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MLAs oust human rights commissioner
Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny left room to abstain from assembly vote

Galit Rodan
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Members of the legislative assembly voted unanimously Thursday to oust a human rights commissioner who admitted last month to taking a document from the legislative assembly and leaking it to the media.

The document contained e-mails from Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny, apparently attempting to have a government lawsuit against him over an unpaid loan guarantee dropped. Bill Turner, who was appointed to the NWT Human Rights Commission by the legislative assembly last year, was also a part-time security guard at the legislative assembly when he found the e-mails four days after they had been written on Oct. 8 - the same week Dolynny won his seat in the legislative assembly.

Turner lied to the legislative assembly's sergeant-at-arms and law clerk about having taken the document when questioned about it the next week. But he admitted to taking the document during an interview with Yellowknifer a month later.

Robert Bouchard, MLA for Hay River North, tabled the motion to remove Turner Thursday, calling Turner's actions "contrary to the good conduct and integrity expected of a statutory office holder."

Bouchard said the Board of Management recognized "that Mr. Turner had one impulsive act. However, he compounded that one impulsive act by lying about this matter over a number of days and he implicitly attempted to deflect blame to others."

The document taken and leaked by Turner contained a series of e-mails between Dolynny, Pawan Chugh, the chief executive officer of the NWT Business Development Investment Corporation (BDIC), and BDIC lawyer Douglas McNiven. In one e-mail Dolynny offered to give the men potentially damaging information on Turner, claiming that he had leaked confidential information about Dolynny's government loan before the election, in exchange for settling the lawsuit.

Dolynny and three of his business partners are being sued by the GNWT-owned BDIC for an unpaid loan guarantee of $100,000 to Aurora World, a Yellowknife-based tourism company that went out of business in 2007.

Turner, who is also a policy adviser with the BDIC - though currently suspended - has a lawsuit pending against the GNWT. He maintains the government's affirmative action hiring policy discriminates against aboriginal job applicants from outside the territory.

Dolynny left the room while the other MLAs voted on the motion to remove Turner.

Bouchard told the assembly that Turner had taken the e-mail document from the office of the Clerk of the legislative assembly, a point Turner disputes.

"For the record, I never actually did admit to going into his office," said Turner. "There's a clerk's area which includes an open hallway and several offices ... The documents were left in the hallway."

Turner does not believe his seat on the commission would have been saved if he had initially told the truth.

"I would have been fired on the spot," he said.

Turner intends to stay in Yellowknife and appeal the decision once it is finalized by NWT Commissioner George Tuccaro.

"I'm not going to be intimidated," said Turner. "What they did was wrong and I'm actually quite shocked that not one MLA would stand up and bring up the e-mails. They didn't even mention the substance of the e-mails, which I think was relevant."

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