IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut residents are expecting to find out if they’ll have a new premier after a scheduled non-confidence vote in the legislature today.
If the vote is successful, it will remove Premier Paul Quassa less than a year after he was chosen to lead the territory.
Under Nunavut’s consensus government, there are no political parties and members of the legislature choose the premier from among their number.
John Main, who represents the community of Arviat, has said he will introduce the non-confidence motion and is sure of its success. He has been unwilling to discuss the reasons for the motion.
Main is chairman of the regular members caucus, which consists of all members of the legislature who aren’t in cabinet. He said the motion was widely discussed in that caucus, which functions as a kind of opposition.
A simple majority of the legislature’s 22 members would be enough to bring Quassa down. There are 13 regular members.
Legislature clerk John Quirke said if Quassa is dismissed, a new premier could be in place as early as Friday morning.
Quassa would retain his seat.
New Nunavut premiers traditionally huddle with their colleagues at the start of their first session to determine the government’s priorities for its term in office. It’s not clear if a replacement premier would reset those priorities.
If the motion succeeds, it would be the first time a sitting premier has been removed in Nunavut’s 19-year history.
Quassa was the education minister in the last Nunavut government and oversaw an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to modernize territorial legislation to promote fully bilingual students.
— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter