Nunavut cabinet minister stripped of portfolios

Fred Schell, the Nunavut MLA for South Baffin, apologized briefly to his constituents, as well as to all Nunavummiut, for being found guilty of breaching the territory's Integrity Act.

Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak has removed all ministerial portfolios from South Baffin MLA Fred Schell.

Aariak says Nunavut government officials told her that Schell has acted in conflict of interest and abused his authority as a cabinet minister.

Aariak did not give any specific reasons for removing Schell's portfolios, which have now been reassigned to other cabinet ministers.

"To hold ministerial portfolios in the executive council is a position of utmost trust and privilege, and it is my responsibility to ensure that the executive council is held to the highest standard," she said in a release Sunday.

Nunavut has a consensus style of government, so the premier does not have the authority to remove Schell from office. Cabinet ministers are chosen, and can only be removed, by a vote among all members of the legislative assembly.

Schell who represents the communities of Cape Dorset and Kimmirut, was human resources minister, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp. and the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission, and the minister responsible for homelessness.

Peter Taptuna will take on the Nunavut Housing Corp. and homelessness portfolios.

Lorne Kusugak will hold the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission file, while Daniel Shewchuk will take over the human resources portfolio.

In October, Nunavut's integrity commissioner found Schell guilty of influence peddling. The commissioner found he was using his influence as MLA for his Cape Dorset contracting business.