Conservative Laura MacKenzie puts focus on mental health, housing

GN manager says she understands the struggles of Nunavut residents

Laura MacKenzie, who previously worked as the director of business development with the Government of Nunavut, is running as the Conservative candidate for Nunavut in the federal election. (Photo courtesy of Laura MacKenzie’s campaign website)

By David Lochead

This week, Nunatsiaq News is publishing profiles of the candidates in the Sept. 20 federal election. There are three women running to represent Nunavut in Parliament: Liberal Pat Angnakak, the NDP’s Lori Idlout and Conservative Laura MacKenzie.

Laura MacKenzie is running as the Conservative candidate for Nunavut in the federal election.

She has spent more than 15 years as a civil servant, most recently as the Government of Nunavut’s director of business development.

Last year, MacKenzie added a postgraduate degree to her name with a master of arts in leadership from Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C.

She also helped bring the inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to Rankin Inlet in 2018, where she also gave testimony.

MacKenzie did not respond to repeated interview requests from Nunatsiaq News for this article. This profile is based on her platform, what she has said at public campaign events and past interviews with MacKenzie and her campaign team.

As a bilingual Inuk mother and grandmother from Rankin Inlet, MacKenzie has strong ties to Nunavut. Those ties carry over to using Inuit traditional knowledge principles of working collectively if she is elected, according to her campaign team.

In her opening campaign speech, MacKenzie said she chose to run for the Conservatives because the party’s approach blends in the principles of Inuit traditional knowledge, such as serving the common good, resourcefulness and problem solving.

One problem MacKenzie wants to address is mental health in Nunavut. To address these struggles, her campaign team said she wants to focus on providing trauma therapy by counsellors who are from the communities they serve.

“We need culturally sensitive counsellors available, to provide 24/7 support to those that are struggling,” MacKenzie said in August while speaking to Nunatsiaq News about promises the parties made ahead of the election.

Another election priority for MacKenzie is housing. She believes Nunavut needs 3,000 units to meet today’s demand.

“We need stable, long term, predictable funding,” she told Nunatsiaq News in August.

To get that funding, MacKenzie emphasizes working collectively with Inuit organizations, government and the private sector.

Particularly, MacKenzie said she wants Nunavummiut to be trained to build houses in their own communities.

Housing ties into another election priority, which is serving elders in Nunavut. MacKenzie said she wants to prevent elders from having to move down south for extended care at the cost of being separated from their families.

“It’s mental anguish, so no human should go through that,” MacKenzie told Nunatsiaq News in August.

MacKenzie has been on the campaign trail. She has visited communities such as Cambridge Bay, Kinngait and Clyde River, according to her Facebook page.

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(30) Comments:

  1. Posted by Interesting on

    “MacKenzie did not respond to repeated interview requests from Nunatsiaq News for this article.”

    I’m wondering why?
    Anyways, Laura is good but I cannot throw my support behind the conservative party.

  2. Posted by Reality on

    Maybe she was in communities that had no or the same internet as Iqaluit. I think ensuring Canadians have access to good internet is part of the Conservative platform.
    Reality is where you like it or not O’Toole will come out on top and for Nunavut if we had a NDP or Liberal candidate Nunavut gets nothing. As Trudeau has said throughout the campaign “If reelected” in which he promises to give the shirt of his back as he did 6 years ago and where did that get us.
    When you vote think about who the party will be in Ottawa. Follow the polls and make a wise decision. Or we get another 4 years of scraps.

  3. Posted by Mental health tories on

    Since when did the conservatives get so interested in mental health? Not just the Nunavut candidate but it seems to be a trend nationwide starying eith O’toole.

    Remember folks: this is the party with a voting base who think the people who have mental ill and commit crimes should be locked up and throw away the key.

    It seems like they got interested in mental health because so many of their base become raving mad when you utter the name “justin”. Or maybe it was all the rich white guys who were locked up at home during the pandemic and had to spend too much time alone with their thoughts.

    Anyway, Laura you seem like a good person, but the mental health agenda your party is pushing is laughable.

    • Posted by Red on

      Mental health is important, but it’s virtue signalling used by conservatives to avoid dealing with the issues causing mental health crises in the first place, and to shift blame to individuals and away from the end-stage capitalism that is collapsing our society.

      People who have no homes, food insecurity, job insecurity, dread from climate change, fear from the pandemic — yes, they need mental health support, but such support is meaningless unless the underlying issues are tackled by decisive government actions.

  4. Posted by Mea Culpa on

    “MacKenzie did not respond to repeated interview requests from Nunatsiaq News for this article.”

    I owe Nunatsiaq an apology. I’ve been giving you a hard time for not giving any attention to the Conservative candidate, but then I read this.

    “MacKenzie did not respond to repeated interview requests from Nunatsiaq News for this article.”

    My apologies.

    So Laura.. what gives?

  5. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    You need to do these interviews to present yourself as electable. This has been a two horse race since the beginning. In the most meh election in recent memory it’s little wonder most people aren’t interested.

  6. Posted by Dude Town on

    The conservative party ruined food mail for Nunavut introducing the flawed Nutrition North program.
    Nunavut has a very strong arts economy that the conservatives de-funded the last time they were in power.
    No disrespect to Laura, but I can’t support this party. To me, they are certainly the most colonial party.

    • Posted by Dude Town on

      Also this party doesn’t believe in climate change and doesn’t respect inuit knowledge about the environment.

    • Posted by ABC on

      Funny the Cons are talking about mental health, the last time they were in power they cut the aboriginal healing foundation, made cuts to healthcare, no way I will make the mistake of voting Cons agian, right now I am leaning towards Pat, voting for the party that will win according to the poles.

      • Posted by The right move. on

        Thy cut it because it was ineffective and wasteful, good for them.

        • Posted by ABC on

          Cutting healthcare is never good, Cons love to cut social, cultural programs, they talk about making healthcare private, the Tool won’t even respond to questions about his plans on private healthcare.
          We saw how they were for a decade, so many cuts to badly needed programs for Nunavut, installing useless things like nutrition north program that we still are still being affected by it.
          I don’t trust the Cons, too right wing, big Corp, American style party for me.

          • Posted by iWonder on

            Let’s work through the implications of a statement like “cutting healthcare is never good.” The absolutism here suggests no capacity to re-think, re-allocate or correct inefficiencies that are discovered beneath this umbrella (which happens to be very broad, and malleable to definition by those who might benefit by positioning themselves beneath it). It is not difficult to see how unsustainable this is. Or is it? By making all the moving parts within the larger mechanism sacrosanct we make a cumbersome system riddled with redundancies and excessive costs inevitable; ensuring an eventual collapse.

            The Conservatives have never argued to replace public health care with private health care, though this is the cartoonish strawman version of their argument we are repeatedly told by their opponents.

            What the Conservatives do support is the idea that private care be allowed to exist alongside the public system. What, in your mind, is the problem with this?

            By the way, Laura if you are reading this avail yourself to the media as soon as possible, apologize for not responding and put yourself out there. As it stands your unavailability does not make you appear like a serious candidate.

  7. Posted by O’Toole is the worst tool in the shed on

    Why would any indigenous person want a party led by the man who tried to down play the residential schools in a way that misleads people into thinking “it wasn’t that bad”

  8. Posted by Umingmak on

    She’s the only candidate worth voting for. The NDP candidate is, once again, a complete joke, and Angnakak is 100% untrustworthy. I’m mind-blown that the Liberals ever let Angnakak even be considered, never mind making her their candidate.

    • Posted by karboneater on

      Vote with your brains this time Nunavut, especially Kitikmeot communities of Cambridge Bay & Kugluktuk. Rememer the long term care facilities for elders project for Kugluktuk was scrapped by P. Angnakak when she became Minister of Health in order to advance her LTC project. She also voted to delay or prevent a LTC facility for CamBay. These same politicians say they care about elders time and time again during they’re time in elected office, but?? hmmm, was that , all BS? Make your vote count on September 20th.

  9. Posted by Ian on

    Wow finally us keyboard warriors and trolls are awake after the debate last nite,tool won the debate so I sense panic from libs and ndp, and libs realized they should not have called this farce majority up in smoke, and the ndp attacking his friend jt rats turning on each other,and the cons well they did not even count 3 months ago, hit the panic buttons on you rphones, Let’s go 9 days left

  10. Posted by Steve on

    I don’t know why any Inuk would vote for the conservatives, their idiology goes against our very being as Inuit.
    Maybe colonized too much.
    Anyway no thank you again to the Cons.

    • Posted by Intruiged on

      What feature of their ideology specifically is against your very existence?

      • Posted by I Would Guess on

        I am not an Inuk, but I believe that the Conservative’s views on free market capitalism (sink or swim) do not align with traditional Inuit values of working together for a common cause and serving and providing for family and community, among others.

        • Posted by iThink on

          Since we are up for guessing things. I will guess that your understanding of both conservatism and Inuit culture are so superficial that an analysis like this has value only in its service to the simplistic, low information narratives from which it was hatched.

  11. Posted by Voter on

    We tried a Conservative, a Liberal, and a NDP. The only one that completed their term and had any impact on the daily lives on Nunavummiut was the first one on on the list.

  12. Posted by monthy sling on

    Been there done that, no more thank you. Sorry too little too late. Bye bye, Why do most ppl have no originality?

  13. Posted by Name withheld on

    It shouldn’t matter if one is Inuk or not when running for a seat to represent Nunavut!! What matters is being a open book and caring for Nunavut as a whole.


  14. Posted by Manapik on

    John A Mac Donald was a conservative. He wanted to destroy the aboriginals of North America. Why would anyone who considers themselves aboriginal want to represent the Conservatives?. I myself don’t vote for people to rule over me.


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