Solomon Malliki from Naujaat is a first-time MLA, but he should be making a name for himself with his lines of questioning in the legislative assembly.
Now, we have to be clear that much of what goes on in the House is political theatre. It’s a lot of game playing for generating headlines, promoting department initiatives and progressing supporters’ narratives. But there is some legitimate engagement that comes from it.
Malliki has asked some real questions in the latest assembly. He brought up concerns with the Kivalliq Inuit Centre, pushing Health Minister John Main on the idea that a toll-free concern line is enough to address them; sussed out the Department of Economic Development and Transportation’s lack of commitment to budget adherence on its airport plans; and most notably questioned the depth of planning that has gone into the Government of Nunavut’s Katujjiluta Mandate to create 1,000 homes in the territory.
Lorne Kusugak, the minister responsible for Nunavut Housing Corporation, was backed into a corner when asked for specifics on those plans, repeatedly saying well, he believes it’s possible but there are no details yet.
As Malliki was getting at, 1,000 housing units sounds nice, but why 1,000? Why not 900? Why not 2,000? Hopefully the GN can figure that out in the end.
In Arviat South, now-MLA Joe Savikataaq has also been showing political wit in the House during question periods. He helped lead the push that rightfully ended with Adam Lightstone resigning from cabinet for hiring his wife, and now he’s bringing up pertinent questions on whether mask usage at Government of Nunavut health facilities will be essentially indefinite, which Main indicated it may well be for the foreseeable future.
Of course, Savikataaq had to preface that with many an “I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but”, the oath we all must swear before attempting to question the Covid hawks’ religion.
Savikataaq evidently still sees meat on the conflict-of-interest bone, as he’s raised the issue again multiple times this session. Now he has Premier PJ Akeeagok in his sights, asking when exactly he knew about the issue.
At one point, Main raised a point of order about Savikataaq’s questions on this file, saying the Arviat South MLA was being overly repetitive. Speaker Paul Quassa let the questions continue.
“When a person doesn’t receive answers, it makes you want the answers more,” replied Savikataaq to Main’s point of order. “People deserve to get answers, even if it’s not the one you want to hear from an answer, as long as it’s a truthful answer.”