Taptuna moves Paul Okalik into Nunavut’s troubled health department
Monica Ell takes ED&T, Keith Peterson takes QEC, and George Kuksuk takes culture, language jobs
Premier Peter Taptuna has appointed a new minister to head the Government of Nunavut’s battered, scandal-ridden health department: Iqaluit-Sinaa MLA Paul Okalik.
Okalik will retain responsibility for the justice department and immigration issues, Taptuna said in a statement released late in the day Nov. 28.
But Okalik will give up responsibility for the Department of Culture and Heritage and the Qulliq Energy Corp, Taptuna said.
Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Monica Ell, who has held the health portfolio since November 2013, will remain as deputy premier and will take over as minister of Economic Development and Transportation and serve as minister responsible for Energy and Mines.
Okalik will assume control of the health department following a series of scandals, including:
• revelations broadcast on CBC concerning a nurse in Cape Dorset who was promoted after the controversial death of a sick baby in 2012;
• continued allegations from a Cambridge Bay man whose wife died in 2011 following the award of a new medevac contract for the Kitikmeot and continued complaints about the quality of medevac service in that region; and
• the plight of an elderly Sanikiluaq man who needs dialysis for kidney disease who found himself compelled to become a Manitoba resident.
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA George Kuksuk, who held the ED&T job until now, will become minister of four portfolios that Okalik had previously held: Culture and Heritage, Languages, Labour and the Liquor Licencing Board.
Kuksuk also retains responsibility for the Nunavut Housing Corp.
Aggu MLA Paul Quassa will become government house leader and retain responsibility for the Department of Education and Nunavut Arctic College.
Cambridge Bay MLA Keith Peterson will assume responsibility for the Qulliq Energy Corp. and keep responsibility for the Department of Finance, the Nunavut Liquor Commission and the Workers Safety and Compensation Board.
Three other cabinet ministers, Johnny Mike, Tom Sammurtok and Jeannie Ugyuk, will see no change in their cabinet assignments, Taptuna said.
As well, the Sivumuaqatigiit training program within the Department of the Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs will report directly to him, Taptuna said.
The cabinet shuffle is effective Dec. 5.