The Canadian Region

Article 11 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

The Canadian Region

New Nunavut Speaker

Aggu MLA Paul Quassa, a former premier of Nunavut, was elected Speaker of the territory’s assembly on February 26 in a secret ballot over MLA Tony Akoak. Former Speaker Simeon Mikkungwak had resigned from the position one day earlier citing personal reasons.

Speaker Quassa called the election “a great moment for me and my family and for Nunavummiut because it’s an honour to be a Speaker of the House, wherever we are, in any jurisdiction.”

Prior to entering territorial politics, Speaker Quassa worked as a land claims negotiator, held senior positions in several media organizations, and served as mayor of Igloolik and president of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities.

First elected to the Assembly in 2013, he served as Education Minister, Government House Leader, and Minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College. Re-elected in 2017, he was selected premier by his fellow MLAs under the territory’s consensus system. His tenure as premier ended after losing a vote of confidence in 2018.

Speaker Quassa explained that his past experiences in the executive gave him a good understanding and appreciation of the role of the assembly. “I know the process,” he said. “I think it’s very important for Nunavummiut to get as much [as they can] out of our legislative assembly.”

Paul and Elisapee Quassa have six children. Outside of work, he enjoys hunting, fishing and music.