Nunavut MLAs vote to suspend Adamee Komoartok

Pangnirtung MLA faces spousal assault allegations


Nunavut MLAs voted unanimously this afternoon to suspend Adamee Komoartok, the MLA for Pangnirtung, from sittings of the house, its meetings and its caucuses. (See text of motion embedded at the bottom of this page.)

The suspension will remain in effect until members consider during the spring 2011 sitting whether to extend the suspension, end it or take other action.

The motion, presented by Johnny Ningeongan, MLA for Nanulik, and seconded by Fred Schell, MLA for South Baffin, said also that the management and services board of the legislative assembly would “impose” deductions on Komoartok’s salary, recover allowances and the restrict use of his constituency budget and legislative funds during his suspension.

For the recorded vote, all MLAs stood up and sat down as each said they are in favour of the motion.

Moses Aupaluktuq, MLA for Baker Lake, and James Arvaluk, MLA for Pond Inlet, were absent for the vote.

Arvaluk is recovering from heart surgery; Aupaluktuq returned to his home in Baker Lake for personal reasons.

MLAs also voted to remove Aupaluktuq from the chairmanship of the legislative assembly’s standing committee on social wellness.

After the vote, Premier Eva Aariak told Nunatsiaq News that members had spent a long time deliberating that morning over what action to take.

“It was very difficult,” Aariak said, saying that accused persons are to be considered innocent until found guilty.

But the legislature’s zero tolerance towards violence was clear: we do not condone any violent action against anyone, Aariak said.

And on this point, the MLAs were unanimous, she said, mentioning their united support for the vote.

Police charged Komoartok, 57, with assault against his spouse, Penena Mosesee, 53, in connection with a dispute that is alleged to have occurred March 6 in Iqaluit. He is to appear in court in Iqaluit May 6.

Last November, Komoartok, who was elected as the MLA for Pangnirtung in October 2008, apologized in the legislature for his behaviour during a drunken visit to the Larga Baffin patient home in Ottawa.

“Although my behaviour was the result of intoxication, this is no excuse for what I did,” Komoartok said.

Although Komoartok didn’t say exactly what he did during the visit, MLAs also voted, in a motion passed Nov. 27, to censure the Pangnirtung MLA’s behaviour.

Komoartok also resigned as chair of the standing committee on economic development.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and you and all members can be assured that I will accept the judgment of my colleagues in this matter without reservation,” Komoartok said.

Komoartok was not present in the assembly chamber in Iqaluit for that vote, which was also passed unanimously by the other MLAs.

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March 10, 2011: Motion to suspend Adamie Komoartok

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