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Deputy minister of Lands resigns

2901devB.jpg Laura Busch/NNSL photo Willard Hagen, chair of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, was the neutral island in the middle of the political storm during Bill C-15 hearings at the Explorer Hotel on Monday, where the federal government's decision to group devolution and the super board together as a single bill was called everything from "insulting" to "colonial" to "visionary." Jan. 27, 2014.

The Premier's Office announced this morning that Willard Hagen, deputy minister with the GNWT Department of Lands, has resigned following a slur he made on an NNSL Facebook post directed at Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly.

"I have accepted Willard Hagen's resignation as Deputy Minister of Lands today," stated Premier Bob McLeod in a Sept. 18 email. "Mr. Hagen's personal remarks do not reflect the views of the Government of the Northwest Territories, nor are they consistent with our expectations of a professional and respectful public service.

"I will not be commenting further on this matter."

On Tuesday, Hagen made comments online about O'Reilly, who is seeking re-election, in response to an NNSL column about  the history of NWT land claims.

The slur followed a social media post O'Reilly made in reference to a photograph that accompanied the column.

Since Hagen's online remarks, O'Reilly has declined to comment on the matter.