He ain’t heavy, he’s my education minister
“I ended up carrying my colleague on my back to cross the creek”
Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser gave a whole new meaning to the term “burden of office” last summer.
That was when he lugged Education Minister David Joanasie across a swollen creek near Coral Harbour, Netser’s hometown.
“I ended up carrying my colleague on my back to cross the creek. However, I don’t wish to get an amauti and I certainly hope I don’t have to carry another adult as I start to age, Mr. Speaker,” Netser said in the legislative assembly last Friday, Nov. 2, provoking laughter among his colleagues.
Joanasie, as education minister, had visited Coral Harbour to help celebrate a graduation ceremony.
On the morning Joanasie was due to fly out, Netser took him on a drive around the community.
When they ended up at a stream called Fossil Creek, they saw Joanasie’s plane land at the airport and got worried about getting back on time.
“The plane was on its final approach, so I told him we have to hurry up. We were on the other side of the creek, and this summer was quite wet, so the creeks and rivers were swollen,” Netser said.
But when Netser tried to drive across the creek, his vehicle got stuck.
So he looked for a narrower section of the creek to cross on foot. And because Joanasie wore light footwear, Netser offered to carry him across.
“He replied that he weighed over 200 pounds, so if I wanted to carry him it might be difficult. I asked him: do you want to get on the plane?”
“I promise you won’t have to amaaq me next time,” Joanasie said later that day, provoking more laughter.
“It just shows how he will go above and beyond for his guests, and I thank him for that.”
Nunavut MLAs traditionally use Friday morning member’s statements to make jokes and tell light-hearted stories.
That afternoon, Netser became a cabinet minister by acclamation, filling the spot vacated by Iqaluit-Niaqunguu MLA Pat Angnakak.