Tootoo vows to stay on following admission of ‘inappropriate relationship”

Hunter Tootoo says he’s staying put despite “inappropriate relationship”

(Independent MP Hunter Tootoo would only speak with select northern media Thursday in Iqaluit – and only by phone. APTN file photo)

Kent Driscoll
APTN National News
IQALUIT — Embattled Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo admitted Wednesday that the reason he left his cabinet position in government and the Liberal caucus was due to an “inappropriate relationship.”

On Wednesday, as the country was still digesting the terms of reference for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, Tootoo went on CBC in Iqaluit and read a prepared statement acknowledging the “inappropriate relationship.”

On Thursday, he took questions from only a select group of northern reporters.

But Tootoo offered little information.

“I voluntarily informed the Prime Minister, that I made a mistake, that I had engaged in a potential inappropriate relationship,” said Tootoo. “And I knew in my mind that is not behaviour that I believe is appropriate. I was ashamed of that, I’m deeply sorry, and that’s why I resigned from cabinet and stepped away from caucus.”

Despite APTN Iqaluit being across the street from his office, and 2 minutes from his home, Tootoo would only answer questions by phone and refused to go on camera.

“As you can imagine, I have a number of interviews to do, and the easiest for me was to just to do it over the phone. And I’m dealing with the northern media, talking to my constituents,” Tootoo said.

The Globe and Mail asked Tootoo repeatedly about a “young staffer.” APTN asked Tootoo about what kind of relationship between two adults is “inappropriate” enough for removal from caucus if it didn’t involve staff?

“I recognized that I made a mistake, I engaged in what I felt was, I believe was, a consensual but inappropriate relationship, and I did what I believe was the right thing. It was the right thing to do,” said Tootoo.

Tootoo said he planned to stay in office, and maintains that he can be an effective MP for Nunavut.

“If I wouldn’t have taken the steps I did, it would have affected my ability to do my job, and do my job properly. I recognized alcohol was taking control of my life, and taking me down a road I did not want to down,” said Tootoo.

TOOTOO BACK
Independent Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo addresses media in Iqaluit July 27. Tootoo says he is staying on as Nunavut MP. File photo

 

The Prime Minister’s Office is also facing more questions about Tootoo’s removal. In addition to the prepared statement he read Wednesday night, Tootoo put this on Twitter.

“Deeply sorry. Voluntarily told PMO about consensual relationship. Was asked to keep it private. I resigned went to addiction treatment.”

Tootoo said he is keeping the identities of those involved quiet.

“I was not asked by the Prime Minister’s Office to keep this quiet. There’s only so much room on Twitter to put anything as I said in my statement last night, I was asked by the individual, to protect her privacy, and I’m respecting that wish,” said Tootoo.

Despite being banished, Tootoo repeated an earlier statement about holding the federal Liberal Party in high regard.

“I have the utmost respect for the Prime Minister, I believe in his government, and nothing’s changed on that front,” said Tootoo.

APTN asked Tootoo if he could do it all again, would he have come out sooner with this information.

”My interest, right from May 31st, was to protect the privacy of the individual involved, as was requested,” he said. “And that’s what I attempted to do, and am doing”

Tootoo said he planned to tour various parts of Nunavut before returning to Parliament on September 15th.

That is where Nunavummiut will learn if their newly independent MP can truly represent the territory now that he is no longer a Liberal cabinet minister.

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1 thought on “Tootoo vows to stay on following admission of ‘inappropriate relationship”

  1. sounds a lot like someone in a power position preying on someone in a subordinate position doesn’t it.

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