Nunavut premier strips Patterk Netser of all portfolios

Netser had made “unacceptable social media post” about Black Lives Matter and abortion

Aivilik MLA Patterk Nester has lost all of his cabinet responsibilities and now sits as a minister without portfolio. (File photo)

By Jim Bell

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq has removed Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser’s cabinet portfolios after Netser made an “unacceptable” Facebook post about abortion and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“An unacceptable social media post was brought to my attention yesterday. As a result, I have made Minister Patterk Netser a Minister without portfolio, effective immediately,” Savikataaq said in a written statement.

Here’s the Facebook post that led to Patterk Netser being stripped of all cabinet responsibilities. (Screen shot)

Savikataaq announced the decision on Thursday morning, Oct. 8. Netser’s post appears to have been made earlier this week.

“There can be no tolerance for disrespectful, hurtful remarks or actions, and we must uphold our government’s principles and values,” he said.

The decision means Netser is no longer minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp. and Nunavut Arctic College, and will sit as a minister without portfolio.

Although the premier has the power to remove Netser’s portfolios, he does not have the power to remove Netser from cabinet.

Only MLAs have the power to remove a minister from cabinet, and Savikataaq appears to be inviting them to do just that when the legislative assembly resumes on Oct. 21.

“When all Members of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut reconvene for their Full Caucus meeting on October 21, 2020, I will take this matter forward for consideration around appropriate next steps as a consensus government,” he said.

South Baffin MLA David Joanasie will become acting minister for Nunavut Arctic College, while Savikataaq himself will become acting minister for the housing corporation.

Netser made the post under a Facebook account with the name “Patiq Netser.” (“Patiq” is the correct dual orthography spelling of “Patterk.”)

In the Facebook post, Netser said, in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, that “all lives matter.”

He followed that with a comment linking BLM to the abortion debate.

“The movement on BLM. I wonder how many black ladies go through abortion and at what stage of gestation? Are they not lives too?”

After that, Malaiya Lucassie, a sitting member of Iqaluit’s municipal council who is also Netser’s daughter, chimed in with a response.

“I had the exact same thought this morning,” Lucassie said.

She then mentioned the recent rally in Iqaluit held in support of Black Lives Matter, and asked why there is not “a movement for Indigenous folks.”

In support of that, she 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.

(More to come)

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(44) Comments:

  1. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    That’s what happened when you think you have too much power and authorities. Good call on the premier to strip him down.

    • Posted by Ferdy on

      Mr. Netser is just so honest in expressing his thoughts! We seldom see this strong conviction on people working in government especially on high places. I also wonder, why not other Lives, too?!, why always blm?

      • Posted by Thoughts on

        His thoughts or something he heard on fox news then regurgitated?
        Either he knew exactly what he was doing (in which case he should have his portfolios stripped for being so outlandish and divisive) or he’s just another clueless facebook user who thinks their posts are private (in which case he shouldn’t be a minister if he can’t grasp social media 101). It’s a win-win for Savikataaq.

    • Posted by Power on

      The only one with to much power in this story is the Premier, for trying to silence ministers and MLA’s not letting them speak there opinion (right or wrong)

  2. Posted by how about it, mr mayor?? on

    Kenny, how about holding our city councillors’ to the same standard?? she seems to agree with the sentiment.

  3. Posted by Black lives matter on

    Why not call it for what it is, RACISM

    • Posted by What decade is this? on

      Racism and misogyny.

      It is 2020.

      We need to do better.

    • Posted by Other lives matter, Of course! on

      Do not put words into others’ mouth.. like you wanted it to be and ‘make you a hero’ afterwards.

    • Posted by What on

      Can someone explain to me exactly how this is racist?
      Is it that he mentioned ladies but he is not one so he he is a racist?
      Is it that he mentioned black’s but he is not one so he is racist?
      Is it that he is calling some people in the BLM movement hypocrites for not doing what they preach?
      I see a prolife politician making post of what he believes in, even though I personally believe it is wrong he does have a right to say it and he should not be punished for his opinion. If you want to punish him don’t vote for him.

      • Posted by Mass Hysteria on

        I don’t know where the Government of Nunavut’s position on abortion has ever been articulated? I mean, I’m sure reasonable access is in place but beyond that… This is just the Premier making things up as he goes along.
        Also, Netser is an Inuk politician in Nunavut. Black people aren’t at an elevated risk of police or other violence in Nunavut. He has a right to push back on the transplantation of a southern ideology into Nunavut.
        Very disappointed at the groupthink and mob mentality.
        (for the record, I disagree with Netser on abortion but freedom of conscience is more important than ideological purity)

  4. Posted by Was bound to happen on

    Some advice to the soon-to-be Regular Member: when you play your racist gaslighting card, the trick is not to say something racist the very next sentence. The pros on Fox News (which you should know well by now) say #AllLivesMatter then they wait for the “LiBuRaWlS” to call them racist…and that’s when you jump on their logic.
    #AllLivesMatter is code for the far right. It’s a way for racists to give each other a wink and say “we’re on the same page” without actually saying a racist sentence like “i hate black people”. It’s a simple tactic to undermine the efforts of the BLM movement.

  5. Posted by anon on

    Life comes at you fast, I guess

  6. Posted by Thinking outloud on

    Congrats. Your unprompted thinking outloud cost you a minister’s position and probably your political career. You sure showed them!

  7. Posted by another dimension on

    Facebook is toxic. Society is gullible to following the masses, speaking without a second thought to see if what you posted would be the same as you would in person or real life.
    A lot of people are caught up in keeping up with current events that do not directly affect them and provide their opinion or advice.
    Or for some, it appears Facebook is a part of their life such has soul, heart etc. and then their Facebook mixed in there.

  8. Posted by ‘Bout Time on

    Imagine the continued oppression Nunavut free-thinkers and people of different colour and creed would’ve faced had he continued to be the Minister of something.
    Good move on the Premier.

    • Posted by Probably for the Best on

      Yes, it is probably for the best in the long run that he is gone. You have to wonder how much of his racist thinking flowed down into the operations of NAC.

  9. Posted by Ken on

    Thank you Mr. Premier for doing the right thing, this government should not support here backwards views by this MLA, we should be supporting the BLM as we are in the same situation as them, BLM is not against others they agree all lives matter but black people face so much racism, systematic racism in the south and they get killed y the police.
    BLM is to shine a light on the systematic racism that lives in institutions of government, the lives everywhere, we should support BLM as we go through the same systematic racism as indigenous people.

  10. Posted by Irony on

    The irony of a member of a minority group who has also been similarly oppressed as black people have been, speaking ill of another oppressed group is hilarious. It’s not even worth saying much more on it than that because both he and his daughter knew this was wrong (and why) when they said it and they knew they wouldn’t like it were the roles reversed. Still waiting on Iqaluit City Council to do the same of Malaiya…time is ticking.

    • Posted by Outside the metal box on

      Or.. maybe the oppression narrative is overdone?

      • Posted by Irony on

        Must be nice for someone else’s lived experience to be a “narrative” to you.

        • Posted by Utopia Now! on

          All lived experiences matter.

          But then again, they’re just anecdotes until you imbue them with life, and then they become “narratives”.

          In a pluralistic society we can’t be too fixated on narratives (or lived experience if you will) over data. The oil patch worker has a lived experience that she can easily spin into a compelling narrative… should that trump climate science?

        • Posted by Generalizations Everywhere on

          Irony indeed, whose “lived experience” are you appropriating to make your point? Sweeping generalizations are a fallacy and should be suspect.

  11. Posted by Step Up Iqaluit on

    Super proud of this swift and appropriate response from our territorial government. I hope our municipal government doesn’t take too long to do the same.

  12. Posted by My Goodness on

    Gross, good move on the Premier of the north strong and free.

  13. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    good move, c’mon mla’s show support for this by removing him from cabinet, need more forward thinkers, not backward.

  14. Posted by about time on

    Definition of a religious zealot:
    A person who has ruined religion by using it for his own personal gain and to make him/her seem like (s)he’s better than non-religious people.

    There is no way that those comments fit any version of Christianity but some people try to twist their beliefs and hide behind Christianity.

    Great job Mr. Premier, Your swift actions send a very clear message. I hope the MLAs act swiftly when they sit again. There is no room in the public government of Nunavut for racism in any form.

  15. Posted by MsM on

    I am happy to see a quick response by our Premier. Having lived in the north for 10 years I have witnessed and experienced racism. There have been times when speaking up have caused me to be shunned by others in their own very “far right” thinking. Too many of us come to the North and obtain a position of power that could never happen in the south. It is with this power that Inuk are not given fair employment opportunities for something as simple as answering the phone. I have walked into offices where the space for Inuit is very noticeable if they are even present. “Why did you come up north?” and “What island are you from?” are indicating factors that most lack any knowledge of African Canadian history much less the history of Canada’s first people. We are often viewed as new comers and Indigenous people as invisible. I fear for Nunavut in the next 10 years as this “far right thinking” is very much in our board rooms, government offices and is becoming more evident than most of us are willing to say.

    • Posted by Let the Sunshine In on

      Sadly, Netser’s attitude of intolerance and racism is very common in Nunavut. I don’t know whether it is becoming more common or just being spoken about more.

      That it is out in the light is a good thing, imho.

      • Posted by Very True on

        Sadly, this is true… The hardcore Christian influence on Nunavut in general, and its politicians in particular, is very concerning. It leads to openly far-right influences in shocking and destructive ways.
        It wasn’t that long ago that an evangelical conspiracy theorist pastor was invited to Nunavut, despite being known for calling the Christchurch massacre a ‘false flag’ and calling those he doesn’t like blood sucking demons… before asking for money for his mega-church down in Florida:
        For too long, people have treated us inuit like sheep to make money off of, and the most fundamental sections of the evangelical movement have been targeting us and other indigenous people for years, resulting in influence over people like Patiq himself:
        “Members of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, hamlet councilors, and regional and territorial authorities were regular fixtures. At one such gathering, Patterk Netser, a newly elected representative, held up a sign proudly announcing, “Jesus is Lord Over Nunavut.”
        Christian missionaries have always said they are here to save us, meanwhile they have always belittled our culture and practices. They prey on the vulnerability caused in part by their attempts to use us over the decades for their own gain. These tendencies must seriously be examined, if we are to fix the root issue that crops up in events such as these on a regular basis. Otherwise, the issues will only grow worse…

  16. Posted by Housing Sucks on

    I mean did they really need this to fire him? Nunavut Housing Corporation is being driven into the ground by bureaucrats who were lead by this fellow.

  17. Posted by Iva Thawt on

    As a politician, you are held to a higher standard. You are representing the people of your constituency, not yourself. Your opinion does not matter any more. What you think that others should do doesn’t matter. Especially when you are wrong.

  18. Posted by Good Move on

    Qujannamiik Premier Nakumi , Thank You, Merci, well done Premier.
    Such kind of people with this racist attitude should not hold public office.

  19. Posted by emuse on

    Good on the premiere. Hopefully cabinet takes quick action too. These racist and toxic views have no place in government.

  20. Posted by Act on racism on

    Black Lives Matter…but because they do does not mean that Indigenous lives don’t. Only a racist would see it that way. They matter just as much. Premier Savikataaq, you rock!

  21. Posted by A.K.A. Truestory on

    Guffawing away. “Nunavut politicians”.

  22. Posted by Abraham Tagalik on

    The Premier needs a signed resignation letter from each minister with no date. date to be added if needed such as this case.

  23. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    People who say “_____________ lives matter too” in response to BLM just don’t get it.

    We know that all lives matter. The BLM grew out of the need for people to be more sensitized to the fact that Black people in American are more often targeted by police, systemically marginalised, kept in poverty, stereotyped, incarcerated more often, murdered at a higher rate than other groups of people and the list goes on. Many other groups have their own specific struggles and in no way does the BLM lessen these struggles. Indigenous people in this country have all these same struggles and more on top of them. We need our own movement but not at the expense of other people. BLM does not preclude ILM (Indigenous Lives Matter).

    The Premier made the right move here and the MLA’s should be censuring Netser at the very least. His attitude in this fiasco as well as previous incidents proves that he is only here for some of us.

    • Posted by Colin on

      I agree 100% with you, instead of supporting BLM some get very defensive and attack it, they don’t realize we are on the same side and fighting for the same rights and equality.
      We should all be supporting the BLM along with our own ILM as we are on the same side fighting to be treated fairly and without racism.
      Divide and conquer seems to be winning here for the other side.

      • Posted by No Moniker on

        There are a lot of good reasons to criticize BLM, and none of those make one a racist. There is a small coterie of black intellectuals who have taken to this task online. I think they have some interesting things to say:
        Professor Glenn Loury, author of The Anatomy of Racial Inequality’:

  24. Posted by Woke Olympian on

    It’s hard not to be moved and impressed with some of the outstanding performances in these comments. I applaud you all and look forward to seeing you on the podium!

  25. Posted by Name withheld on

    Patterk and Malaiya you need to stop voicing your opinion publicly especially if you hold a seat in public office and as a person receiving income from the GN. You both sign something right ?

    It may work in a small community as where you are from but not in a large diverse city as Iqaluit and Nunavut as whole.

    You are not Trump and Ivanka

    • Posted by Tally on

      Mr. Netser known to put down others and other Christian’s but can’t handle being criticized himself. Just stop apologizing, it’s getting more stupid.

  26. Posted by Murk Post on

    So many people that comment here are doing exactly what they say Mr. Netser is guilty of.

    Why should your moral absolutes dictate what happens to another?

    You don’t believe on moral absolutes do you ?

    Lol everyone does – some try to say they don’t buy they do

    As evidenced by the preaching in these comments

    • Posted by Back Lives Matter on

      Mr Netser’s freedom of expression was never curtailed. He is free to make racist and asinine comments even today. He sounds just like white supremacists in the south who wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. What Mr. Netser doesn’t understand is that there were *consequences for his public comments. He wants his cake and to eat it, too. I have no respect for him. He’s a coward.

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