Tom Sammurtok, Nunavut MLA, charged with drunk driving

Tom Sammurtok, the MLA for Rankin Inlet North - Chesterfield Inlet, has been removed as Minister of Community and Government Services pending his court appearance related to a charge of drunk driving Monday.

MLA for Rankin Inlet North - Chesterfield Inlet stripped of portfolio

Tom Sammurtok, the MLA for Rankin Inlet North – Chesterfield Inlet, has been stripped of his portfolio after he was charged with drunk driving on Monday. 

"I realize that I made a mistake and it is not acceptable to put myself or others at risk," Sammurtok says in a statement in which he apologizes to his constituents and colleagues.

Sammurtok goes on to say he will not make any excuses or place the blame elsewhere.

"I deeply regret my actions, and I am immediately taking steps to seek help and healing from professionals."

Premier Peter Taptuna, in a news release, says Johnny Mike, current Environment Minister, will take over as Minister of Community and Government Services, effective immediately. 

But Taptuna doesn't have the power to remove Sammurtok from cabinet. In Nunavut's consensus government, cabinet ministers are chosen, and can only be removed, by a vote among all members of the legislative assembly.

"Pending Minister Sammurtok's court appearance, he remains minister without portfolio," Taptuna says in a news release. 

Sammurtok's next court appearance is scheduled for May 21.