Citing a “serious breach of cabinet confidentiality in the legislative assembly,” Premier Joe Savikataaq stripped Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak of her cabinet portfolios on Oct. 24.
Angnakak was minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation and for Qulliq Energy Corporation.
“As a cabinet, we cannot work together effectively if we cannot trust that our colleagues are able to maintain their oaths,” Savikataaq stated. “This decision is supported by all members of the executive council, and we must act decisively when we feel our consensus-based structure is in jeopardy. I thank Minister Angnakak for her work in her various portfolios.”
Angnakak was health minister until August, when Savikataaq turned that portfolio over to George Hickes.
Savikataaq didn’t specify what constituted the breach of cabinet confidentiality.
The possible breaches are limited, as Angnakak spoke on only a small number of issues, and only one at length. While responding to Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone’s questions on staff housing on Oct. 23, she revealed that cabinet had supported many draft policy amendments on the GN’s staff housing policy.
“The next step is for staff to work out the details and how it can be implemented. As for a timeline, I don’t have an exact timeline, but I’m hoping that we’re not going to take forever on this,” Angnakak said.
She also stated that the Nunavut Housing Corporation was working with the Department of Finance to adjust staff housing rents and subsidy levels to encourage GN employees to move into their own homes or private rentals.
Lightstone said he found the response “very intriguing” and “great to hear.”
He later noted that 80 out of 157 Government of Nunavut executives and senior managers are
currently living in subsidized government staff housing when, he argued, they are the ones who can most afford private accommodations. He also highlighted that Nunavut Housing Corporation has the highest ratio of employees in staff housing and wanted to know if that’s just coincidence.
Further responses on staff housing will have to come from Lorne Kusugak, who will again oversee the Nunavut Housing Corporation portfolio. Meanwhile Jeannie Ehaloak will again be responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation.
Angnakak could not be reached for reaction prior to press deadline.