MLA Margaret Nakashuk to fill vacant cabinet seat on Nunavut's executive council

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Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk was voted in to replace Patterk Netser as new member of Nunavut's executive council.

"I believe I am quite capable," Nakashuk said on Friday afternoon in the legislature.

A leadership forum was held to fill MLA Patterk Netser's former cabinet seat. Netser was the minister responsible for Arctic College and the Nunavut Housing Corporation.

The seat has been vacant since Oct. 23, when Netser was booted from cabinet.

Netser was stripped of his portfolios by Premier Joe Savikataaq in early October after a Facebook post from his account stated "all lives matter," a statement largely seen as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. The post also went on to criticize Black women for having abortions.

It was a three-way race of nominees for the position, including Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk and Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone.

Nakashuk will still need to be sworn into cabinet in a ceremony next week. The premier said he will not be assigning portfolios until after the current sitting is over. Nakashuk will be part of all cabinet meetings while she gets used to the role.

Nakashuk told reporters she will focus on support for elders and families and that she's overwhelmed and thrilled to have been chosen for the job.

"I want to put some effort into areas where I feel need more support," she said. "If I can put some input into what more support I can give in that area I think it would be a great opportunity to be part of that team."

This is the third cabinet change in the current government. In 2018, Savikataaq was voted in as premier, a position held previously by Speaker Paul Quassa, and that same year, Pat Angnakak was stripped of her duties as a minister and later resigned from cabinet. She was replaced by MLA George Hickes.

One year remains for the current government.

On Tuesday, Iqaluit city council voted in favour of filling a vacant seat left behind by former councillor Malaiya Lucassie, Netser's daughter, who had commented in agreement with Netser's post and was later asked to step down by council.