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Controversy continued in the capital Friday after the chief electoral officer of the Northwest Territories accused the clerk of the Legislative Assembly of “continued” harassment.

Nicole Latour levelled the accusation against Tim Mercer in an email to Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr. and 15 other recipients dated 12:10 p.m. Friday, which NNSL Media obtained.

Latour confirmed late Friday afternoon that she sent the email addressed to “Mr. Speaker and members of the House.”

Nicole Latour, chief electoral officer of the Northwest Territories, complained of harassment against the Clerk of the NWT Legislative Assembly in an email sent to the Speaker on Feb. 12.

“I will just say it was sent, but I don’t want to go down any other roads other than it was sent,” she said. She did not explain what type of harassment she was referring to.

The email’s subject line is “Clerk’s targeted malfeasance.”

“I truly feel I have nothing more to lose,” she wrote, referring to “harassment I have experienced throughout my tenure.”

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That tenure began in 2014. Latour oversees the territory’s elections, byelections and plebiscites and reports to the Legislative Assembly, but executes her duties free of influence from its elected members.

Her job description was included in posts on the careers page of NNSL Media’s website Jan. 14 and Jan. 18.

Wrote premier three weeks ago

In her email, Latour said she wrote Premier Caroline Cochrane confidentially three weeks ago but hasn’t received a response.

“I had hoped it would may be raised with members and perhaps it has and I am unaware,” Latour stated. 

She wrote that “continued, targeted but deliberately muted, malfeasance stems not from the members on the Board of Management but from the clerk, Tim Mercer.”

Tim Mercer, clerk of the Assembly of the NWT. NNSL file photo

The Board of Management is a committee of MLAs. Mercer serves as the secretary of their meetings. The board oversees important functions of the legislature, including the formation of the GNWT budget, deciding what sort of compensation MLAs receive and “establishing the organization and staff of the Legislative Assembly.”

The chief electoral officer is appointed by the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and oversees Elections NWT, which is an arms length agency that follows the Elections and Plebiscites Act. 

The clerk, likewise, is appointed by the Commissioner on the recommendation of the Board of Management, and via a motion passed by MLAs.

The premier’s office deferred NNSL Media’s questions to the Speaker, who oversees employees of the Legislative Assembly. Blake’s office told NNSL Media he was taking part in a Board of Management meeting Friday afternoon.

Mercer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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