Paul Okalik defends firing Peter Mackey

The minister responsible for Nunavut's Qulliq Energy Corporation says quick action was required in the firing of president and CEO Peter Mackey, but he won’t say why.

George Hickes Sr. the last remaining director on QEC's board

CBC's Pauline Pemik reports from Iqaluit 2:32

The minister in charge of the Qulliq Energy Corporation is defending actions taken at the public energy utility.

Earlier this week, chair Simon Merkosak and five of six directors of the board announced their resignation in protest of several recent government decisions.

In a resignation letter, Merkosak said the government fired QEC’s President and CEO Peter Mackey with no prior discussion with the board.

“If there were concerns, severe concerns, they could have talked to us and try to find out more information with what the problem is and what they think the problem is and address it properly,” Merkosak told the CBC. “We were never given that chance and it seems like we were charged with something and we are all guilty so that's the approach that was conveyed to us."

The Minister in charge of QEC, Paul Okalik, defends the move, saying quick action was required. But he won't say why.

"I cannot speak for the removal of the president as that is ongoing,” Okalik said. “There is an internal investigation that is taking place to make sure that there is corrective action that is put in place.”

Merkosak also complained that the government removed budget items already approved by the board for the Iqaluit hydro project.

Okalik says that was justified.

"I want to make sure that that work is done before we spend anymore money for this project at the expense of the ratepayers."

George Hickes Sr. remains the last director on QEC's board.

A new chair and more directors will be appointed in the near future.


  • The original version of this story spelled George Hickes Sr.'s name incorrectly.
    Jan 09, 2014 10:28 AM CT