Nunavut cabinet chastised by regular MLAs

Regular members warn of “growing dissatisfaction” over performance of ministers

Nunavut’s regular members have warned the premier in a letter that a number of ministers are failing to provide adequate answers to the legislature. “Rather than responding in a clear, candid and comprehensive manner to members’ questions posed during sittings of the House and meetings of standing committees, a number of ministers do the opposite,” the letter states. (Photo by John Thompson)

By John Thompson

The chair of Nunavut’s caucus of regular members has sent a letter of expectation to the premier that characterizes the territorial cabinet as a group of underperforming employees.

“As a caucus, members have identified a number of ongoing performance issues with the executive council,” states the letter from John Main, MLA for Arviat North-Whale Cove.

“As premier, you have a central role in addressing these issues for the benefit of our government and the territory at large. This letter is intended to encourage corrective action by clearly defining the expectations being placed on the executive council.”

The letter, tabled in the legislature on Wednesday, May 29, warns there is “growing dissatisfaction on the part of my caucus colleagues with the approach taken by a number of ministers.”

“Rather than responding in a clear, candid and comprehensive manner to members’ questions posed during sittings of the House and meetings of standing committees, a number of ministers do the opposite.”

That’s unacceptable, says Main. And he warns that ministers that don’t prove more forthcoming may face a fate similar to that of Paul Quassa, when he was removed from the premier’s seat one year ago:

“Consequences for future non-performance may include motions of censure and/ or motions of non-confidence for the particular minister(s).”

The letter goes on to say that ministers are expected to:

  • Be fully briefed on all major issues, policies, initiatives, expenditures and statutes under their ministerial portfolios.
  • Provide substantive answers to members’ questions during sittings of the House and meetings of standing committees.
  • Provide answers to members’ questions that are as clear and concise as possible, and that are not needlessly drawn out or repetitive, in a manner consistent with the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.
  • Provide follow-up responses in a timely manner to members on occasions where they cannot immediately provide the requested information, and to use official formats for written responses and/or returns to oral questions for other responses.
  • Give full consideration to the recommendations made by standing committees and individual members of the legislative assembly concerning departmental and Crown agency budgets and business plans.
  • Table, in a timely manner, documents requested by members.
  • Maintain open and efficient lines of communication with standing committees and individual members of the legislative assembly by ensuring that all correspondence sent to any regular member adheres to guidance provided by the Office of the Legislative Assembly in respect to copying requirements and electronic and paper formats.

Main’s letter concludes by stating, “I am very confident that sincere efforts to address the issues above will strengthen our government and be welcomed by our constituents whom we represent.”

Regular Members Caucus Lett… by on Scribd

Share This Story

(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Fred on

    It’s about time! It’s like a gong show sometimes listening to question period, not the questions part but the answers part. The Ministers make themselves look foolish!

  2. Posted by Sled dog on

    LOL. some ministers take longer to thank the member for the question than answering the question.

    Just look to the HoC for Answering portfolio questions. Canned talking point answers are the norm.

    Some of the questions are too detailed and working in the weeds rather than governance related questions. Perhaps if some regular MLA’s were not focussed solely on detail they might get better answers.

  3. Posted by Josie on

    I agree with Fred. This batch of ministers is a sorry bunch. It makes you wonder what do they do with their ‘MLA time’ if they can answer no questions?? Are they aware of anything going on in NU; do they read anything given to them; do they understand & comprehend the questions being asked of them; and on and on and on… mind numbing:-/

  4. Posted by Bill Man on

    Yout comment about it being a gong show is so accurate. If the GN wants a way to raise money. They could sell the rights to broad cast the house sittings to major cable company money. I am certain it would be a hit.

  5. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    Would love to see one of the regular MLA’s try to fulfill the Ministers role.

    The questions they ask are outrageous. They want too much detail. They ask administration questions.

    Ministers are doing all they can. Good job! As for regular MLA’s, quit flexing your muscles. You ousted a Premier already. Time to get some work done. Quit being bullies.

    • Posted by iRoll on

      This is how accountable, responsible government works. Questions, questions, and answers… what’s your vision, a dictatorship where you give you faith and fealty to the great ruler? Take a trip to North Korea and ask yourself if that results in more effective governance. That said, I am sure some of these regular members could outperform some of our asleep at the wheel ministers.

  6. Posted by Imagine on

    Imagine if the 8 elected Executive Council members all resign and call for a leadership forum.
    Which of the current MLAs would put their names forward for Cabinet seats?
    I can imagine only 3 who would even try.
    I expect only 2 of them would get enough votes.
    I expect the others would find some way to not be available.
    Careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

  7. Posted by Atii on

    The Executive Council must be held accountable. So much preparation is involved in organizing and planning the Legislative Sessions. It is designed to provide maximum dialogue on very important issues. It is confusing and frustrating to watch the proceedings when the Ministers seem to be purposely evasive or providing nonsensical answers. The Regular MLAs are absolutely right to call out this “gong show”, they are not being bullies for doing so. Instead, they are representing their constituents well by holding the Council accountable. Taima

  8. Posted by Ken on

    I guess that overthrowing of the Premier for what we still don’t know is not working out too well.

    Old boys club fighting to get the Minister’s jobs and not doing a whole lot once they got it.

    What about doing a review of the Premier? Where did that end up?

    A lot of us knew this was going to come back and bite them in the as.

Comments are closed.