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Integrity commissioner mum on health minister complaint

Health minister Diane Thom, left. and Premier Caroline Cochrane speak to reporters about the public health emergency at the legislative assembly on Wednesday. Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

The status of a complaint about Health Minister Diane Thom's alleged violation of Covid health orders is unclear after Integrity Commissioner David Phillip Jones declined to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

"It would not be appropriate for me to make any comment about this specific case," said Jones, the NWT's integrity commissioner, in response to a question from NNSL Media as to whether he planned to investigate allegations by Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson against Thom and Premier Caroline Cochrane.

Jacobson accused the health minister of having attended a cabin party in March at Airport Lake near Inuvik where there were allegedly at least 10 people present, including some people who were supposed to be self-isolating, according to a letter Jacobson sent to Jones on June 26.

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Jacobson also claimed in the letter that the premier misled MLAs when asked about the gathering and encouraged Thom to downplay the incident "in an effort to save face publicly."

The MLA concluded his letter by recommending that an investigation be conducted into the allegations against Thom.

Cochrane and Thom had little to say about the investigation. In an email to NNSL Media, they said Jacobson's letter contained "uncertainties" in regards to which health orders were in place at that time of the incident in March.

"Given the uncertainty and out of respect for the commissioner and any investigation he might choose to undertake, we are not going to comment publicly on this matter while he is still looking into it. Should the commissioner decide to investigate the complaint, Cabinet will cooperate fully with him,” they said.

Jacobson has been contacted for further comment on the complaint and possible investigation. NNSL Media is awaiting a response.