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Nunavut MLA Patterk Netser ousted from cabinet

Nunavut MLA Patterk Netser ousted from cabinet
Nunavut MLA Patterk Netser ousted from cabinet

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:الجمعة 23 أكتوبر 2020 12:53 مساءً Nunavut MLA Patterk Netser has been removed from cabinet after a 14-3 vote by his fellow MLAs in the legislator on Friday morning.

"I sometimes have to make difficult decisions in the best interest of our territory. This is one of those times. There can be no tolerance for disrespectful hurtful actions," said Premier Joe Savikataaq. 

Savikataaq introduced a motion on Wednesday — the first day of the fall sitting — to remove Netser from the executive council. Savikataaq accused Netser of making comments "based in racism and gender violence."

Netser's demotion follows a recent Facebook post in which the MLA criticized Black women for having abortions. In the same post, Netser also stated "all lives matter," a phrase largely seen as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement because it discounts the disproportionate racism that Black people face.

Two weeks ago, the premier stripped Netser of his ministerial portfolios. The Aivilik MLA was minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation and the Nunavut Arctic College.

In a statement on Friday morning in the legislator, Netser denied the premier's claim that his were racist or gender violent. 

'We cannot say whatever we want'

Iqaluit Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone seconded the motion to oust Netser. 

MLAs Tony Akoak, Emiliano Qirngnuq and Netser opposed. MLA David Qamaniq abstained from voting while three others, Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik, MLAs Cathy Towtongie and Margaret Nakashuk were not present in the house for the vote.

Qirngnuq said he was uncomfortable with the motion because the statements by Netser were made outside of the assembly. He asked for deep reflection on the severity of government reaction. 

Jeannie Ehaloak, minister of Justice and responsible for Human Rights Tribunal, supported the vote to oust Netser from cabinet.

Justice minister Jeannie Ehaloak says saying 'whatever we want to' puts the credibility of government at risk. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

"We can believe whatever we want to. But we cannot say whatever we want when those statements have a negative impact on the rights and dignity of others," Ehaloak said.

"This is particularly true for those of us in office."

Doing so puts the credibility of government at risk, she added.

Savikataaq said Wednesday that he expected MLAs to support his motion to take the next step and remove Netser from cabinet. The premier wanted MLAs to vote on his motion on Wednesday, but Netser voted to delay it until Friday.

The ousted minister also spoke out on Wednesday, making no apologies for his social media posts. In a member's statement, he said he was being punished "because of my Christian principles and values."

Now out of cabinet, Netser told reporters on Friday that he will continue as an MLA.

 The cabinet vacancy has triggered a leadership forum to be held to elect another MLA to fill the spot. The date for the forum has yet to be determined.   

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