Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 15, 2018 - 4:30 pm

New Nunavut premier shuffles cabinet

Former premier Paul Okalik no longer in charge of devolution

The Savikataaq cabinet, in the Nunavut legislature, on Friday, June 15, the day after Joe Savikataaq became Nunavut's new premier.  (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)
The Savikataaq cabinet, in the Nunavut legislature, on Friday, June 15, the day after Joe Savikataaq became Nunavut's new premier. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

At the end of a tumultuous week, Premier Joe Savikataaq announced changes to executive council portfolios late Friday, less than 24 hours after he took over as premier from Aggu MLA Paul Quassa.

The changes mean David Akeeagok, MLA for Quttiktuq, is the new deputy premier and minister of economic development and transportation.

George Hickes, MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, who returned to cabinet yesterday, is the new minister of finance, a portfolio formerly held by Akeeagok.

Jeannie Ehaloak is the new minister of environment, in addition to her current portfolios, which include justice and the Qulliq Energy Corp.

But former Nunavut premier Paul Okalik’s appointment as chief negotiator for devolution “is no longer in effect,” a news release on the cabinet appointments said.

Okalik had started that job only earlier this week.

A replacement will be appointed at a later date, the release said.

“I understand the uncertainty that has transpired over the last week and I want to tell my fellow Nunavummiut that this cabinet is focused on ensuring strong, healthy and successful partnerships and outcomes,” Savikataaq said.

“Turaaqtavut lays out the foundation of our government’s work, and these appointments today will certainly embolden our steps, and help us as we move ahead, towards a better future for our territory.”

These changes take effect immediately, the release said.

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(29) Comments:

#1. Posted by CAMBAY INUK on June 15, 2018

Why is Jeannie Ehaloak taking on another role as Minister of Environment when she couldn’t even make progress as a Mayor of her town? Unbelievable.. We hope she has leant how to do her homework these past 7 months!

#2. Posted by Still asking questions on June 15, 2018

Not the best start.

Both the Akeeagok and the Okalik demotions look like people have been removed from positions based more on politics and less on competencies.  Those two would to contribute in those positions. Smart people with knowledge and skills - now they are moved on. It is Nunavut that loses when we refuse to use the talent we have.

Good that Joe has continued with the mandate.

Waiting to hear how Executive will implement the concerns from members when they removed Quassa. Maybe a new executive travel policy? Was it that simple? Does not seem likely.

#3. Posted by Bbff on June 15, 2018

Okalik has conflict of interest anyways isn’t he working for WWF, major conflict in my 👀 eyes.

#4. Posted by Really on June 15, 2018


David had to be moved to give the number 2 job to George.  After all, he earned the Finance job by orchestrating Paul’s departure. Besides, David was made Deputy Premier.

As for the other Paul, perhaps Joe realizes that the Devolution offers nothing to the GN at this time.

As for refusing to use talent, has that not been the history of Nunavut?

There’s an Inuk surgeon in Ottawa, but none in Nunavut.  There’s an Inuk in Nunavut who graduated from Harvard, but the GN has nothing for him.  Years ago I met doctor who was working in Nunavut as…..... a nannie!

#5. Posted by Observing on June 15, 2018

Very nicely done.  Good choices and I hope the departments react appropriately.  This executive council has gone back to community focus and I am happy to see these changes.

#6. Posted by Former insider on June 15, 2018

Too many Inuit were starting to get into the top jobs, something had to be done. Here you go, back to square one.

#7. Posted by george on June 15, 2018

Cartoon land. I mean how serious is one supposed to take all of this? Not.

#8. Posted by Cam bay Inuk on June 15, 2018

#1 you nailed the Justice Minister correctly, she does not know what, when and how to lead her department. She is good for nothing and why these people are given positions. What is shuapik doing other than taking pictures .

#9. Posted by like anywhere else in canada except in quebec on June 16, 2018

feels like any regular place of 37,000 people anywhere else in cananda except in quebec.  same old same old.  devolution is put on the shelf.  what does Greenland think?  Hvordan kan nunavut bevare kulturelle traditioner i sprog, når engelsk bruges 99,9% af tiden?  hvordan vil inuit finde land mad på land, der anvendes af mineselskaber?  Syn på nunavut sættes på hylden ved siden af lederne fra disse dage. fransk og engelsk sprogregel i nunavut. Intet nyt her at se.  in the end, anything goes, in a hurry and like anywhere else in canada except in quebec.  nothing new here to see.  everything here is predictable just like anywhere else in canada except in quebec.

#10. Posted by Uvanga on June 16, 2018

Totally orchestrated by Hickes, Savikataaq, Angnakak and Adam. The whole thing stinks. Adam said people were getting terminated from the Quassa government probably referring to Press secretary who was replaced by an Inuk with a degree in journalism. The press secretary at the time had worked for Hickes as an EA and also Adam advertised her in the house as a good worker and should be picked up by a minister or premier. Sure enough was picked up by premier Quassa. And Angnakak nominated Savikataaq for premier and Hickes has been rewarded with the highest portfolio of finance.

#11. Posted by Killaapik on June 16, 2018

Where’s the Inuit pride? The top two men, Savikataaq and Hickes the only ones using non Inuit clothing.  Ujjirnluaqtuuk

#12. Posted by REALITY CHECK on June 16, 2018

Pat Arnaquq is all smiles today - “crying” yesterday when she voted her own premier out…All class and Integrity - RIGHT!!!...All one needs to do is see who prospers -

#13. Posted by All my god ! on June 16, 2018

Don’t forget comment number one. She has a major degree at arctic college or at Nunavut Harvard. Lol

#14. Posted by Resident on June 16, 2018

Maybe or perhaps with a new Nunavut premier which will make a difference in these smaller Nunavut communities. Hopefully everyone will get off their asses and Cambridge bay will receive their new renovation at the arena. Poor kids. Still no hockey maybe for another year. Iqaluit gets everything. No fair.

#15. Posted by Inuk on June 16, 2018

With a new Nunavut premier maybe Cambridge bay youth will be able to play hockey this year. Year has gone pass with no hockey arena. Poor kids and community. Fix the arena Nunavut government.

#16. Posted by Jeff on June 16, 2018

You look at this picture of new premier & cabinet and what do u see? Not one has a university degree and none have ever run a wildly successful business. The leadership Q&A was painful to watch due to dumb questions asked & empty answers provided. The best & brightest in NU do not work for GN but rather have their own co’s.

#17. Posted by Best wishes on June 16, 2018

All I can say is to move on and say a prayer for our Government everyday and all the best too our new Premier and Cabinet Guutium ilagilassi.

#18. Posted by Soothsayer on June 16, 2018

#11 “Traditional clothing” seriously?

Do you patrol the streets of your community and bitch at people in jeans?

LOL.. what a goofy comment.

#19. Posted by could not smile on June 16, 2018

#11 Yes, and the memory of a photo from the residential school archives come to mind, showing the before and after photo of a young man, who came in wearing his home made clothing and while there, was dressed in a tailored suit.  He could not smile.  The picture shouts louder than the sound of words.

#20. Posted by ISV on June 16, 2018

We have “open government” but no clear explanation why the premier was tossed out.

#21. Posted by iWonder on June 17, 2018

#20 The explanations have been given, you are either 1) Not reading the stories, 2) Not paying attention, or 3) Grinding an axe.

My guess is #3.

Am I close?

#22. Posted by Progress? on June 18, 2018

Once you get voted in I assume you have plans to voice some concerns and make improvements for your riding and the whole Nunavut but this is a major set back no matter how you look at.
All voters are so disappointment with their MLAs right now!

#23. Posted by eskimo joe on June 18, 2018

old joe is happy as clam, #6, old joe is laughing his head off on your comment. you know what? this ain’t the day of area administrators anymore so wake up and smell the coffee. let the master look after his own house. might as well get use to it, just like a russian, or german, or englishmen, frenchmen or even and indian for crying out loud who wants to run their own houses.

#24. Posted by boris pasternak on June 18, 2018

#23, yeah you’re right i am with JM but realizing he is the leader of ordinary mla folks, the real reason was some ordinaries are still upset that they did not get the post at the beginning, aspirations shot. still JM did me a favor, i always liked Arviat MPs, MLAs, singers and their dialect, lol. now i like this Arviat premier already. thanks JM, Nester, Lorne, GH mla, and the list goes on….

#25. Posted by Heridan on June 18, 2018

I do NOT believe for one moment that the MLAs received all those calls from Constituents! 

The people in the communities were puzzled and baffled before the vote so had not formed any opinion on the matter, since their MLAs would not tell them what it was really about.

MLAs lied when they said that!! They hid behind that because this was really an “inside job”, engineered by overly - ambitious MLAs who wanted more or bigger jobs.

What they have done is dirty and unethical.  Joe should watch his back as a rout could come at any time, if someone else among them decides he or she wants the top job.  Look out!  What goes around comes around!!!

Shame on you all!

#26. Posted by Isuma on June 19, 2018

there are some weaker Ministers but it is up to the voters like you to hold them accountable.  Do you know that many do not attend meetings?  is that your representative/  Ask. 

it also depends on our new leader who is not a dictator this time but rather a team player.  All need to keep Nunavutmiut in mind now and not one community or it weakens.

#27. Posted by GREC on June 19, 2018

Our new Premier is a product of Gordon Robertson Education Center - Ukkivik Residence.  He attended high school in Iqaluit many years ago smile

#28. Posted by Hypocrite on June 20, 2018

#16 and #27
But the Premier goes on and on about how Inuit need to be qualified to do a proper job in government. Maybe he should show us his university degrees. If he doesn’t have anything to show does that mean he should step down as Premier because he is not so called qualified?

#29. Posted by Kivallimiut on June 20, 2018

#20 and #22
I don’t see why all the comments on the removal of ex premier Paul Quassa?  we’ve been told several times why!read below.
just because the new premier is from kivalliq everyone freak out. get over it already!!

All other members supported the non-confidence motion.
“I’m not pleased with it,” Main said, adding that the motion is professional rather than personal. “The Government of Nunavut is a $2 billion-a-year ship. We need to know that the captain is pointing the ship in the right direction.”

The motion is the result of no single action, Main said. Instead, it was Quassa’s “autocratic style” of leadership that MLAs lost confidence with, as well as unspecified “misleading statements” Main accused Quassa of making in the legislature.

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