you have our support. <a href="https://t.co/glx8dGbgu3">https://t.co/glx8dGbgu3</a>—@beerdman
Best of luck in your road to wellness <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a> You have my support. <a href="https://t.co/uMeuEEEXAL">https://t.co/uMeuEEEXAL</a>—@eanoee
Pujjuut Kusugak, a former mayor of Rankin Inlet, also weighed in.
Good luck <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mamisarniq?src=hash">#mamisarniq</a>—@pujjuut
As did Kenny Bell, a former city councillor in Iqaluit.
Figured twitter would be going crazy over the news, may God be with you <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a> on this journey. Ever need to chat you know where I am—@Iqaluitkid
So did Nunavut-born singer Susan Aglukark.
I will keep you in my prayers <a href="https://twitter.com/HunterTootoo">@HunterTootoo</a>—@S_Aglukark
Not all comments were positive however.
A constituent from Arctic Bay wrote that he'd wasted his vote.
In response, others chimed in, again acknowledging his courage in seeking help.
'We only have one voice'
Leona Aglukkaq, who preceded Tootoo as Nunavut MP, and was Canada's first Inuk senior cabinet minister with the Harper government, expressed concern about the impact on constituents.
"We only have one voice, so of course this is going to impact the representation that Nunavut will receive," she said.
"It's very important to have representation in Nunavut."
With files from Michael Salomonie and John Van Dusen