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Russell refuses to take responsibility: NG president

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As President of Nunatsiavut I feel compelled to respond to a comment made by Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Keith Russell in your online article ‘People understand I got the fire in my belly’, dated August 13, 2015.

Mr. Russell, a former member of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, claims he was dismissed from the Nunatsiavut Executive Council in February 2011 because he “supported the elders and the low-income people of Hopedale by bringing a crisis situation to light with (the Nunatsiavut Government) and I guess there was some political splash-back for that.”

I think it is important to set the record straight. Mr. Russell was dismissed because he was not fulfilling his duties as the Minister of Health and Social Development. It is incumbent on all Ministers to be actively involved on a regular basis with their respective departments, and to work with other members of the Executive Council to ensure the Nunatsiavut Government functions efficiently and effectively. By his own admission, Mr. Russell agreed that he was not actively involved in the functions and operations of the Department of Health and Social Development, and had very little to no contact with senior officials.

Even to this day, Mr. Russell continues to take no responsibility for being relieved of his duties, and maintains that the decision to remove him from the Nunatsiavut Executive Council was politically-motivated. That is simply not true, and he knows it.

As a reputable government we expect all Ministers to act accordingly and to carry out their duties with dignity and respect. The decision to remove Mr. Russell of his duties was not an easy one to make, but it was the responsible and necessary thing to do in order to maintain the credibility of the Nunatsiavut Government and to ensure it functions effectively.

Mr. Russell’s political and personal actions and comments speak for themselves, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when he tries to gain political brownie points on the backs of our elders and those who find it very difficult to make ends meet.

 

Sincerely,

Sarah Leo, President

Nunatsiavit Government

Mr. Russell, a former member of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, claims he was dismissed from the Nunatsiavut Executive Council in February 2011 because he “supported the elders and the low-income people of Hopedale by bringing a crisis situation to light with (the Nunatsiavut Government) and I guess there was some political splash-back for that.”

I think it is important to set the record straight. Mr. Russell was dismissed because he was not fulfilling his duties as the Minister of Health and Social Development. It is incumbent on all Ministers to be actively involved on a regular basis with their respective departments, and to work with other members of the Executive Council to ensure the Nunatsiavut Government functions efficiently and effectively. By his own admission, Mr. Russell agreed that he was not actively involved in the functions and operations of the Department of Health and Social Development, and had very little to no contact with senior officials.

Even to this day, Mr. Russell continues to take no responsibility for being relieved of his duties, and maintains that the decision to remove him from the Nunatsiavut Executive Council was politically-motivated. That is simply not true, and he knows it.

As a reputable government we expect all Ministers to act accordingly and to carry out their duties with dignity and respect. The decision to remove Mr. Russell of his duties was not an easy one to make, but it was the responsible and necessary thing to do in order to maintain the credibility of the Nunatsiavut Government and to ensure it functions effectively.

Mr. Russell’s political and personal actions and comments speak for themselves, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when he tries to gain political brownie points on the backs of our elders and those who find it very difficult to make ends meet.

 

Sincerely,

Sarah Leo, President

Nunatsiavit Government

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