MLAs reveal debts, business interests

Environment Minister hid “embarrassing” $10,000 rent arrears from the public



The disclosure agreements signed annually by Nunavut’s members of the legislative assembly have been under scrutiny since the CBC discovered in the documents more than $10,000 in unpaid rent to Nunavut Housing Corporation.

On March 2, Louis Tapardjuk, minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, declared in his statement that he owes over $10,000 to the territory’s housing corporation in rent arrears, and at least $10,000 to Revenue Canada in unpaid taxes, a debt he says he incurred 10 to 15 years ago.

The CBC later revealed that Environment Minister Olayuk Akesuk had failed to declare in March a debt that he did declare last year, but that still hasn’t been paid.

Akesuk violated the Integrity act by not declaring that he owes the municipality of Cape Dorset at least $10,000 in rent money. He told the CBC he wanted to avoid “embarrassing his family.”

As cabinet ministers, both Akesuk and Tapardjuk earn over $120,000 a year, and say they will pay their debts.

As Nunatsiaq News was reading disclosure statements in the Legislative library, a representative of the city of Iqaluit called the library to inquire whether any members had declared debts to the city.

Nunavut’s Integrity Act requires all members of the legislative assembly to disclose assets, income, or debts from business activities outside of their work for the government.

Members are not required to disclose debts or assets worth less than $10,000, or any assets or debts deemed “personal,” such as a mortgage, a house, and child or spousal support payments.

Tapardjuk was the only minister to declare outstanding debts to the housing corporation and to Revenue Canada.

Nunatsiaq News found that Akesuk did not declare anything in his statement dated March 2 of this year.

Energy Minister and Kivalliq businessman David Simailak declared several business activities and business assets in his statement.

He declared a salary from Piruqsaijit Ltd, a business services firm in Rankin Inlet, as well as honorariums from Tapiriit Developments Corporation and Qamanittuaq Development Corporation, both of Rankin Inlet. Simailak has served as the president of all three firms since he helped to create them in 1987.

Simailak also declared an interest in The Land Store in Baker Lake and Ilagiiktut Ltd. in Rankin Inlet.

Peter Kilabuk, minister of Community and Government Services, declared some ownership of Cumberland Sound Fisheries in Pangnirtung.

Health Minister Levinia Brown declared a credit card debt of over $10,000 to CIBC Visa.

Finance Minister Leona Aglukkaq declared similar credit card debts of over $10,000 to CIBC Visa and over $10,000 to American Express.

David Alagalak, the member for Arviat, declared income from Dapa Enterprise in Arviat, and also stated that he had personally guaranteed an RBC bank loan for “equipment purchases” for the company.

Alagalak declared a contract Dapa had with the GN for a gravel pad construction job.

James Arreak, member for Uqqummiut, declared an honorarium received from the Clyde River Housing Association as well as rent earned through Aarruja Development Corporation in Clyde River.

Kugluktuk MLA Joe Allen Evyagotailak declared a salary from the RCMP as well as board fees earned from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Steve Mapsalak, member for Akulliq, declared income from Mapsalak Outfitting in Repulse Bay, as well as agency commissions received through that company from Keewatin Air in Winnipeg.

Levi Barnabas, Quttiktuq MLA, declared share ownership in Katujjijiit Development Corporation in Iqaluit.

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