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Savikataaq succeeds in removing Netser from cabinet, but former minister maintains he’s been wronged

Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser was officially removed from cabinet in a recorded vote on Friday.

Voting in favour of ousting Netser were Premier Joe Savikataaq, David Akeeagok, George Hickes, Jeannie Ehaloak, Allan Rumbolt, Pat Angnakak, Joelie Kaernerk, John Main, Calvin Pedersen, Craig Simailak, Adam Arreak Lightstone, David Joanasie, Lorne Kususgak and Pauloosie Keyootak.

Opposed were Tony Akoak, Emiliano Qirngnuq and Netser.

David Qamaniq abstained. Cathy Towtongie, Margaret Nakashuk and Elisapee Sheutiapik weren't present.

“This kind of intolerance is not covered under one’s freedom of expression and it is simply not an option to ignore this intolerance,” Premier Joe Savikataaq said of Patterk Netser’s social media comments that intertwined abortion and Black Lives Matter.
NNSL file photo

The premier and Netser engaged in a couple of verbal exchanges via points of order in the House. Netser said Savikataaq called him at home on the day he made his controversial Facebook post referencing abortion and the Black Lives Matter.

“I offered right away to offer my apologies, but (Savikataaq) said, ‘No, it’s too late.’ Just to clarify that, he accused me of being arrogant and refusing to apologize,” said Netser.

Savikataaq interjected and said Netser was misleading the House.

“At no point in any communications or conversation I had with the member did I call him arrogant,” the premier said.

Netser said close friends of his in the Black community have made him realize that the term “all lives matter” has been used to try to undermine the cause of the Black community.

“My reference to ‘all lives matter’ was certainly not stated in that context and I would not have chosen these words if I knew they could be misconstrued as attempting to negate the struggles of my Black brothers and sisters,” Netser said. “As Inuit we can all [empathize] with the Black Lives Matter movement because we too have experiences with racism.”

Netser continued to insist he was being treated unfairly for his religious convictions and he has a right to freedom of speech.

Savikataaq asserted that this issue was not one of religion or freedom of expression. Instead, it was a matter of “targeting specific groups and voicing an unacceptable opinion on the value of an entire
group of people as well as women’s access to health care. This kind of intolerance is not covered under one’s freedom of expression and it is simply not an option to ignore this intolerance,” he said.

“The fact is as members of this legislative assembly, our code of conduct states that ‘We will acknowledge the need to conduct ourselves in a manner that withstands the closest public scrutiny. We will refrain from behaviour that brings dishonour or disrepute to ourselves, the legislative assembly
or the people of Nunavut’ and that we, again quoted from the code of conduct, ‘we all
promise to uphold, respect the roles and place of all residents of Nunavut’… it is clear that Minister Netser’s comments do not respect or honour them and these views should have no place in our leadership.”