News Desk
 News Briefs
 News Summaries
 Arctic arts
 Readers comment
 Find a job
 Market reports
 Northern mining
 Oil & Gas
 Handy Links
 Construction (PDF)
 Opportunities North
 Best of Bush
 Tourism guides
 Feature Issues
 Today's weather
 Leave a message

NNSL Photo/Graphic

NNSL Logo .
Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall text Text size Email this articleE-mail this page

Gunn lawsuit against Okalik proceeds

Gabriel Zarate
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 15, 2008

IQALUIT - A lawsuit against former premier Paul Okalik will take its next step as soon as lawyers and their clients can line up a day to meet.

Lynda Gunn's $600,000 lawsuit, filed in April, is a claim for the mental anguish, anxiety and loss of reputation she says she suffered after then-premier Okalik used obscene words when referring to her at a government dinner in Goose Bay, N.L., in June 2007.

"I'm definitely hopeful and more than anything what I want to happen is that the Nunavut legislature recognizes the importance of its officials conducting themselves in a manner befitting their office at all times," Gunn told Nunavut News/North last week.

"I want them to also recognize that they are accountable for their actions."

Okalik and Gunn will be cross-examined by each other's lawyers so the lawyers can hear each other's cases.

It is a private session attended only by the lawyers and their clients with no judge or public participation.

This part of a lawsuit is called the examination for discovery.

"Up to this point lawyers mostly know what their clients tell them," said Gunn's lawyer Steven Cooper from Ahlstrom Wright Oliver and Cooper, LLP in Sherwood Park, Alta.

As lawyers from both sides learn each other's cases they evaluate whether to continue with the legal action.

"Our legal system frowns on ambushes," Cooper said.

Now that Okalik is no longer premier, Cooper anticipates it should be easier to schedule a time when Okalik is available.

Gunn said Okalik's slur affected her ability to do her job as CEO of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, a position from which she resigned last September.

Gunn said her departure was related to the "stress and strain" of the fallout of the premier's comment.

Okalik has apologized publicly and privately for his remark.