Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone has resigned from the Government of Nunavut’s executive council, and is now serving as a regular MLA.
Craig Simailak, MLA for Baker Lake will replace him in cabinet.
This follows a controversy brought up by former premier Joe Savikataaq and former finance minister George Hickes when Lightstone appointed his spouse as the acting deputy minister of human resources for five days, a department Lightstone was minister of at the time.
“I would like to apologize to this Assembly, Iqalummiut, and Nunavummiut for allowing this situation to occur. I do recognize the concerns surrounding the situation,” said Lightstone, during a special sitting of the Legislature on April 20.
He went on to add he acted upon recommendations made to him at the time by the deputy minister of human resources. “At that time I raised my concerns that this may pose a conflict of interest situation. The deputy minister assured me that these concerns would be addressed” through an alternative reporting mechanism to prevent conflict of interest.
Lightstone went on to add he believes this decision was a sound one given his wife’s extensive experience in her field.
“My wife has been working in the Employee Relations Division (of Human Resources) for nearly 10 years. She has been there to handle the GN’s most difficult situations,” he said, noting there have been multiple employees who were on leave at the time in December 2021, including the deputy minister herself.
“The fact of the matter is that I did not behave in unethical fashion. I do recognize that it was a mistake that I made and one that I fully accept the consequences for. I felt the actions being recommended to me were reasonable given the unique circumstances.”
Lightstone noted the political nature of this situation given both his and his spouse’s record of public service.
“After all that she has done for our government, members of this legislature have brought her into the public arena and questioned her integrity as well as mine in an attempt to discredit me,” the MLA said.
“I feel that this was a shameful attack on a dedicated public servant and is beneath the dignity of this Assembly.”