Margaret Nakashuk is Nunavut’s newest cabinet minister

Pangnirtung MLA was elected by her colleagues today

Nunavut MLAs vote for a new cabinet minister in the legislative assembly on Friday, Oct. 30. Margaret Nakashuk, who went on to win the vote, is seen here about to cast her vote. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavut’s newest cabinet minister was voted in today during a leadership forum held at the legislative assembly.

Margaret Nakashuk, MLA for Pangnirtung, is overwhelmed and happy to have been voted into the position.

“I’m thankful for my colleagues for electing me to cabinet,” she said after the vote. “For trusting me to be minister. I’m very happy right now.”

John Main, MLA for Arviat North—Whale Cove, nominated Nakashuk. Adam Lightstone, MLA for Iqaluit–Manirajak, and Joelie Kaernerk, MLA for Amittuq, were also nominated. The breakdown of votes is not known, as votes are cast by secret ballot.

The forum had to convene after Patterk Netser, MLA for Aivilik, was stripped of his portfolios and removed from cabinet last week after a controversial post on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement and abortion.

Netser was the minister representing the Nunavut Housing Corp. and Nunavut Arctic College. Premier Joe Savikataaq is acting as minister of NHC, and David Joanasie is acting as minister for NAC.

They will continue to manage those portfolios during this sitting, Savikataaq said after the vote.

“It would not be fair to give her the portfolios and make her answer questions,” Savikataaq said.

She will join the ministers on the other side of the house and participate in cabinet meetings, however, Savikataaq said.

Margaret Nakashuk, MLA for Pangnirtung and Nunavut’s newest cabinet minister, gives a speech in the legislative assembly on Friday after her nomination. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

After this sitting, which ends on Nov. 5, Savikataaq said that portfolios will be reassigned. Nakashuk will not necessarily get the same files that Netser had, he said.

Nakashuk was elected as an MLA in the 2017 territorial election. Before the election she worked for the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Family Services.

Nakashuk said she put her name forward to be nominated because she thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase her strengths.

That includes experience with developing five-year capital plans, elder support and family services, she said.

This is the fifth legislative assembly of Nunavut. Next year a territorial election will take place to determine who will be part of the sixth assembly.

This assembly has “had its fair share of losing members,” Nakashuk said.

“The time is short, one year, but I hope to be able to implant something for long-term work.”

Aggu MLA Paul Quassa, now the Speaker, was removed as premier by a non-confidence vote in the spring of 2018.

Joe Savikataaq replaced him as premier.

Pat Angnakak, MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, was stripped of her portfolios in 2018, and resigned from cabinet.

More recently, Simeon Mikkungwak, the previous MLA for Baker Lake and Speaker of the house, resigned in February from the position. He was replaced as MLA by Craig Simailak this summer, and Paul Quassa took his place as Speaker.

Similarly, Mila Kamingoak stepped down in the spring from her position as MLA of Kugluktuk, and was replaced by Calvin Pedersen in the summer.

Nakashuk will be sworn in as a cabinet minister next week after a motion is passed in the house on Monday.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Old Trapper on

    – Only 1 person in picture. with mask on. Set an example mlas. Please.
    – When covid-19 arrives in NU this lack of regard for protocol will be NU’s undoing.

    • Posted by Loosen up on

      I’m pro-mask, pro-listen to the advice of the chief medical officer, etc. etc. But with no COVID in Nunavut I’m totally fine with not having to wear masks. Could it be here and we don’t know it? Yeah sure. But we’ve been saying and thinking that every day for 8 months now. We need to enjoy COVID-free Nunavut while we can. Mask fatigue, restrictions fatigue is a real thing. Why make our residents sick of wearing masks before COVID even gets here?
      The other problem I have with your comment is that you’re an easy target for all these anti-COVID nutters in Nunavut who read comments like yours to confirm their anti-science/gov/liberal/whatever beliefs and they lump the majority of us who take COVID serious into alarmist camps like yours.
      Take a step back and relax. You’ll need clear your head for when COVID actually gets here and rips through the population.

      • Posted by I live in the Arctic on

        There were already cases at some of the mines.

        • Posted by Loosen up on

          Which has absolutely no link to the communities as the chief medical officer has stated over and over and over. It’s a moot point. Save your outrage for the QAnon nuts who don’t acknowledge the disease at all. Trying to shame people who take COVID seriously, but are practical at the same time, is a big reason why there’s so much tension and paranoia down south.

      • Posted by Old Trapper on

        Max-up & social distance whether it is here or not yet. Your logic is backwards & reckless. Remember: “An Ounce of prevention is worth a Pound of cure”

        • Posted by Loosen up on

          I guess you’re right and the MLAs, Chief Medical Officer, and 99% of Nunavummiut are backwards and reckless. Shame on us for not protecting each other from the virus that isn’t here yet. Surely our backwardness will prevent us from putting on masks when the Chief Medical Officer advises us that it’s time for all of us to wear masks.

  2. Posted by Excellent pick on

    The most logical pick, hands down. Smart, calm, experienced. Makes you wonder how much nonsense they could have avoided by having her in cabinet sooner.
    I know Lightstone can’t wait to be a Minister but this isn’t his time. I agree with the ouster of Netser, but with Lightstone being the driving force for removal on the regular member side, taking Netser’s spot could have raised questions (power grab). With Nakashuk winning, Netser’s removal from cabinet will be forgotten quickly. Cabinet is in better shape than they were before.

  3. Posted by Iqaluit based voter on

    Iqaluit needs both Adam and Pat on the out skirts asking questions. They seem to be the only ones looking after the residents and staff interests.
    I look forward to their line of questions. Don’t let them blow off your questions with vague responses. . Please continue to get to the bottom of the issues.

    God bless.

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