Nunavut MP back from alcohol treatment, will meet public Wednesday in Iqaluit

Kent Driscoll
APTN National News
IQALUIT — Nunavut MP and former minister Hunter Tootoo has announced that he is ready to return to Parliament Hill and will host an open house in Iqaluit this week.

“After completing my treatment for alcohol addiction, I wish to invite my constituents to an open house where I will be available to address their concerns as I resume my duties as their Member of Parliament,” Tootoo wrote in an email to media on Monday.

This is the first time since resigning at the end of May that Tootoo has mentioned alcohol specifically as his addiction. All previous statements from the MP referred to undescribed addiction issues.

On May 31, Tootoo resigned as the federal minister of fisheries and oceans, and from the Liberal caucus, stating he was going to receive addictions treatment. He now sits as an independent.

At least one other Liberal MP in this session has left to seek addictions treatment.

But unlike Tootoo, Newfoundland MP Seamus O’Regan did not leave caucus, and was sent off with a number of good luck wishes from Trudeau.
Tootoo did not receive the same send-off from the Liberal leader.

Trudeau had few words when asked about Tootoo’s exit from his portfolio and the Liberal party.

“Hunter Tootoo has left the Liberal caucus and resigned from cabinet to seek treatment for addiction issues. This was his own choice after a very difficult situation and we’ll have nothing further to say on the matter,” Trudeau told media during an impromptu scrum on Parliament Hill.

Tootoo left almost immediately following the Liberal national convention in Winnipeg at the end of May but it is unclear whether his resignation is related.
The open house and news conference will take place at Tootoo’s Iqaluit office on Wednesday.

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