New Nunavut premier shuffles cabinet

Incoming Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq made immediate changes to his executive council.

By Nunatsiaq News - June 18, 2018
The Sanikataaq cabinet, in the Nunavut legislature, on Friday, June 15, the day after Joe Savikataaq became Nunavut’s new premier. (Courtney Edgar / Nunatsiaq News)

At the end of a tumultuous week, Premier Joe Savikataaq announced changes to executive council portfolios late Friday, less than 24 hours after he took over as premier from Aggu MLA Paul Quassa.

The changes mean David Akeeagok, MLA for Quttiktuq, is the new deputy premier and minister of economic development and transportation.

George Hickes, MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, who returned to cabinet yesterday, is the new minister of finance, a portfolio formerly held by Akeeagok.

Jeannie Ehaloak is the new minister of environment, in addition to her current portfolios, which include justice and the Qulliq Energy Corp.

But former Nunavut premier Paul Okalik’s appointment as chief negotiator for devolution “is no longer in effect,” a news release on the cabinet appointments said.

Okalik had started that job only earlier this week.

A replacement will be appointed at a later date, the release said.

“I understand the uncertainty that has transpired over the last week and I want to tell my fellow Nunavummiut that this cabinet is focused on ensuring strong, healthy and successful partnerships and outcomes,” Savikataaq said.

“Turaaqtavut lays out the foundation of our government’s work, and these appointments today will certainly embolden our steps, and help us as we move ahead, towards a better future for our territory.”

These changes take effect immediately, the release said.