Paul Aarulaaq Quassa (born January 12, 1952)[1] is a Canadian politician who served as the fourth premier of Nunavut from November 2017 to June 2018. He served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, representing Aggu from 2013 until 2021.[2]

Paul Quassa
4th Premier of Nunavut
In office
November 21, 2017 – June 14, 2018
CommissionerNellie Kusugak
Preceded byPeter Taptuna
Succeeded byJoe Savikataaq
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut
for Aggu
In office
October 28, 2013 – August 13, 2021
Preceded bydistrict created
Succeeded byJoanna Quassa
11th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut
In office
February 26, 2020 – August 13, 2021
Preceded bySimeon Mikkungwak
Succeeded byTony Akoak
Personal details
Born(1952-01-12)January 12, 1952
Igloolik, Northwest Territories (now Nunavut)
Political partynon-partisan
consensus government
RelativesJoanna Quassa (sister in-law)
Occupationindigenous land claims negotiator, journalist and MLA in Nunavut

An Inuk, Quassa became involved in Inuit politics at the age of 20, and was one of the chief negotiators of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement that created the modern territory of Nunavut.

Early life Edit

Quassa was born in Manitok, a hunting camp near Igloolik.[3] Born in an igloo, he was raised for the first years of his life in what he described as "the Inuit traditional way of life", part of the last generation to do so. At the age of six, he was taken to a Canadian Indian residential school in Churchill, Manitoba.[4]

Land claims work Edit

He returned to Igloolik in 1972 to work on land claims and served as president of the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut in the early 1990s.[5] He was one of the negotiators of, and a signatory of, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement settlement that led to the establishment of Nunavut.[3][6]

He was dropped from the presidency of TFN in 1992 following allegations of sexual assault against a woman,[7] but received a discharge in court[8] and was subsequently reinstated as president of the organization and the successor Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated.[9] Quassa also worked as a journalist with CBC North and Isuma Productions.[4]

Political career Edit

First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut in the 2013 election,[10] he represents the electoral district of Aggu. He served in the Executive Council of Nunavut as Minister of Education during the 4th Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.[11] As Education Minister, he unsuccessfully attempted to introduce bilingual education in schools, in both English and Inuktitut.[4]

He was reelected in the 2017 election, and was subsequently selected as premier at the Nunavut Leadership Forum under the territory's consensus government system.[3]

Vote of no confidence Edit

On June 14, 2018, he lost a non-confidence vote by 16-3, with two abstentions. The motion of no-confidence was tabled by MLA John Main, in response to what Main described as an "autocratic style" of leadership, and wider criticism by MLAs of the spending decisions made by Quassa's government.[12]

Quassa was replaced as Premier by former deputy premier Joe Savikataaq.[13]

On February 26, 2020, he was selected as the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut following the resignation of Simeon Mikkungwak from the legislature the previous day.[14] He did not seek re-election in 2021.

References Edit

  1. ^ "Paul Quassa Testimony". Isuma, November 2007.
  2. ^ Jeff Pelletier, "Nunavut votes: Aggu up for grabs following Quassa’s departure". Nunatsiaq News, October 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Paul Quassa will be Nunavut's next premier". CBC News. 17 November 2017. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Paul Quassa, Nunavut's new premier". Maclean's. 25 November 2017. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Ottawa awards management rights in massive territorial land claim". Montreal Gazette. 27 March 1990.
  6. ^ Weber, Bob (17 November 2017). "Longtime Inuit politician Paul Quassa chosen as new premier of Nunavut". CTV News. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Inuit land negotiator charged in assault". Edmonton Journal. 31 January 1992.
  8. ^ "Discharge on sex assault sparks outcry by Inuit". Hamilton Spectator. 27 February 1992.
  9. ^ "Inuit challenge federal gun-control law: Legislation 'designed for southern Canada' violates right to hunt without permit, leaders say". Montreal Gazette. 22 June 2000.
  10. ^ "2 seats tied, Eva Aariak loses in Nunavut election". CBC News. 27 October 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
  11. ^ "'Very representative': Paul Quassa calls selection of 19 Inuit law students 'successful'". CBC North. 13 September 2017. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017.
  12. ^ Brown, Beth (14 June 2018). "Nunavut premier removed by non-confidence vote". Nunatsiaq News. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018.
  13. ^ Weber, Bob (14 June 2018). "After Paul Quassa ejected, Nunavut chooses deputy as new premier". CTV News. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018.
  14. ^ Rajnesh Sharma, "Quassa appointed as new Speaker of legislative assembly". Nunavut News, February 26, 2020.