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Nunavut's chief devolution negotiator back on the job — a week after being replaced

One of Joe Savikataaq's first moves as Nunavut's new premier is to bring back Simon Awa as the chief negotiator of devolution for the territory — undoing one of former premier Paul Quassa's last moves.

Premier Joe Savikataaq brings back Simon Awa, says he was doing a good job on the file

Long-term public servant Simon Awa has been re-named Nunavut's chief negotiator for devolution. (Simon Awa/Facebook)

One of Joe Savikataaq's first moves as Nunavut's new premier is to bring back Simon Awa as the chief negotiator of devolution for the territory — undoing one of former premier Paul Quassa's last moves.

Savikataaq said Tuesday that Awa will return as chief negotiator. It comes just four days into Savikataaq's term as premier and only a week after Quassa removed Awa from the job. 

Quassa announced Awa would leave the position last Tuesday, after Awa spent four years as chief negotiator. Quassa replaced Awa with Paul Okalik, the first premier of Nunavut from 1999 to 2008.

But Quassa was ousted from the job last Thursday. ​Nunavut MLAs chose Savikataaq as premier after Quassa lost a non-confidence vote in the 22-member Legislative Assembly.

"[Awa's] been on the file for four years, he's been doing a good job of it, there were no issues with his workmanship," Savikataaq said in an interview with CBC News.

"The [agreement-in-principle] might be reached by the end of this calendar year," he said. "It wasn't right just to remove him when there was no apparent reason to have him removed.

"It does not make sense — if someone knows the file on whatever issue they're working on, and they're doing a good job — to remove them and replace them with someone else."  

With files from Juanita Taylor

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