Nunavut MP does not regret Facebook post criticizing black women for having abortions

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq stripped Patterk Netser of his ministerial portfolios.

In an announcement Thursday morning, Savikataaq said he had been made aware of an “unacceptable post on social media”.

In a Facebook account allegedly belonging to him, Netser said “All Lives Matter,” a statement widely seen as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement because it ignores the disproportionate racism black people face.

The post then goes on to criticize black women for having abortions.

“I wonder how many black women have abortions and at what stage of gestation? Aren’t they lives too?” the message reads.

Netser was the minister responsible for Arctic College and the Nunavut Housing Corporation. He had the option of resigning or being stripped of his portfolios by the prime minister, according to a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office.

“Most shocking [part] He was the one who did it, “Savikataaq said in an interview with CBC.” A message like this should not be posted by anyone on the Executive Board or as a Member of Parliament. You represent all Nunavummiut and we are held to a higher standard. “

Ashley Burke / CBC

Netser says he doesn’t regret what he said, but apologized for offending anyone, in an interview with CBC News.

“I wasn’t targeting any interest group,” Netser said.

“It’s unfortunate. People are offended, people pick on me because I have this point of view … People are so insecure these days, you have to have duct tape over your mouth. “, he said.

Netser insisted that although he is a public figure, he has the right to speak his mind and that the prime minister has overreacted.

“The current laws that are in place in Canada that support the right of women … to choose are in place. My personal opinions, based on my beliefs, differ from these, ”Netser said.

“These are just my personal opinions and my personal opinions. I do not impose my beliefs on anyone and I respect people who do not impose their beliefs on me,” he said.

The city condemns the words of the councilor

Malaiya Lucassie, Iqaluit city councilor and daughter of Netser, responded to her message and said she had the same thought. In her commentary, she says nothing is done to acknowledge the deaths of Indigenous people, unlike the protest in the city of Iqaluit after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a policeman in the States. -United.

“All lives matter. Why don’t we do something for everyone and not just BLM, ”she said in her comment.

CBC has reached out to Lucassie for comment.

Patiq Netser / Facebook

Patiq Netser / Facebook

The city of Iqaluit said in a press release Thursday that the councilor’s views do not reflect the views of the city, adding that it is committed to including all members of its community. He says Lucassie has since apologized publicly.

The statement said Iqaluit City Council intends to discuss the incident at its next meeting and will use the opportunity to consider ways to educate council about racism and prejudice.

Lucassie’s post of apology on Facebook says she learned of the event.

“My intentions to call for change for the Inuit have been misrepresented, and I have no intention of straying from the BLM movement or any other group fighting the systemic racism we face,” a- she declared.

“I was wrong to refer to the Iqaluit BLM protest in my desire to see similar action on behalf of Inuit and Indigenous Canadians.

Advocacy groups weigh

Sileema Angoyuak, chair of the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council, says she was furious when she saw the message.

“We are entitled to our opinions and beliefs … but as a public figure … [he] should keep this at bay, keep our personal beliefs and opinions out [himself] instead of expressing it to everyone, ”Angoyuak said.

She said that the council looks after all women in Nunavut, not just Inuit women, and you have to understand that a woman takes a lot of things into account when choosing abortion.

Sara Frizzell / CBC

Sara Frizzell / CBC

The Black History Society and the Black Lives Matter Committee of Nunavut praised the Prime Minister for his leadership in quickly stripping Netser of his wallets.

“He has shown himself to be a leader who truly understands that ‘injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’,” the company said in a statement.

In an interview with CBC, company president Stephanie Bernard said her reaction to the post was “an extreme horror,” saying it was particularly upsetting from someone of her rank.

The company recently launched a petition, addressed to the Government of Nunavut, calling for a territory-wide conversation about systemic racism and its effects.

Clayton Greaves, a member of the company’s board of directors, says racism affects the entire community, not just Black and Indigenous communities.

“We have always said that there needs to be real open dialogue in the community, in the land, about the race,” said Greaves.

The movement does not concern a particular segment of the community, but confronts the issue of racism wherever it appears, he said.

“Since the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, which began on June 5 [in Iqaluit] with a demonstration, he always looked at issues that also affect the Inuit, ”said Bernard.

“The national and international Black Lives Matter movement is based on the premise that there is Indigenous sovereignty in Canada,” she said. “So in seeking to protect the lives of black people, we are also seeking to protect the lives of native people.”

Submitted by John Quirke

Submitted by John Quirke

The House to decide on the next steps for the fall sitting

The premier of Nunavut has done what he can with regard to the Facebook post by stripping Netser of his wallets, the premier’s press secretary said. He does not have the power to remove a cabinet minister.

The spokesperson said this was the first such message Savikataaq had encountered and he acted quickly to ensure that the government’s values ​​and ethics were upheld.

David Joanasie has received the Arctic College portfolio and Savikataaq will serve as Minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation.

If a minister does not resign, it is up to the House to pass a motion to remove him from Cabinet.

According to the statement, Savikataaq will take Patterk Netser’s question to the members of the Nunavut legislature when they meet for the fall sitting later this month.

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