Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone says he fully supports Premier Joe Savikataaq taking swift action against Patterk Netser as he strongly disagrees Netser’s social media comments, which led to the removal of the Aivilik MLA’s cabinet portfolios on Thursday.
“The social media post in question reads, ‘I wonder how many Black ladies go through an abortion.’ I don’t understand how this wouldn’t be construed as targeted,” Arreak Lightstone stated. “I believe that the comments hold notes of racism and misogyny – neither are fitting for a public figure, let alone a cabinet minister. It is true as Canadian citizens we have freedom of expression, but as public figures we are held to a higher standard.”
Arreak Lightstone added that men shouldn’t have a say in what women decide to do with their bodies and he’s in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Systemic racism in Canada is pervasive issue that affects Black Canadians, Inuit and all Indigenous people,” he said. “We must be united and face this challenge as partners.”
He reiterated a statement he made in the legislative assembly on March 12 in support of the LGBTQ+ community:
“As elected members of this assembly, we have many privileges, including free speech, which is an integral aspect of democracy, and I wholeheartedly respect that… On a number of occasions I have made a commitment, including last week, to support a violence-free Nunavut, calling to end violence in all of its forms. I committed to speak for those who could not speak for themselves and to stand up for every Nunavummiut… I will continue to make my views on this very clear, and I look forward to standing up in this House and defending the human rights of all Nunavummiut.”
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main and Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk said they have no comment at this time.
Other regular MLAs have not yet responded to requests for comment on Netser being stripped of his Nunavut Housing Corporation and Nunavut Arctic College cabinet posts.
The Aivilik MLA has made statements in his own defence.