Patterk Netser says his controversial abortion-related social media post was not targetted at any particular group and Premier Joe Savikataaq was too quick to strip his cabinet portfolios.

“It’s been on my mind for many, many months now. I just thought, well, since everybody’s talking about Black lives matter, then everybody’s life matters. I just put it out there. Don’t these little lives matter too?” says Patterk Netser, whose cabinet portfolios have been removed due to a controversial Facebook post.
photo courtesy of Patterk Netser

His Facebook comments posted on his personal page a couple of days ago stated that all lives matter and opposed abortion. Netser, a practising Christian, says he has a right to express his religious beliefs but he doesn’t try to impose them on others.

“I’m a father of six, grandfather of 19 grandchildren and now I have two great-grandchildren and I have often thought if they had been aborted I would not know their unique personalities,” he said. “It was a post on little babies that get aborted. Do not their lives matter too? I was not picking on any special interest groups or anything. I was just expressing my inherent right as a Canadian citizen on my freedom of beliefs… We all have different points of view. I expect them (the Government of Nunavut) to respect my point of view, but I guess not.

“It’s been on my mind for many, many months now. I just thought, well, since everybody’s talking about Black lives matter, then everybody’s life matters. I just put it out there. Don’t these little lives matter too?” he said.

In removing Netser’s cabinet posts, Savikataaq stated that the Government of Nunavut “values diversity, equality and fairness for all.”

Netser asked, “Where’s my equality? Is it not being fair to my convictions and beliefs on what I stand for? We Inuit have always valued life even before the gospel came to Nunavut, to my people.”

He said he believes Savikataaq is “overreacting” and he values diversity and equality. He said he has two women working on his staff and he “deeply respects them” even though they have different points of view than him.

Whether Savikataaq reverses course or whether his colleagues in the legislative assembly express support for him, Netser said he won’t sacrifice his morals.

“I’m willing to take the judgement on what they give me, but I stand by my convictions and I refuse to compromise my values,” he said.

 

 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

22 replies on “‘Where’s my equality?’; Netser says premier acted too quickly after abortion-related comments”

  1. If free speech is what we are all striving for, opposing views will happen. Disagreements can take place with discussions, and debates and that’s fine.
    When anyone is ostricized, labelled, fired, removed etc., for expressing different views, then it goes in the direction of censorship. Or in other words, political correctness.
    If this is the case, and I for one forsee that it will only get worse; freedom of speech will no longer exist.

    1. This is all true. What is also true is that your supervisor has the authority for disciplining you for bring disrepute on the organization. This is what Netser chose to do.

    2. Netser’s freedom of speech was never curtailed. He chose to disagree with the vast majority of Canadians(and Americans) who support all women’s right to choose, a basic right enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Netser’s right to freedom of expression remains intact. He can say whatever he wants to now as a private citizen. It is merely the *consequences of his actions that he does not understand. He is learning this the hard way.

  2. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. This dinosaur should not be responsible for overseeing higher education anyway. Black lives matter. Women have a right to choose.

  3. If he wasn’t pointing to any group then he shouldn’t have referenced a specific group or movement. Especially during a time of crisis for said group. People would get slammed for referencing the Inuit in a similar manner. There’s a reason the term politically correct exists.

  4. Nunavut Inuit has been good to all new comers, maybe too good. We are the original people of Nunavut and have seen waves of newcomers getting jobs with our government and the new comers hiring their relatives that have no more qualifications than we do, who have no sensitivity to cultural differences .

    It sure would be nice when Inuit are being discriminated, or being displayed with racism by public service would also get defended by our premier, like the new comers do. There have been many complaints made on social media. We all should matter, not just select few. This don’t mean I condone what the cabinet member said on social media. Having said that, our leaders should take a good inventory of instances such as this one on their own people. This whole picture isn’t quite right.

    1. Your misunderstandings are deep. “Our government”? You speak like it is an Inuit government – it is not. It is the Nunavummiut government. I’m sorry that you have experienced cultural insensitivity, but my experience has been that Nunavut Inuit are as bad at cultural sensitivity as anyone else. Certainly the tolerance levels for cultural and ethnic diversity in Nunavut are often low. “Newcomers”? These ‘newcomers’ are Nunavummiut, entitled to the same respect as anyone else.

    2. He went too far with sounding like a white Conservative politico wanting to control womens’ bodies. He then crossed another line with sounding like just like a white supremacist with his unfortunate comments about black women who are probably the most oppressed people in the history of brutal colonizations. No other group comes close to black people and especially black women for being on the receiving end of horrific abuses and basic human rights violations. Good grief! Show this cowardly man where the exit door is!

  5. This is a disgrace! I am not impressed by him. Church and State…. Seperate. Freedom of speech… Ok. However, I believe they were right in letting him go. This would be grounds for dismissal at many organizations as it would be seen as sexism and racism which is… A form of harassment. So we let him run the show… Maybe our Inuk Trump

    1. Great comment Annoyed Inuk!
      I’m not a big fan of Trump, nor am I a fan of Pattik Netser I can see and understand your point. I agree It’s time for him to go.

  6. To enforce ones belief is itself a form inferior attitude.
    God also made us with a mind of our own..no one has a right to determine what we do with our body. There is room for a racism in the halls of our government.

  7. “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”

    — Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father

  8. Birth control doesn’t always works ..ask women who used but still got pregnant . There maybe health related issues also why some can’t carry full term. Goodness you’re one to dictate.

  9. The term empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority.
    All people whether they are ordinary or are in positions of authority need to work at all levels of governing together for the common good.
    Not all people have the tools to have been privileged to have access to be spoon fed and experience a safe environment..nor had the privilege of having connections through thier groups. Its easy to say you need education and stay focused when you don’t have to worry about where you will sleep at the end of the day..or worry when your next meal will be.
    Do not talk like you know about poverty when you have never had to experience any of it.
    Be empathetic..do what you say..feed the hungry house them and cloth and encourage them. My greatest satisfaction in life is when some one genuinely thanked me .

  10. I doubt very much it was Mr. Netser’s religious views on abortion that got him in trouble, but the racist way he expressed them. Google “All lives matter”: it ought to be an obvious truth, but over the last four years it has become a racist slogan brushing aside the Black Lives Matter concerns. Moving from that expression to a mention of Black abortions in particular certainly sounds racist, whatever he may have been thinking.

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