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Nunavut premiums allocate portfolios for new cabinet

Nunavut’s new prime ministerial and executive council members were officially sworn in for their roles by the territory’s commissioner on Friday. Top row from right to left: Margaret Nakashuk, David Joanasie, Lorne Kusugak, John Main, David Akeeagok, Adam Lightstone and Joanna Quassa. Bottom row from right to left: PJ Akeeagok, Eva Aariak and Pamela Gross. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

Nunavut’s eight new ministers have been assigned to their portfolios after they were officially sworn in for their roles on Friday.

Surrounded by family members, elders and invited guests, all of the territory’s 22 MLAs took the oath that officially put them in the positions they were given after last month’s election.

Members shared enthusiastic handshakes and hugged their families as things were made official, making the Assembly Chamber more lively than it has been for over a year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster (right), MLA for Iqaluit-Sinaa, shared her swearing-in ceremony with her mother Betty Brewster (left). (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

Inuksuk High School Choir opened the ceremony with O Canada, sung in part in Inuktitut, English and French.

Joanna Quassa, the newly elected MLA for Aggu, led the opening prayer.

Commissioner Eva Aariak presided over the ceremony, calling on MLAs one by one to take their oath. Some chose to do it in Inuktitut, and some in English.

Nunavut’s new MLAs were officially sworn in for their roles on Friday. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

After the MLAs were sworn in, the sixth Legislative Assembly sat for the first time, with the commissioner giving the opening speech.

Each MLA also posed one petition for elderly care facilities in all Nunavut communities on behalf of their constituents who signed.

After the first meeting, PJ Akeeagok was sworn in as new Prime Minister of Nunavut in another ceremony Friday night, beginning with a qulliq lighting.

Eight cabinet members followed troop and Akeeagok assigned the new ministers their portfolios.

“Each of these members has been selected for their strengths, passion and ability to provide leadership,” Akeeagok said after the ministers were sworn in.

Ministers were assigned the following portfolios:

PJ Akeeagok:

  • Premier;
  • Minister of Home Affairs
  • Minister of Immigration
  • Minister of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Minister responsible for the Utility Rate Review Council

Adam Arreak Lightstone:

  • Minister of Finance
  • Minister of Human Resources

David Akeeagok:

  • Minister of the Environment
  • Minister of Justice
  • Minister responsible for work

Pamela Gross:

  • Deputy Prime Minister
  • Minister of Education
  • Minister with responsibility for Nunavut Arctic College

Lorne Kusugak:

  • Head of Government House
  • Minister of Economic Development and Transport
  • Minister in charge of Nunavut Housing Corp.

John Main:

  • Minister of Health
  • Minister responsible for suicide prevention

David Joanasie:

  • Minister with responsibility for community and state service

Margaret Nakashuk:

  • Minister of Family Services
  • Minister responsible for the status of women
  • Minister responsible for combating poverty
  • Minister responsible for homelessness

Joanna Quassa

  • Minister of Culture and Culture
  • Minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation
  • Minister responsible for languages
  • Minister responsible for seniors

“Rest assured that we have heard your concerns during this last election,” Akeeagok said, addressing voters.

“We are enthusiastic and will work tirelessly together to build our territory into a place that promotes Nunavummiut’s aspirations and meets our needs.”

Four of the eight members are first-time ministers, and the cabinet consists of five men and three women.

Pamela Gross, MLA for Cambridge Bay, and Aggus Joanna Quassa are the only first-time members of the cabinet.

Tony Akoak, MLA for Gjoa Haven, will chair the Legislative Assembly.

Gjoa Haven’s MLA Tony Akoak will chair the Nunavut’s Sixth Legislative Assembly. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

The new government will not sit down until the new year.

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