Reinstate Patterk Netser’s Portfolio and Issue a Public Apology


Nunavut Minister Netser

To: Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq and all MLAs

On October 8th, Mr. Patterk (Patiq) Netser (Natsiq), MLA for Aivilik in Nunavut, was relieved of his responsibilities as a Minister of the Crown by Premier Joe Savikataaq. The Premier unilaterally stripped Mr. Netser of his entire ministerial portfolio overseeing Nunavut Arctic College and Nunavut Housing Corporation. He has further threatened him with additional reprisals when the Legislature reconvenes on October 21st.

All this comes after Mr. Netser dared to raise awareness of the abortion of black preborn babies in an inoffensive, 31-word Facebook post. Here is what he posted:

Facebook Post

There is absolutely nothing derogatory or mean-spirited in Mr. Netser’s short social media post. It is certainly no cause for the Premier to try to ruin the career and trash the reputation of a democratically-elected MLA. This is a severe overreaction and abuse of power on the Premier’s part.

It is not a crime to acknowledge the humanity of unborn black babies. In fact, according to a recent study, “black women have been experiencing abortions at a rate nearly four times that of white women for more than 30 years.” This would seem to indicate a pattern of systemic racism, which Mr. Netser was exposing. Mr. Netser should not get “fired” for this!

Is it not a matter of “employment discrimination” to punish a person for his or her beliefs? According to the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal, “To unlawfully discriminate means to deny benefits and opportunities or to impose burdens, obligations or disadvantages on persons or groups of people based on specific grounds outlined in the Act,” including “religion and creed”. Certainly, Mr. Netser has been greatly disadvantaged for his Christian beliefs, and he deserves an apology.

It is ironic that, when Premier Savikataaq issued his official statement denouncing Mr. Netser, he claimed that he was acting in the name of “diversity”. But this rings hollow when measured against the Premier’s actions in demoting someone with a diverse perspective on the unborn. The only person being disrespectful, hurtful, and discriminatory in this situation is Premier Savikataaq.

In a response to the Premier’s statement, Mr. Netser asked, “Where’s my equality? Is it not being fair to my convictions and beliefs on what I stand for? We Inuit have always valued life even before the gospel came to Nunavut, to my people.”

I believe that the Premier of Nunavut must issue an immediate public apology to Mr. Netser for treating him so cruelly and discriminating against his beliefs. I believe that the Premier must also reinstate Mr. Netser’s full ministerial portfolio without delay. In addition, the Legislature must affirm Mr. Netser’s constitutional right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion, upholding their own Human Rights Code.


[ The Undersigned ]

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