Nunavut MLA Samuel Nuqingaq suspended from legislature

A majority of MLAs in Nunavut’s legislative assembly have voted to suspend Uqqummiut MLA Samuel Nuqingaq.

No clear reason given for suspension, but MLA has been in trouble before

A majority of MLAs in Nunavut’s legislative assembly have voted to suspend Uqqummiut MLA Samuel Nuqingaq.

Nuqingaq is also suspended from all committee and caucus meetings until the House reviews the matter before the spring sitting.

Uqqummiut MLA Samuel Nuqingaq attends the afternoon session of the Nunavut Leadership Forum on Nov. 15. MLAs voted Thursday to suspend him until the spring sitting of the legislature. (CBC)

The motion suspending him said the reputation and dignity of the legislature are best served by him not taking part in its proceedings.

The reason for the suspension is not clear, but Iqaluit-TasilukMLA George Hickes said it's obvious from previous disciplinary actions that there are concerns about some of Nuqingaq's behaviour 

In the vote on today's motion, Hickes and Justice Minister Paul Okalik voted against it. Steve Mapsalak from Aivilik abstained.

Nuqingaq was absent from today`s sitting. He missed two days of orientation and the beginning of the Leadership Forum last fall. He received disciplinary action for those absences.

Premier Peter Taptuna says there are consequences for the people of Clyde River and Qikiqtarjuaq.

“It does have an impact on the communities he represents. So it's very difficult for the community and himself,” the premier said.

The suspension also includes monetary penalties. Members have moved to recover Nuqingaq's allowance and indemnities. They have also imposed restrictions on his constituency budget and legislative funds.       

When members review the suspension, they will decide to either end the suspension, extend it or take other action.

The mayors of the communities Nuqingaq represents are in Iqaluit for the annual Baffin Mayors Forum. 

Qikiqtarjuaq mayor Mary Killiktee did not want to comment on the suspension. Clyde River mayor Jerry Natanine expected MLAs to take more action. 

"I'm not surprised. I thought it would be a little more severe. I was hoping there was going to be a re-election," Natanine said.