Two MLAs challenged Premier Joe Savikataaq Thursday to defend how he’s handled breaches of confidentiality within different departments.
Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk pointed out that a confidential document from a cabinet minister’s office was leaked in September, which resulted in an apology from Education Minister David Joanasie. However, Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak was stripped of her Housing and Qulliq Energy Corporation portfolios earlier this week for violating cabinet confidentiality.
Savikataaq replied that his disciplinary decisions had nothing to do with gender.
“I treat all ministers equally. I don’t look at a minister as a male minister or a female minister. I treat them all equally,” he said.
The biggest difference in the two cases is that the leak under Joanasie was by a staff member and it was out of Joanasie’s control whereas Angnakak ignored confidentiality by choice, according to Savikataaq.
“She chose to breach a confidential cabinet document here in the House. That’s the main difference between the two,” the premier said.
Aggu MLA Paul Quassa, who was removed as premier in June after less than a year in office, followed up on Kaernerk’s line of questioning.
“It seems like they’re not being treated fairly,” Quassa said. “If that’s the way we’re going to operate, then there is going to be non-confidence in the government.”
Savikataaq responded, “I always make sure that I treat everybody fairly because that’s the way I am… If you have non-confidence in the government, then you know that action will have to be taken. It’s at your call.”