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‘This government has to stabilize,’ says Johnny Mike

In light of Nunavut premier Paul Quassa's sudden removal from office on June 14, Nunavut News contacted Johnny Mike, former cabinet minister and MLA for Pangnirtung, 2013-17 for his reaction. Here's what he had to say:

"When it comes to leadership performance reviews, I think it should be handled more fairly," says Johnny Mike, former cabinet minister and Pangnirtung MLA.
photo courtesy of Johnny Mike

I can only speculate, but the issue came up that Premier Quassa (had) a transparency problem. The new government has a transparency problem too because they haven't really defined why Premier Quassa was removed.

We've got to see transparency. We, the public, are waiting for that.

There has to be a better way of having a non-confidence vote process. It sounded like this was done through a backroom deal instead of the MLAs having a full caucus meeting about it or committee meetings. When it comes to leadership performance reviews, I think it should be handled more fairly.

This issue of removing the premier by non-confidence vote brings forward a lot of issues that need to be dealt with now by this government to see if this new government can handle and development a new policy to go with the Inuit traditional way of governing the cabinet and the MLAs.

During the land claims agreement, I was one of the advocates (examining) how this new government was going to work and sure enough the way it was going to be handled was a public government.

Once that happens, this government has obligations to follow the Canadian government system that is in place, which is a democracy. We've got to realize that if you want to beat out that old democracy system with the traditional Inuit way of doing things, then let's find it, let's do it and use it.

I'm tired of seeing this whole song of, you know, 'Inuit should be running the government, the Inuit way should be running the government' – but it hasn't happened after 19 years.

Something has to develop now, something has to form. It has to change lives. We have so much social problems, social unrest. We've never seen this before in Nunavut, not in our history – we see murder, we see standoffs, people are dying.

This government has to stabilize. Stability is the only solution now to implement the Turaaqtavut mandate.