Pujjuut Kusugak, son of the late Jose Kusugak, is the latest to be appointed to senior management in another round of appointments by Premier Paul Quassa.
Kusugak takes on the position of deputy minister of Education effective Dec. 8, while Udloriak (Udlu) Hanson will tackle the role of deputy minister of Economic Development and Transportation (EDT).
Additionally, Sheila Kolola is the new Nunavut Arctic College president. Kolola takes over from Joe Adla Kunuk, who joined Quassa at the top as his principal secretary in November.
“These appointments will help achieve the vision and direction of our new government. I am excited for these leaders to shape critical programs and services, and bring new insight and experience to their respective departments and agencies,” stated Quassa.
“I also extend many thanks to those who acted in the positions of deputy head during this transitionary period. Your work is truly valued and I am confident you will continue to provide vital guidance and support moving forward.
Quassa was referring to John MacDonald and Bernie MacIsaac, who acted as deputy ministers at Education and EDT for a couple of weeks as the shifting and dismissing took place after Quassa’s selection as as premier.
Kusugak’s appointment was widely hailed on social media as a welcome change.
The former school teacher at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet brings a wide range of experience. Once the director of Language and Cultural Development with the Kivalliq Inuit Association, Kusugak also served a hamlet councillor and as mayor for two years in Rankin.
Since 2015, he worked for Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. as the company’s senior coordinator for community affairs.
The new deputy minister will have his work cut out for him, as Quassa has made it clear the Education Act must be reformed.
In his biography for the 2017 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, Kusugak states he is passionate about Inuktitut language and education.
At a September press conference, accompanying Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) president Aluki Kotierk in her impassioned rebuke of the Government of Nunavut’s failure to implement a representative government workforce, Kusugak spoke of the need to turn hope into active participation.
Most recently Hanson occupied the position of chief operating officer for the department of corporate services at NTI, and she previously served as special advisor to Mary Simon when she was president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Other work experience includes senior policy liaison at NTI and a chief negotiator on devolution.