Monday, March 17

Nunavut women's groups outraged by cabinet appointment - Human Resources Minister Levi Barnabas convicted of sexual assault in 2000

Women's groups in Nunavut say they are outraged that Levi Barnabas, an MLA convicted eight years ago of sexual assault, was named to cabinet last week.

Barnabas, who represents the High Arctic riding of Quttiktuq, was acclaimed Thursday to fill a cabinet seat vacated by Baker Lake MLA and former finance minister David Simailak.

Premier Paul Okalik has assigned Barnabas the human resources portfolio, as well as made him minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Board.

The one-time Speaker of the house resigned in 2000 after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault. He was re-elected in 2004.

"I want to see him stepping down and just be a regular MLA," Mary Akpalialuk, the women's co-ordinator with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, told CBC News on Friday.

"It disgusts me when [an] offender like that becomes a minister."

Akpalialuk said she is tired of seeing some male MLAs out drinking and womanizing in Iqaluit, when they are supposed to be role models.

Okalik defended his newest minister, saying it's a free society and Barnabas deserves another chance.

"Mr. Barnabas has served his time for the crime and also been elected by his constituents, who believe that he had cleaned up his act," Okalik said.


1 comment:

Way Way Up said...

News flash for Premier Okalik - I am not a constituent who voted for Barnabas nor do I care if he has cleaned up his act. The man committed a sex crime. Period. End of story.

ps - Good luck on October 27. With remarks like you have made on this issue, you may have trouble being employed come the election.