Nunavut housing minister stripped of portfolio after 'serious breach,' says premier

Minister Pat Angnakak is no longer the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation and the Qulliq Energy Corporation, after what Premier Joe Savikataaq describes as a 'serious breach of cabinet confidentiality in the legislative assembly.'

Minister Pat Angnakak no longer minister of Nunavut Housing Corp. or Qulliq Energy Corp.

Pat Angnakak was the minister responsible for housing and the Qulliq Energy Corporation. (Nunavut Legislative Assembly)

Pat Angnakak has been stripped of her duties as the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation and the minister responsible for the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

Premier Joe Savikataaq made the announcement Wednesday after he said there was a "serious breach of cabinet confidentiality" in the legislature on Tuesday.

In an interview, Savikataaq declined to say exactly what the breach was, adding he would be repeating the breach himself if he did.

"As a cabinet, we cannot work together effectively if we cannot trust that our colleagues are able to maintain their oaths," he said in a news release.

Lorne Kusugak will take over housing, while Jeannie Ehaloak will take over the energy file.

The premier said Angnakak is still a minister, she just doesn't have a portfolio.

Staff housing at issue Tuesday

Angnakak responded to questions from Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone in the legislature on Tuesday about staff housing for government employees.

"Why does the government continue to provide subsidized staff housing to the employees who least need this benefit, and who can most afford to demonstrate their long-term commitment to the territory by becoming private homeowners?" Arreak Lightstone asked.

Angnakak agreed the government's staff housing policy is "slanted."

She said the government was committed to "equalizing" the staff housing policy. She said that could include changes to make deputy ministers ineligible for staff housing and household allowances.

Angnakak said the proposed policy changes had been reviewed by cabinet, which "supported a lot of the amendments." 

Savikataaq has asked Angnakak to resign. If she doesn't, it's up to the House to pass a motion to remove her from cabinet.

Angnakak declined an interview with CBC News on Wednesday, saying she would be available Thursday.