Coun. Malaiya Lucassie, a member of Iqaluit city council, has apologized on Facebook for comments she directed toward the Black Lives Matters movement. (Facebook photo)

Iqaluit city councillor Malaiya Lucassie apologizes for BLM remarks

“I in no way meant to take away from the BLM movement”

By Jim Bell

Coun. Malaiya Lucassie, a member of Iqaluit city council, has apologized for recent Facebook comments directed toward the Black Lives Matters movement.

“I would like to apologize for comments that I made that came across as insensitive to the Black Lives Matters, and to residents of our City,” Lucassie wrote on her Facebook page.

Earlier this week, Lucassie had written a reply to a Facebook post made by her father, Nunavut cabinet minister Patterk Netser, who appeared to criticize Black women who seek abortions.

“I had the exact same thought this morning,” Lucassie said in her reply to Netser’s post.

In that message, she had referred to the recent death of Joyce Echequan, an Atikamekw woman who died in a Quebec hospital while being subjected to abusive insults and racist slurs.

“All lives matter. Why don’t we do something for everyone and not just BLM,” she said.

But now she says she was wrong to express her views that way.

“My intentions to call for change for Inuit was presented poorly, and I in no way meant to take away from the BLM movement or from another group fighting against the systemic racism we face,” she wrote.

“We are allies in the same fight, and I was wrong to reference the Iqaluit BLM protest in my desire to see similar action on behalf of Inuit and Indigenous Canadians.”

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said he is aware of Lucassie’s apology, and that Iqaluit city councillors will discuss the matter next week.

“City Councillors are held accountable to following the City’s code of conduct and human rights and anti-harassment policy,” Bell said in a statement.

“Council will be discussing this together at the next City Council meeting and will take this opportunity to look at additional ways to educate council on racism, biases, and other social discrimination.”

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(55) Comments:

  1. Posted by I Call Bullshit on

    How is a post (that isn’t searchable if you aren’t on her “friends” list on personal Facebook a public apology? This is our Municipal elected official. Time to go! This is NOT ok.

  2. Posted by Very Sad Indeed on

    It was a racist insensitive expression and should never have been made but as it shows it’s a family belief.
    Please change your hurting belief,we are all human beings.

  3. Posted by Paterk Netser, Too on

    Both people should step out of politics. Their comments are shameful, living in glass houses.
    It’s not the first time that Netser has shared his whack views, now his family is indoctrinated. People with their views shouldn’t be let anywhere near decision making. Were they the only candidates running at the time?

  4. Posted by Moral Panic Noted on

    That the BLM movement had enough influence to inspire a large protest in Iqaluit is a testament to the long reach of American cultural influence in this country. To question the very odd juxtaposition of a BLM protest in Iqaluit against the silence around Indigenous issues that are far more salient here is a valid observation to make. I’ve heard this voiced quite a few times by Inuit. Nothing about that diminishes Black issues.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      We all know that the phrase “all lives matter” is dog whistle for “black lives don’t really matter at all”. Her tacit agreement with her father’s views makes her as culpable as him

      • Posted by Moral Panic Noted on

        Except we don’t “all know… the phrase “all lives matter” is dog whistle for “black lives don’t really matter…” To say it does is to argue for a contradiction.

        The more curious question, then, is how did you come to think it does?

        • Posted by anon on

          Here is an explainer on why ‘all lives matter’ is a harmful phrase: https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter

          In case you skip it, here is a good distillation of the issue from the article: “It’s a common conversation these days: One person says, “Black lives matter.” Then another responds, “No, all lives matter.”

          It’s also a complete misunderstanding of what the phrase “black lives matter” means. The person on the receiving end interprets the phrase as “black lives matter more than any other lives.”

          But the point of Black Lives Matter isn’t to suggest that black lives should be or are more important than all other lives. Instead, it’s simply pointing out that black people’s lives are relatively undervalued in the US — and more likely to be ended by police — and the country needs to recognize that inequity to bring an end to it.”

          This is also a good explainer: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/us/all-lives-matter-black-lives-matter.html

          • Posted by Moral Panic Noted on

            The contortions of language that can lead one to say, with sincerity, that the phrase “all lives matter is a harmful” is spectacularly bizarre, particularly because it is self-contradictory. That some language can be harmful is possibly true, yet the expansion of the idea to include an innocuous phrase speaks more to the impulse on the far left today to control ideas and set parameters around public discourse; that is, to tell us all what is ‘right speak;’ and what is ‘wrong speak’. I don’t agree that this phrase is harmful, though I would agree that it can be used in the way you suggest, to diminish the point of Black Lives Matter… yet, to assume it is always used in this way is a mistake and an overreach that can only be achieved by mind reading the motives of those who say it. In this case I don’t believe, or see any evidence in their comments, to suggest Patiq or Malaiya were specifically diminishing ‘Black Lives’. Though their comments were certainly clumsy, poorly formed, and completely clueless as to the current mood on social media.

            • Posted by Ignorance on

              No one was saying “All lives matter” before people started saying “Black lives matter”. ALM was a response to BLM. That is the context in which the slogan was created. Anyone shouting ALM outside of that context is just being ignorant and is contributing nothing to the discussion. Not a single person is saying that one life matters more than another. BLM is trying to bring awareness to the hardships they face. Which in Canada and unfortunately even Iqaluit is very real. A “good hearted” / ignorant person saying ALM actually distracts from the problem and changes the focus of the argument. So STFU with ALM, no one disagrees with that. Let BLM tell their story and listen instead of reacting.

              • Posted by Moral Panic Noted on

                Strange how the gatekeepers at Nunatsiaq allow the bounds of civility to be pressed, depending of course on who is doing the pressing. Telling someone you disagree with to STFU demonstrates the weakness of an argument and character.

                I don’t personally use either phrase or acronym, yet the fact that someone did is a good part of why we are having this discussion in the first place. An insistence that others shut up because you’re not comfortable with opinions that press your intuitions is to approach a discussion from a place of arrogance and bad faith. #BeBetter

                • Posted by Ignorance on

                  Thank you for making my point and changing the subject. Red herring at its finest. The STFU wasn’t to silence anyone making any contribution to a discussion but rather to people making noise distracting from the actual discussion. The same reason the crowd shouldn’t disrupt a debate. The acronym wasn’t directed to someone I disagree with (you), it was to the people that use ALM in an ignorant way. Again, ALM is not an opinion, no one disagrees with that. Back to the topic now.

            • Posted by Tyrion Lannister on

              You sure don’t know much about semiotics.

              “All Lives Matter” and especially the hash tag #alllivesmatter were appropriated by the extreme right soon after BLM was born five years ago

              That phrase is now part of the language of the extreme right around the world. It is part of their system of signs and symbols.

              It’s used primarily as a signifier of solidarity among like-minded alt-right, extreme right and neo-fascist sympathizers and activists. Wherever the extreme right gathers to mount a protest or a counter-protest, you will see people wearing “All Lives Matter” T-shirts and waving “All Lives Matter” signs.

              That phrase says that the numerous illegal, extra-judicial executions of Black people by police and alt-right vigilantes don’t matter and are of no special importance. It also implies that lesser forms of racial abuse, like taunting, following Black people around in stores etc. don’t matter either. That includes racist white people who call the police on Black males for no reason.

              A few people here and there use the phrase innocently, but its use is primarily malignant.

              https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/23/opinions/all-lives-matter-misses-the-big-picture-baker/index.html

    • Posted by One Curious American on

      I have a curious fascination with your remote little town in the Arctic.

      You’re dealing with the same challenges we face in The States.

      BLM is indeed important; however, it’s only a subset of the overall problem with inequality.

      All lives matter. How could this not be true?

      We all need to step back, toughen-up, open our eyes and hearts, stop drawing lines, find common ground, work together as equals, and embrace our perceived differences.

      Most importantly, we must live the Golden Rule.

  5. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    Now the apology comes in, it’ll affect both you and Peter Netser for the rest of your political careers and BLM will never ever see you both the same again, shame for both of you. At least you both apologized, but shame on you both.

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Apologies “after the fact” and only after you get caught are the most hollow and insincere kind. I strongly urge both Iqaluit Council and the Legislative Assembly to remove both people from their positions as soon as possible.

  7. Posted by Speaking your Mind on

    All lives matter…this is so true. One life is not more precious the another. It take courage to speak your mind and it takes even more courage to admit when you are wrong and apologize. Malaiya & Minister Nester’s were very wrong to speak out against black women & abortion. Minister Nester if you want to talk about lives that matter, you should find the statistic of Inuit women who have abortions …the numbers would shock you as there are more abortion a week then births.

    BLM movement is about racial violent against black people, a racial discrimination against millions of black people all over the world, solely based on the colour of their skin. It is a well know fact how Inuit people have been treated by the government in the pass & present, but that is a complete separate issue and is not even comparable to BLM.

    When you are in a public eye your voice is not completely your own, you represent Iqaluit & Nunavut people, you have to be mindful of that.

  8. Posted by Sorry, Not Sorry on

    That is not an apology. It is an excuse.

    Yes, Inuit experience systemic discrimination, but so do black people. Stomping on another minority group to advance your cause is not the way to go about things. You owe a sincere apology to black people, and especially, since you are a city councilor, to the black Iqalummiut you are supposed to be representing.

    You also owe an apology to women, especially those that voted for you with so many running for city council. Even more, you owe a major apology to anyone who has had an abortion or may have one for personal or medical reasons. How fortunate for you that you’ve never had to make that decision. Not everyone is that lucky. Her body, her choice. You are free to decide differently where your own body is concerned.

  9. Posted by Eelata on

    M. Lucassie was called out for her bullying earlier this summer. Her recent statement is consistent with her unacceptable behaviour.

  10. Posted by Outraged Iqalummiuq on

    Both of them should be ousted for their views of both black people (who are the most kind and generous people I know) and Iqalummiut!!!

  11. Posted by All people r stupid on

    These idiots who always say “all lives matter” need a good hit in the head. If my neighbors house is on fire should I just keep my house from burning and pour water with a hose so my house won’t burn down? Since all houses matter I should just prevent my house from burning right?

    People are only sorry when their shit, outdated, ancient views aren’t welcome anymore and think a simple apology will fix that. Shame on them

  12. Posted by Arnaq on

    Resign. The comment was racist and misogynistic and unforgivable.

    Black lives matter. Abortion is legal.

  13. Posted by Woke Nunavut on

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech enshrined in the Charter of R and F? Truth is people need to turn off CBC and CNN etc. and starting thinking for themselves or at least start analyzing and examining what the news media, professional sports organisations, and politicians are pushing on us. Of course black lives (and all lives matter), but the actual agenda of the organization called BLM is very violent, markist, anti-freedom, anti-family, anti-police, anti-capitalism etc. They only support black lives, when the blacks are left-wing liberals marching in line with them. Also when did talking about facts become wrong? As Mr. Netser said, we have to keep duct tape over our mouths to keep from offending all the woke people today…even here in Nunavut.

    • Posted by Tim on

      You sound like you are out of touch with our freedom of speech and our rights and freedom, it doesn’t give you the right to be racist towards another group of people, plain and simple!
      Also you are way wrong on the BLM, you need to take off your far right wing views and really look at what BLM really is for.

      • Posted by Well, It Does Actually on

        Actually, it does give you that right, as long as you don’t stray into promoting hatred.

        What it doesn’t give you is the right to avoid the repercussions from your boss for your language.

        • Posted by We are not the USA on

          Since you’re so familiar with the Charter, I’m surprised you don’t know that the right is one of “freedom of expression”, not “freedom of speech”.

  14. Posted by Jennifer on

    I feel sorry for this family , they have been taught to hate and think they are better because of it and it is really not a healthy life for them and people around them. I hope this is a wake up call for this family and see that what their views may be wrong and that they need to re-evaluate their way of thinking and beliefs. Sadly I don’t think they are capable.

    • Posted by Sad on

      Children learn from parents about racism, putting down others, making sick jokes at others and all the other negative stuff towards another human. It seems Mr. Netser learned this behaviour from his parents and now he’s passed it on. His whole family is probably like that. This behaviour is pass down from generations. Sad

  15. Posted by ajnt on

    All lives matter. Does that make me a racist?. What a world we live in now. Thank you technology. Post by speaking your mind…props but its not worth it anymore nearly everyone follows the narrative on their screens.

    • Posted by Based in Nunavik on

      Saying “All Lives Matter” without knowing/or maybe fully Knowing….. is the Issue…… BLM did not just show up, it’s existence is here because of the “Hundreds of Years” of Oppression,Slavery,Systemic Racism, Disease and Infection Trials! …among so many other Atrocity’s committed against the Black Man and Woman throughout North America(yes! Canada included)…. My Inuit/Cree Brothers and Sisters I stand with you all as our Stories of Discrimiination,Residential Schooling and Inhumane treatment by the Hands of the Powers that be are all to and eerily Similar!

      So Yes! Hold both of them accountable for their actions and comments.
      #BLM
      #SayTheirName
      #Justice4JoyceEchaquan

  16. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    It is so sad that there are so many people that are xenophobic in this world. Love and respect each other, we are all human !!!

  17. Posted by My right/my opinion. on

    Are we not allowed to feel anymore? And say anything? Pretty soon Nunavut will be dominated non- inuit and we will be treated like how reserves are treated down south.

    This is just all about politics, who’s who? and Who’s what? JEALOUSY!

    We need to stand up for our rights!

    • Posted by Adaptation is Necessary on

      Say what? The demographics in parts of Nunavut continue to change. You can see the tension in Iqaluit already. It will not be much longer until Inuit are not a majority in that city, no ethnicity will be a majority, it will soon be a majority minority city. This is leading to predictable tensions.

      Sadly, some people have a hard time adapting to ethnic and cultural diversity. This is to be expected, but it is pretty disturbing when it is among politicians that we have chosen.

  18. Posted by Higher Standard on

    Malaiya should resign or be removed. There is no place for comments like that and both her and her father both still do not know the extent of the hurtful words they made public.

  19. Posted by Reality on

    All lives matter. Saying so doesn’t diminish anyone else’s protest group. If it’s a right wing “dog whistle”, it’s pretty funny that the only people who can hear it as those on the left. There were signs at the BLM rally that said “Inuit lives matter”, are those folks in big trouble now? They too fall under the all lives umbrella.

    • Posted by Reality Bytes on

      Of course there were “Inuit Lives Matter” signs at the Black Lives Matter protest.
      The organizers made a point of speaking out against the racialized violence that occurs against Inuit probably because Inuit were on the organizing committee.
      Lucassie asks why not have rallys for the Indigenous lives lost and references an Indigenous woman specifically, but has never done or said anything to address this issue herself.
      The statements were definitely not about what either of them can give back to their communities they were about what they personally find wrong with their communities.
      Resign.

  20. Posted by Priviledged? on

    Her explanation contradicts what she said.

  21. Posted by Moral Panic Noted on

    “Guilt by association” is the real fallacy I see at work here in these comments.
    .
    I submit that people who sincerely say and believe ‘All Lives Matter’ are not racist. I would also say that the majority of people who use the phrase do so in this way. To argue the utterance itself is ipso facto evidence of racism needs justification beyond the fact or possibility that there are some people who use it in this way.

    As distasteful as Patterk or Malaiya’s points may have been, they don’t necessarily suggest racism. The association to abortion, for example, seems clearly driven by religious conviction. Was it out of place and ignorant to make this connection on his part? Absolutely. Was it evidence of poor faculties of critical thinking? Certainly. I suspect there was plenty of good reason to keep this person as far away from a portfolio on education as could be.
    .
    To me it seems this incident, like countless others sweeping the west today, reflects a moral panic where racism is literally seen lurking everywhere. Spotting it and calling it in public has come to serve the function of demonstrating the virtue of accusers, placing themselves on the right side of ‘history’ as they often claim. Any form of push back to these sweeping generalizations, or any kind of logical counterpoints are considered ‘dangerous’ and ‘harmful’ and quickly delegitimized by relegating them to “the far right” where they don’t need to be addressed or contended with.

  22. Posted by Shall we start a petition for her resignation on

    Sorry I voted for you Malaiya Lucassie, I will make sure you never get elected to anything again! If you have any integrity, you will do the honourable thing and resign.

  23. Posted by Inukitituusuu on

    Nunavut has 3 official languages, Inuktitut, English and French. The social media presence for the Nunavut BLM movement does not have any Inuktitut or even French. To come here and call us “ignorant” or “you don’tunderstand” is hypocritical. Please understand that English and French is not our first language. If you want Inuit to be sympathetic to a cause, then you must say it in Inuktitut.

    • Posted by Typical on

      Yeah, good job ignoring all us Inuinnaqtun speakers – typical arrogance from the baffin.

      • Posted by Inuk1 on

        My mother tongue (Inuinnaqtun) was taken from my parents and was punishable in residential schools, so it was never spoken at home. Am I not able to have a voice if my primary language is English? I too am tired of the “speak Inuktitut if you want to be heard in Nunavut.” I am Inuk too regardless of my primary language.

    • Posted by Our Home on

      Come here? Thinking like this is part of the problem.

      We are here. This is our home. We are part of this society. We aren’t going anywhere.

  24. Posted by Okay on

    As a black person, I think this young woman has now paid her dues. She should be left alone. Only time will tell, if she has changed her belief system. This is a minority opinion by a black person, as her dad said, it is his right to be say racist things and that is fine with me. Both of them have to go back to the public for support, so in a sense, the public gets to make the final decision. I lived in Nunavut and did experienced racism. I have seen other black people being targeted. Hey, but that’s life. I don’t think we need to be overly vindictive to people who are openly racist, let them be. For me, the biggest problem is the quiet racism. The majority of Inuit are very nice people. I am alive because of them. However, There are few white Inuit who generally threat everyone badly even they fellow Inuit. From my experience, these privilege white Inuit go from one senior position to the next treating everyone poorly. That was my experience.

    • Posted by What Is? on

      Excuse my ignorance, but what is a “white Inuit?

      • Posted by Aurelius on

        The term I most often hear for this is “half breed”. It can be a veiled way of pointing out a belief that half-white Inuit often act more white than Inuk, and more closely share the values of white people.
        .
        The original comment is an interesting anecdote, yet it probably shouldn’t be taken as an unquantified truth about how the world actually is.

        • Posted by The Face Punching, It Is Coming on

          Half-breed? I assume that there a lot of people getting punched in the face after using that phrase? Ugh. Seriously? What’s next, banana?

          However, thank you for clearing up that little term. I had heard it used, very derisively, in Iqaluit but wasn’t clear what it meant.

          • Posted by Interesting Thoughts on

            This phrase is quite common, I’ve read it in these comments several times. Not sure why it was raised here though. Quietly hidden in all the race discourse these days, yet in plain sight, are underlying hierarchies based in purity qualifications; where you land in this in part determines how you get to speak about representation.

  25. Posted by Disgruntled on

    Neither of them said anything wrong. In fact, everything they said was correct. All lives matter!

    • Posted by Name withheld on

      They made it seem like it was targeted to a race and that is not right. When you hold a public office you need to refrain from speaking too loudly as after all you are representing everyone else not yourself. Your social media accounts start to look you represent the office you are hold office at and everyone should know that

  26. Posted by Michael on

    She should publicly apologize with a written letter, in all official languages. Apologizing on some obscure Facebook or Twitter post is just not good enough. Another poor excuse for a public office elected official.

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