Malaiya Lucassie resigns from Iqaluit’s municipal council

“I am sincerely sorry”

Malaiya Lucassie has resigned from Iqaluit City Council. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

(Updated Oct. 14, 2:25 p.m.)

Malaiya Lucassie has resigned from Iqaluit city council, following passage of a unanimous motion calling on her to do so at a council meeting held Tuesday night.

Coun. Romeyn Stevenson made the motion and Coun. Simon Nattaq seconded it.

In a statement today, Stevenson said Lucassie breached the city council’s code of conduct.

“The city council for the municipality of Iqaluit does not abide with the comments that were made by councillor Lucassie. The council does not condone racism or gender violence and does not accept a world where such comments, or comments such as those made over the weekend, are let go without censure,” Stevenson said.

Last week, Lucassie had written a reply to a Facebook post made by her father, Nunavut cabinet minister Patterk Netser, saying she had the “exact same thought.”

She later apologized. In a statement to Nunatsiaq News today, she repeated that apology.

“I would like to first apologize to the Black community, if I have offended you and sounded like a racist, I am sincerely sorry. The city has portrayed me as an Inuk with a racist attitude. Please note that I am not against anyone or the BLM Movement. I support and understand the movement as a member of a minority,” she said.

“All I tried to say and sorry if it was misinterpreted is, why did we not have anything done for the lives of Inuit that have been murdered, raped, and abused? Why was there no such movement? We as minorities are often told to keep our mouths shut and bullied to keep our mouths shut. It’s time we stand up together and work together rather than going against each other.”

In her statement, Lucassie also offered thanks to friends and family for their continued support during the past week.

“Your love has me standing tall,” said Lucassie.

“This being said, I am resigning effectively from the City of Iqaluit as a councillor.”

Although much of last night’s discussion during the city council meeting occurred in camera, Mayor Kenny Bell said the unanimous support for the motion calling for Lucassie’s resignation sends a clear message.

“Council was very, very firm in the fact that we don’t stand with the comments that were made, that we are inclusive, that we want to continue being inclusive and that we must protect our citizens regardless of race or social construct,” he said in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

“When you are a councillor or you are a mayor or an MLA or minister or whatever, you are speaking for that organization all the time. It doesn’t matter if you’re on your own Facebook wall, or you’re on Twitter, or whatever, you are representing that group of people, and I think that’s the most important [thing] that we really have to take away from this.”

An earlier version of this story had been written after the motion asking for Lucassie’s resignation but prior to the time Lucassie formally submitted it.

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

    No matter the reason it is good she is out, but I think it was meant to be a protest about abortion, considering the father is a religious frenetic and he is totally against abortion as any not all religious people are. Anyhow to use a certain race to make his point about preaching religious topic is not right.

    • Posted by Nunavummiutagialla on

      Whoa! I do not like you’re comment! It’s way over discriminating religious people! Not allowed in my pool.

      • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

        It is the truth tho and worst, no one is seeing that way, Everyone is to wound up on raciest towards Black that they are not seeing it as it was, preaching about abortion. It is wrong to preach about God using a very controversial race or any race by an elected official.

  2. Posted by Good ridence on

    What hurt you was your father and you said “I had the exact same thought this morning”
    What got you ousted is the same ideology as your father.
    It’s 100 percent racist and we have absolutely no time for that ever!
    You portrayed your father and supported his racist ideology
    I don’t accept your apology, you are showing no remorse for your comment and your fathers

    • Posted by Pangloss on

      Your decision not to accept her apology is irrelevant and says more about your own rigid beliefs than anything else

      • Posted by Sirish on

        Finally someone who calls all the wrongs. An opinion silenced is a voice taken away.

        • Posted by Language Games on

          Sirish, what does it meant to say voices have been silenced here? Has a comment been deleted? The notion that challenging an idea is the same as erasing or silencing one is false.

  3. Posted by Huh? on

    Ha Yes! The city is making you look bad ?

    Way to pass the buck!

  4. Posted by Byelection time on

    good riddance. byelection for the vacant seat. the council needs to revamp its image after this disaster.

  5. Posted by True blue on

    Lol. Right wing conservatism in Nunavut would have made a lot of progress if their leaders showed some restraint and knew how to use facebook.
    Don’t be fooled. The netsers aren’t the most despicable people in Nunavut. There are people of all races who lack empathy anf have a tremendous amount of hatred towards certain groups. These are the most likely people who fall for fake news, QAnon conspiracies, pseudoscience, etc.

  6. Posted by High Priestess on

    I would encourage anyone who has taken a interest in this spectacle to read ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller, as well as the backstop for which it is an allegory. It seems a more prescient work today than it has for a long time.

    • Posted by Revisionism on

      I encourage you to reread the Crucible. The fact that you compare Miller’s great work to the Netsers’ sloppiness is laughable.
      Key differences between the Netsers and the people on trial at the Salem witch trial:
      -The Netsers chose to put their outlandish opinions on facebook and got themselves in this mess on their own. The Salem Witch Trials involved baseless accusations against innocent people.
      -Patterk Netser is doing exactly what he wanted to do. He knew this would put cabinet in a difficult position. He doesn’t like how the GN is becoming more progressive and made a conscious decision to separate himself from it. People on trial in Salem had no choice. They were dragged into court because a single person made accusations against them.
      -Salem witches were burned at the stake. Netser will still get a 6 figure salary once he’s removed from cabinet. Malaya didn’t have to resign from council.
      I could go on…. But one thing this scandal and The Crucible have in common is that religious fanaticism tears communities apart. Good christians aren’t vengeful.

      • Posted by High Priestess on

        ‘The Crucible’ was an allegory for the McCarthy era in American politics; a period also called the ‘Red Scare’ that was marked by extreme paranoia that communism had infiltrated government and controlled important levers of social influence such as art and film. To purge these spaces of their ‘witches’ suspected ‘communists’ were called to question before a special senate committee that effectively functioned as a modern inquisition.
        When asked Miller himself refused to appear. Consequently, he and about 300 people, including Charlie Chaplin and Orson Wells, were blacklisted by Hollywood. The experience helped inspire his play.
        I submit that we are witnessing a similar kind of hysteria today.
        In a 1996 piece written for the New Yorker, Miller reflected on his writing. It’s worth a read (link below).
        If you substitute the word ‘Communist’ with ‘racist’ the parallels might become clearer. For example;
        “McCarthy’s power to stir fears of creeping [racism] was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact.”
        Also: “By 1950, when I began to think of writing about the hunt for Reds in America, I was motivated in some great part by the paralysis that had set in among many liberals who, despite their discomfort with the inquisitors’ violations of civil rights, were fearful, and with good reason, of being identified as covert [racists] if they should protest too strongly.
        Not all this applies to the particular incident, I am not arguing that, yet the growing hysteria across our society is hard to ignore, and that can be seen here.
        I won’t defend Patterk, but Malaya’s comments were not clearly racist in my opinion. They were, as stated above, a valid questioning of the over-weighted balance in favour of a BLM protest in Iqaluit, of all places, and a call for something seemingly more relevant to indigenous people. A reasonable enough thing to question.

        • Posted by Tyrion Lannister on

          The comparison with The Crucible is clearly a false analogy and therefore an invalid argument. Consider yourself refuted. It’s time to move on.

          • Posted by Jon Snow on

            I liked it a lot

    • Posted by Torches and Pitchforks on

      It is a witch hunt (which is ironic given the Netsers’ faith, but true nonetheless).
      Malaiya’s post was barely coherent (there was no indication whatsoever that she had the “exact same thought”, and there’s no reason to believe those nurses murdered that woman in Quebec) and the outrage that followed was barely more coherent. All emotional reaction primed by a public suspicion of their Christian identity, and precious little analysis.
      Her basic point (to paraphrase: why was there a BLM protest in Iqaluit and not an Indigenous movement pushing for similar ends?) is valid, and the feeble responses to that point (e.g. Indigenous issues are under the umbrella of BLM) should be understood as extremely patronizing.
      Congratulations Nunavut, you’ve been ideologically colonized by the North American culture war! (but don’t worry, you’re on the right side of history)

      • Posted by Onalik on

        Malaiya’s question regarding why isn’t there as much care or action for indigenous women being raped and murdered clearly demonstrates that she has no actual interest in the issue because QNSW and many leaders -Aglukark, Shiutiapik, Lightstone, Brewster, Obed, Flaherty, Kudloo, and countless families have spoken up about, taken part in MMIWG Inquiry, and developed anti-violence programming in their communities.
        What has Malaiya done?
        Nothing comes up on a google search looking for her on the issue of MMIWG.
        Google any of the names above and you will see plenty of answers to her stupid question.
        Glad she resigned.

        • Posted by Slap in the face on

          I totally agree with this statement, I think Malay’s comment was a slap in the face to all those working hard for indigenous rights and freedoms. Furthermore if she actually attended the BLM protest that she mentions she would have seen just how inclusive it was, with protest leaders asking for indigenous and black to stand in solidarity to fight together against systemic racism. The mic was given to Inuit to tell their story and justice For Kingait was added to the BLM chats

  7. Posted by anon on

    That’s not an apology, that’s a non-pology. You can recognize them by the use of phrases like ‘I’m sorry you were offended’ (vs ‘I’m sorry I offended you’), ‘I was misinterpreted’ (no she wasn’t), etc. Her Facebook post was better.

  8. Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

    Some Iqaluit people deserve Mr. Bell.

    • Posted by John K on

      I’m happy to accept his leadership.

  9. Posted by Bill Tagalik on

    things were said that cant be taken back. from what i heard of her time on council she was outgoing and took our concerns seriously and brought them up in meetings. that being said i think the swift actions taken by the whole was the right thing to do.

  10. Posted by good on

    In the end, she did the right thing, owned up to her mistakes and resigned, not easy things to do, I would like to wish her well.

    Now back to you Dad……… will you learn from your Daughter and do the right thing??? or will you make the MLAs do it for you????

    any bets???? lol

  11. Posted by Where is our MP? on

    A couple of things:

    Where is our MP? She is normally quick to respond to incidences of injustice and racism? Seems odd that she has not commented on this.

    A constant rebuttal to the Black Lives Matter movement is the use of “What about?” isms. Hopefully this Councillor, and her father have figured out the promotion of one social justice cause does not deter/detract from other social justice issues.

    Lateral racism among the BIPOC community is alive and well in Nunavut. I have witnessed numerous incidences of black Nunavumiut being victims of racism by the Inuit community. All you have to do is go to the Storehouse and witness the racial abuse that the black workers received from Inuit. It is also alive and well in the schools, a black student in Cape Dorset was physically attacked by two students while being called the N-word.

    I hope a quick societal rebuttal of the Councillor and the MLA will help deter future incidences.

    • Posted by Missing MP on

      She is on Twitter raging against anonymous trolls instead of addressing the racism in her own backyard. Don’t expect a response from her on this one. From what I have seen she only comments on racism against Inuit, not racism expressed BY Inuit.

      • Posted by Twitter Wars on

        Don’t underestimate or denigrate the importance of her work as a Twitter warrior, the cosmic implications of who gets the most likes and re-tweets are insurmountable and though impossible to measure, of the greatest importance to the future of our territory.

    • Posted by Spring Elxn on

      This is how I know to expect a spring election – the usual Liberal suspects are starting to subtly undermine our MP hoping to cast her in a certain light.

      It’s a trap and a clumsy one. If the MP weighed in on this issue, the same people would accuse of her of wasting her time when she should be in Ottawa fighting for Nunavummiut.

      There are a few prominent Liberals on social media telegraphing their intentions if you know how to read between the lines.

      Some great sales on home furnishings too!

      • Posted by General Mills on

        The Liberals don’t have to do anything to undermine the credibility of Nunavut’s Twitter Warrior MP, she’s busy doing that to herself already.
        Sadly, it’ the most vulnerable citizens who pay the price for her puerile tantrums in lieu of informed and strategic politicking.

  12. Posted by John K on

    That “apology” was embarrassing… “sorry you got offended”; sorry you got fired.

    Good riddance to bad company.

  13. Posted by Not sorry on

    Are you actually sorry? You didn’t seem to regret what you said once confronted with it. Reacting with anger and telling everyone you had a right to what you said and were all entitled to our own opinions. Which we are, but that does not mean you’re entitled to avoid the consequences. You say as minorities we know what it’s like to be bullied? You and your dad seem to be the bullies here.

  14. Posted by A.K.A. Truestory on

    Freedom of speech is no more in Canada.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      It’s “freedom of expression” not “freedom of speech”. That doesn’t mean you can say anything at all and you certainly can’t say things which is derogatory and hurtful to specific groups of people especially when you are an elected official who is suppose to be representing everyone equally.

      • Posted by A.K.A. Truestory on

        Thank you. I sit corrected. “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Expression” is no more.

  15. Posted by Sam on

    She did not have to resign,she was elected, no law says she had to resign even if there was a unanimous motion of council. She did on her own

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