Canadian provincial cabinet member ousted for pro-life Facebook post
CORAL HARBOUR, Nunavut, October 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The premier of the Canadian province of Nunavut stripped a cabinet member of his portfolios this week for making a comment on Facebook that referenced Black Lives Matter and opposed abortion.
In his post, Patterk Netser had stated: “All lives matter.”
“Just thinking out loud,” he wrote. “I wonder how many Black ladies go through abortion and at what stage of the gestation? Are they not lives too?”
Now, Netser, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Aivilik, is no longer the minister responsible for Arctic College and the Nunavut Housing Corporation, CBC reported.
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq announced his decision in a statement Thursday, saying he had been made aware of the MLA’s “unacceptable social media post.”
“There can be no tolerance for disrespectful, hurtful remarks or actions, and we must uphold our government’s principles and values,” he said.
Savikataaq gave Netser the option to resign or lose his portfolios, a spokesperson from the premier’s office told CBC.
However, Netser was clear in interviews with local media as well as the CBC that he does not regret his post and that he has a Charter right to express his views.
A Christian, Netser was also adamant that he did not intend to target any group, but was expressing deeply held convictions on the sanctity of human life.
Netser clarified his post in a statement to Nunatsiaq News.
“As a member of a group of people who survived attempted genocide, my comments were an attempt to highlight the extent to which systemic racism exists by highlighting the plight of the black unborn baby who statistically has been targeted in the womb,” he wrote.
“As someone who is pro-life, I felt I needed to highlight this specific issue that is dear to my heart and asked questions why these lives are less valued than other unborn babies,” Netser continued.
“My comments were not aimed at any movement for equality nor targeting black women who I believe are also victims of a system that devalues them, even in the womb.”
Netser believes the premier overreacted, he told Nunavut News.
“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.
“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,” Netser added.
“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.”
The CBC quoted Stephanie Bernard, president of the Nunavut’s Black History Society and Black Lives Matter Committee, stating that her reaction to the post was “extreme horror.” Her group lauded the premier’s action in a statement.
Sileema Angoyuak, president of Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council, was also “enraged” by Netser’s Facebook post.
But Netser reiterated to Canada’s state broadcaster that he had a right to express his beliefs. “It’s unfortunate. People get offended, people lash out at me because I have this point of view.... People are so insecure these days, you have to have duct tape over your mouth,” he said.
Although the premier can remove portfolios, only MLAs have the power to eject a colleague from the cabinet, Nunatsiaq News pointed out.
Savikataaq intends to bring up the matter at the MLA caucus on October 21 “for consideration around appropriate next steps as a consensus government,” the premier said.
“I’ll make my case before the house and let them decide my fate. There’s always two sides to every story,” Netser told Nunatsiaq News.
Whatever the decision, he won’t sacrifice his morals, he said.
“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.”
Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s largest pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, tweeted its support for Netser and urged pro-life Canadians to support him.
We stand with prolife Nunavut MLA Patterk Netser!— Campaign Life Coalition (@CampaignLife) October 8, 2020
Premier @JSavikataaq was wrong to strip Netser of his Cabinet duties for tweeting that unborn baby lives matter. It's a form of discrimination again his Christian #prolife beliefs. #Nupoli #cdnpoli /1 https://t.co/wYh9RezQKH
The MLA “should be praised for defending the sanctity of human life. It’s appalling that the premier is punishing him for defending the human rights of innocent, black children, whose lives are being snuffed out by abortion,” Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life director of political operations, told LifeSiteNews.
“It appears Premier Savikataaq has never heard of free speech before, and doesn’t realize that elected officials are not exempt from this constitutional right,” he said.
“All pro-lifers should stand behind this pro-life Nunavut MLA and contact the premier to demand that he immediately restore Netser’s cabinet roles and apologize for this discrimination against his moral and religious beliefs on the matter of abortion,” added Fonseca.
“We cannot allow the left to continue cancelling pro-life political voices. This mob madness and cancel culture must stop.”
To respectfully express your views, contact:
Premier Joe Savikataaq
P.O. Box 2410
Email: [email protected]
To express your support, contact:
MLA Patterk Netser
Coral Harbour, NU
Phone: (867) 925-9890
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (867) 975-5070
Email: [email protected]