June 19th, 2018

Nunavut members of the legislature debate non-confidence vote on premier


By The Canadian Press on June 14, 2018.

Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa takes questions from the media at the Western Premiers' Conference in Yellowknife, N.T., Wednesday, May 23, 2018 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pat Kane

IQALUIT, Nunavut – Members of the legislature in Nunavut are debating a non-confidence motion that would remove the premier who is less than a year into office.

Paul Quassa was chosen to lead the territory after last November’s territorial election.

Nunavut has a consensus-style government, so there are no political parties and legislature members choose a premier from among their number.

John Main, who represents the community of Arviat, introduced the non-confidence motion.

Members who have risen to speak have voiced concerns about Quassa’s leadership style.

They say he has not regularly consulted members who are not part of cabinet and has given misleading statements in the house.

Main is chairman of the 13 members who aren’t in cabinet and who function as a kind of opposition.

A simple majority of the legislature’s 22 members would be enough to bring Quassa down. There are 13 regular members.

Legislature clerk John Quirke has said that if Quassa is dismissed, a new premier could be in place as early as Friday morning.

Quassa would retain his seat.

New Nunavut premiers traditionally huddle with their colleagues at the start of their first session to determine the government’s priorities for its term in office. It’s not clear if a replacement premier would reset those priorities.

If the motion succeeds, it would be the first time a sitting premier has been removed in Nunavut’s 19-year history.

Quassa was the education minister in the last Nunavut government and oversaw an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to modernize territorial legislation to promote fully bilingual students.

– By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter

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