Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 08, 2018 - 10:30 am

MLAs tear into Nunavut government over child sexual abuse

"It’s very important for us as a government representing the people of this territory to stand up and scream it from the hilltops.. that this is not acceptable"

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main on the staggering prevalence of child sexual abuse in Nunavut: “I think it’s time for us as a government to stand up and scream it from the hills that this is not acceptable.” (FILE PHOTO)
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main on the staggering prevalence of child sexual abuse in Nunavut: “I think it’s time for us as a government to stand up and scream it from the hills that this is not acceptable.” (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated at 11:10 a.m.)

Members of the Nunavut government, including Premier Paul Quassa, struggled to fend off questions in the Nunavut legislature earlier this week about the staggering amount of child sexual abuse in the territory.

But after Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes accused Quassa on Thursday, June 7 of being “evasive,” Quassa finally agreed, in a one-word answer—“yes”—to write a letter to the office of the governor general, demanding that child sexual abuser Ike Haulli be stripped of his Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“It’s very important for us as a government representing the people of this territory to stand up and scream it from the hilltops…that this is not acceptable and that we will make this change,” John Main, the MLA for Arviat North Whale Cove said that morning.

Main started his line of questioning on June 6, when he asked Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak about what the Nunavut government plans to do about child sexual abuse.

Main said he had heard shocking numbers at a recent meeting with Nunavut RCMP members.

“We were informed that within the Nunavut territory, sexual abuse is 155 per cent higher than the national average. We need to tackle this issue as a government,” Main said.

Ehaloak said the Government of Nunavut’s Justice Department continues to administer its “victim care program,” using funding from the federal government.

“The Department of Justice will continue to work with our federal counterparts to advance victim services in Nunavut,” Ehaloak said.

She also said the Justice Department is trying to find housing for victims “to house them while evidence is being gathered” and that the RCMP visits schools to educate children about sexual abuse.

Main, reading from the Justice Department’s business plan, said one of the department’s objectives is “to help create a positive healthy relationship between the offender and the community.”

With that in mind, he asked how that can work in small communities.

“Can the minister explain to me what that looks like when it comes to a convicted sexual offender who is returning to a small community, where they may be in very close contact or may see the victims or the people that have been negatively affected by their crime?” Main said.

“What does creating a positive, healthy relationship between the offender and the community look like in terms of sexual abusers?”

Ehaloak replied that she doesn’t have that “level of detail of information,” but that she would be willing to share it later by tabling a document in the House.

Main continued to question the government the next day when he asked Quassa if he would write a letter to the governor general’s office asking that Haulli’s Diamond Jubilee medal, given to him in 2012, be revoked.

This past April, following a civil court proceeding, Justice Earl Johnson of the Nunavut court awarded a $1.22 million in damages to four people from Igloolik who Haulli sexually abused between 1968 and 1986.

Following Haulli’s exposure as a sexual predator, the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council wrote to Rideau Hall demanding that Haulli’s Diamond Jubilee honour be revoked.

And they asked others to join them in that effort.

“We call on all northerners to protect and support those vulnerable to the violent actions of some men and boys,” Qulliit said at the time.

Quassa responded to Main Thursday by saying the “government has zero tolerance,” but that the letter from Qulliit is enough and that he hadn’t been asked to write such a letter.

Later that day, Hickes rose and accused Quassa of being evasive on the issue and demanded again whether he would write a letter calling for Haulli’s medal to be revoked.

In response to Hickes’s last question, Quassa provide a one-word answer: “yes.”

You can find an online petition started by Qulliit, calling for Haulli’s honour to be revoked, here.

With files from Jane George


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(26) Comments:

#1. Posted by disgusted on June 08, 2018

I wrote a letter and sent the news article to the GG’s office the day it was made public.

#2. Posted by safe house on June 08, 2018

Nunavut communities need an emergency rape clinic open 24 hours a day!

#3. Posted by Qimanaaku on June 08, 2018

I ran away 2 years ago from Nunavut to save myself from the pedophile ring who killed my brother. Corrupt authority and police cover ups happen here…and I am standing with George and John for speaking out against the elephant in the room. I know people who would ask for help if they knew it would come for them…this is a crisis

#4. Posted by Answer on June 08, 2018

Not exactly the wholehearted support you’d expect from someone in that position. Why is that, Mr. Quassa? Time to address the past. It’s getting awkward.

#5. Posted by Joe at Haven on June 08, 2018

At very long last, we have strong, honest MLA,s in Nunavut who are
listening to the real concerns of the people. John and George.
Myself and other students complained about sexual abuse back in the
  1980’s but nothing happened.
” A healthy relationship between the offender and the community ” , why
are such people in politics ?  Maybe you should give swastikas to the
victims of the Nazi’ s.  Make them feel better.
  Certain MLA’s are only in it for themselves and big money.

#6. Posted by Jobi on June 08, 2018

I am happy with some of these new mlas. Not afraid to bring up the sad and bad things about NU. But also 2 many of these mlas say nothing. Why did they get elected. Just for the money. Sad.

#7. Posted by Conflict on June 08, 2018

Why is someone who has been convicted of a sex crime allowed to be part of the process to stop the behaviour
This is conflict of interest.
Maybe MLA should be forced to get criminal record check and those that cannot pass a vulnerable sector check cannot be in Power.
Of course he was being evasive, good job to the MLA’s for bringing this to light.
There should be a 0 tolerance for pedophiles in Nunavut.

#8. Posted by WhyNot? on June 08, 2018

Here is where the rubber hits the road.
Go John, go George!!!

I have said for years that the Legislative Assembly avoids this topic either because:
1. You, yourself have abused someone
2. You fear your male voters in your small community, for getting into this subject
3.You are a darn coward who is a denier, on purpose
4. You fear what will happen at the next election from stirring it up.
5. You are willing to continue to let kids be sexually abused rather than confront the adults
Any way you look at it, some MLAs are cowards willing to sacrifice children.

#9. Posted by Qimanaaku on June 08, 2018

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

#10. Posted by Jobi on June 08, 2018

The first time was in 1992 after Quassa was convicted of sexual assault.

The second time was in 1994 when he was charged by the RCMP for abandoning a child and resisting arrest.

Last October, the board of directors suspended Quassa for misusing NTI money. He was reinstated in December after reimbursing NTI for the approximately $30,000 he’d misused.

Straight from Nunatsiaq.

#11. Posted by Nepotism on June 08, 2018

So many times the issues were ignored, or swept under the carpet.
  Certain RCMP and Social Service workers could have done better,
or should have reported to their superiors.
People favouring relatives has caused a lot of friction.
  We have to support John and George by making sure they are not
” back stabbed ” by jealous people.

Good comments all around people.

#12. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 09, 2018

Better get your facts straight #10 Jobi before he comes back at you with a lawsuit.

#13. Posted by Jobi on June 09, 2018

Interesting # 12 - this is what was directly reported by Nunatsiaq. Lawsuit for what? Reading the newspaper?

#14. Posted by Ned on June 09, 2018

Looks like #12 needs a little reeducation. Is he saying Nunatsiaq got it wrong and was asked to retract their article or was sued. My understanding is that when the the courts say convicted then theres no getting the facts straight at a later date.

#15. Posted by olaf on June 09, 2018

Seems to me that # 8 is correct on all 5 counts.

That’s why we need women who are movers and shakers rather than the timid ones we have now.

Keep digging George and John.

#16. Posted by No Child Abused on June 09, 2018

Wow!  This has to be talked about
We cannot hide when things are this bad for kids, young women and older women in Nunavut.
To all those people who live in denial, shame on you!
You are sacrificing whole generations of victims.
If you are leaders, get some spine and do something about it.
I agree with a massive, hard-hitting Marketing Campaign firmly telling the people that this is unacceptable behaviour. 
It will give their many victims hope when they see their own government taking a strong stand.

#17. Posted by You Know Who on June 10, 2018

If the above comments are true, then it is like the fox is ruling the henhouse. Wouldn’t his involvement be a conflict of interest? Maybe our eminent legal scholars from the Nunavut law school should give us some perspective… that might be better than Murphy’s law (analysis)!

#18. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 11, 2018

Jobi & Ned. What I am saying is that Wikipedia reports that he although charged with sexual assault, the case was a discharge not a conviction. A big difference.
Also yes on appeal you CAN have a case reviewed after a conviction,
Just suggesting that you don’t necessarily always depend on Nunatsiaq news and Wikipedia for that matter.

#19. Posted by hah on June 11, 2018

Paul Murphy,

everyone knows you cant rely on Wikipedia as a source of factual information.

Nunatsiaq news has the case reported as CONVICTED…

#20. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 11, 2018

“The first time was in 1992 after Quassa was charged with sexual assault. He was convicted, but received an absolute discharge. After an accused person has been found guilty by way of a plea or conviction after trial, a discharge may be granted by the court, eventually nullifying any criminal record that the guilty person may have had.”

I must agree that Jobi is correct. Mr Quassa was convicted, BUT he also received and absolute discharge.

Just goes to show one, that not all reporting (media or Wikipedia) reports ALL of the information.

#21. Posted by Frank on June 11, 2018

Its not Jobi. Its Nunatsiaq. This individual never stated anything of a personal nature.

#22. Posted by guesser on June 11, 2018

An absolute discharge is usually given if the person has no previous criminal history, or something like that. It isn’t given because the person wasn’t guilty. It’s part of the sentence after a person is found guilty.

#23. Posted by No PR Can save you on June 12, 2018

I guess there is a Similar situation happening in the Legislative assembly as Harvey Weinstein, not even the best PR can save him

#24. Posted by Monica Connolly on June 12, 2018

Jobi’s quote from Nunatsiaq News (#10) is misleading as it stands, because it suggests that the NTI suspension occurred a few months ago. In fact, the entire quote comes from an article published in 2001. The criminal conviction happened 25 years ago.
An absolute discharge is the very smallest consequence a court can impose after a guilty finding. It means no “criminal record” and is imposed when it would be in the best interests of the defendant and at the same time not against the interests of the public.

#25. Posted by Putuguk on June 12, 2018

Conflict of Interest definition -

“a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.”

The Premier is not conflicted whether or not he expresses GN displeasure over the behavior of an Jubilee Award winner.

Public discourse on this issue (which the Premier’s inaction have stoked) has shed light on his own past.

And, it may make the Premier out to be a hypocrite.

Or, it can be seen as hugely educational (albeit ironic) for a former sexual abuser to be grudgingly forced into taking such a public stance.

All not looking good for Quassa. 

But, for the Premier to be suspected of conflict of interest, there would have to be some reason to believe that Mr. Haulli or someone else has promised something in return for GN silence on whether or not he retains the Jubilee Award.

That is a serious completely unfounded accusation. So people should be reminded what this phrase actually means.

#26. Posted by Frustrating on June 13, 2018

Ehaloak said “the Justice Department is trying to find housing for victims to house them while evidence is being gathered”, well there was a Children’s Group Home in Iqaluit for just that purpose but some GN brain child decided to close it to children. It’s now a home for teenagers and while that was needed, it shouldn’t have been at the expense of children.

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