Patterk Netser will let Nunavut MLAs decide his political future
“I was practicing my inherent right to express my views under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”
(Updated 3:25 p.m., Oct. 9)
Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser, who now sits in the Nunavut cabinet as a minister without portfolio, says he’ll let Nunavut MLAs decide whether he should be removed from cabinet after the legislative assembly reconvenes later this month
“I’ll make my case before the house and let them decide my fate. There’s always two sides to every story,” Netser told Nunatsiaq News in an interview.
Premier Joe Savikataaq removed both of Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser’s cabinet portfolios after Netser made a Facebook post linking abortion with the Black Lives Matter movement, suggesting Black women who choose to end their pregnancies are a threat to Black lives.
“The movement on BLM. I wonder how many black ladies go through abortion and at what stage of gestation? Are they not lives too?” Netser’s post said.
Although the Nunavut premier has the power to remove Netser’s portfolios, he does not have the power to remove him from cabinet. Only MLAs are able to do that.
Savikataaq said he will bring up the matter when the full caucus of MLAs meets on Oct. 21. The fall sitting of the legislature is scheduled to resume the day before, on Oct. 20.
“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.
Netser defended his right to make his comments on Facebook and said he was just “thinking out loud.”
“I’m sorry that they got offended. I was not targeting anyone. I was just simply thinking out loud. That’s my entitlement as a Canadian citizen on the right to freedom of speech,” he said.
“I was practicing my inherent right to express my views under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
In an emailed statement sent to Nunatsiaq News later, on Friday, Oct. 9, signed “Minister Netser,” Netser said that he wants to clarify his Facebook comments, which, he said, were “not aimed to cause confusion or [the] hurt that it caused.”
Instead, Netser’s statement said he was trying to express his pro-life beliefs.
“As a member of a group of people who survived attempted genocide, my comments were an attempt to highlight the extent to which systemic racism exists by highlighting the plight of the black unborn baby who statistically has been targeted in the womb,” he said.
“As someone who is pro-life, I felt I needed to highlight this specific issue that is dear to my heart and asked questions why these lives are less valued than other unborn babies,” his statement went on to say.
“My comments were not aimed at any movement for equality nor targeting black women who I believe are also victims of a system that devalues them, even in the womb.”
Netser had been minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp. and Nunavut Arctic College.
South Baffin MLA David Joanasie will now become acting minister for Nunavut Arctic College, and Savikataaq will become acting minister for the housing corporation.
The editors of Nunatsiaq News have published portions of Mr. Netser’s Oct. 9 email statement to ensure that his full position is reported. We do not endorse his position.