Nunavut Premier Quassa Loses Vote of No-Confidence

New Premier Joe Savikataaq (third from the left) at the unveiling of the 2016 Arctic Winter Games uniform. (Photo: Ron Elliott (https://www.flickr.com/photos/122503062@N04/)
Premier Quassa, for the first time in the history of Nunavut, lost a vote of no-confidence on Thursday and has been replaced by Joe Savikataaq.

Premier Quassa, for the first time in the history of Nunavut, lost a vote of no-confidence on Thursday and has been replaced by Joe Savikataaq.

Nunavut has a new premier: Joe Savikataaq, the MLA for Arviat South. His election made history. For the first time, since the creation of the territory of Nunavut, the former Premier Paul Quassa lost a vote of non-confidence in the house. Quassa, who has only been in power for seven months, was criticised for his leadership style and for spending in the last couple months.

Nunavut’s government, which runs on a consensus basis, has no political parties. The legislative assembly has 22 seats and the premier is chosen by all members of the assembly, during a Nunavut Leadership Forum.

Nunavut is not allowed to be without a premier, which means that once the vote of no-confidence passed, a new premier had to be elected. Three names were put forward as options: Joe Savikataaq, Lorne Kusugak, and Patterk Netser.


Vote of No-Confidence

Rookie member John Main, MLA for Aviat North-Whale Cove, introduced the non-confidence motion, but did not cite specific reasons. There has been criticism around Premier Quassa’s leadership style, but also the more than $500,000 that the government spent going to the Northern Lights Conference in Ottawa.  This conference, which was in January, brought together northerners from across Canada to network and share their culture. On the Northern Lights website, the event is described as, “a high-profile business and cultural showcase of Nunavut, Nunavik, and Labrador / Nunatsiavut.”

What Main did say was, "There's been a tendency toward autocratic style of leading, which clashes with our consensus model of government."

Of the 22 members, 16 voted affirmative, 2 voted against the motion, and 2 abstained from the vote. The speaker did not vote.

Quassa keeps his seat and will now simply be the MLA for Aggu.


New Premier

After the vote of no-confidence passed, a new Leadership Forum was triggered. Joe Savikataaq, who was the Deputy Premier, won. Although he did not focus on his own list of priorities, as others did, he did focused on the importance of collaborative leadership and forming a mandate together with his other MLAs.

“I’m open-minded, I’m willing to listen and I’m willing to take advice,” said Savikataaq

Joe Savikataaq was not only Deputy Premier, but also Minister for Economic Development and Transportation, Environment, Energy, Minister responsible for Nunavut Development Corporation, Mines, and Nunavut Business Credit Corporation. Prior to politics, Premier Savikataaq served as a Conservation Officer with the Department of Environment for 30 years.

Premier Savikataaq will now have to choose his cabinet and re-assign Ministries.
OUT: Last November; Paul Quassa receives congratulations from his political counterpart Cathy Towtongie.  Now he's out of office. (Photo: Marc Jacobsen)
OUT: Last November; Paul Quassa receives congratulations from his political counterpart Cathy Towtongie. Now he's out of office. (Photo: Marc Jacobsen)

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