Federal election shakeup: New Democrats take Nunavut, Bloc secures Nunavik

Nunavut’s next MP is a 25-year-old political newcomer who beat a former federal cabinet minister

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, who will serve as Nunavut’s next MP after winning the territory’s riding last night, is seen here speaking to supporters at the launch of her campaign in Iqaluit on Sept. 12. (Photo courtesy of the NDP)

By Nunatsiaq News

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.)

The New Democratic Party’s Mumilaaq Qaqqaq is Nunavut’s new member of Parliament.

Qaqqaq, a 25-year-old political newcomer, ended up winning the territory’s riding with a healthy lead of 3,717 votes, or 41.2 per cent of the vote, according to the latest results from Elections Canada.

The Liberals’ Megan Pizzo-Lyall placed next, with 2,798 votes, or 31 per cent.

The Conservatives’ Leona Aglukkaq, a political veteran and former federal cabinet minister, was next with 2,327 votes, or 25.8 per cent.

And the Greens’ Douglas Roy won 189 votes, or 2.1 per cent.

These numbers aren’t final: as of 9 a.m. this morning, Elections Canada’s website still didn’t have reports from four of the territory’s 59 polls. But Qaqqaq’s lead is big enough that her victory is secure.

Voter turnout in the territory is estimated to have been 48.38 per cent, or 9,031 of 18,665 registered voters. That doesn’t include voters who registered on election day.


Posted by Mumilaaq Qaqqaq on Monday, October 21, 2019

Qaqqaq hails from Baker Lake and most recently worked as an Inuit employment officer with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. She ran her campaign on promising youthful change.

“I’d like to thank all of my supporters tonight,” she wrote on Facebook. “This has been an amazing journey and now we are here! To Megan Pizzo-Lyall and Leona Aglukkaq, you both ran great campaigns and I thank you for putting your name out there, it takes a lot of courage to do that.

“It was an honour to run for this seat against two strong Inuit women. Thanks to everyone who supported me through this from voters, to volunteers, to my friends and family. I’m looking forward to getting to work in Ottawa. Mat’na.”

As results came in on election night, Aaron Watson, who worked on Qaqqaq’s campaign, said their team had worked hard to encourage young Nunavummiut to get out and vote.

“We really worked on getting the youth vote out. We knew that the NDP and Jagmeet were into getting the youth vote out and taking the lead on youth issues,” he said.

“Lately climate and housing have been major issues all over Canada but especially in Nunavut. So having a strong candidate like Mumilaaq really augmented that momentum,” he added.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Aglukkaq thanked her family and the volunteers who worked on her campaign.

“I’d like to send my congratulations to Mumilaaq,” she said. “Nunavummiut have spoken and I know that you’ll do your best for your territory, serving with passion and heart.”

On election night, Aglukkaq had gathered at the Grind and Brew café in Iqaluit with a small group of supporters to watch the results come in.

The room was mostly quiet, with Aglukkaq looking intently at the television screen while Liberals slowly began to rack up seats in the Atlantic provinces.

Supporters snacked on country food while some paced around the small café, looking at their cell phones.

Faces dropped when it was announced the Liberals would make up the next government, but Aglukkaq was still smiling as the room waited to hear what would happen in Nunavut.

As it became more obvious that Aglukkaq may not win the seat, supporters exchanged hugs.

Pizzo-Lyall, who spent election night in her home town of Rankin Inlet, said in a statement she offered her congratulations to Qaqqaq on her victory and to Aglukkaq on a hard-fought campaign.

“It was truly a pleasure to run with these women, and, although I’m disappointed it won’t be me, I’m proud that an Inuk woman will be sitting in the House of Commons.

“I also want to say thank you to all of the volunteers and supporters from all teams. Our democracy is better for your efforts.”

The Bloc wins back Nunavik

Sylvie Bérubé with the Bloc Québécois will represent the federal riding that includes Nunavik.

The Bloc Québécois’ Sylvie Bérubé won the riding that encompasses Nunavik with 10,904 votes, or 37.7 per cent of the vote.

Isabelle Bergeron with the Liberals placed next, with 8,125 votes, or 28.1 per cent.

The Conservatives’ Martin Ferron was next, with 4,792 votes, or 16.6 per cent.

The NDP’s Jacline Rouleau received 3,446 votes, or 11.9 per cent.

The Green Party’s Kiara Cabana-Whiteley received 1,006 votes, or 3.5 per cent.

The People’s Party’s Guillaume Lanouette received 341 votes, or 1.2 per cent.

And the Radical Marijuana Party’s Daniel Simon received 311 votes, or 1.1 per cent.

These numbers, from 178 of 197 polls, are also not final.

Voter turnout in the riding is estimated to have been 28,925 of 64,651 registered voters, or 44.74 per cent.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Very glad to read it.

  2. Posted by Sled dog on

    Good win for this young lady. Still, Canada seems to have rejected the socialist greens and NDP overall.

    • Posted by INUK VOTER on


    • Posted by Tony on

      The Greens are not a socialist party.

      In Quebec the socialist Bloc took seats from the socialist NDP. Basically a repeat of the 2015 when the NDP replaced the Bloc as the dominant opposition coming out of Quebec

      So Canadians voted in 56 socialist candidates, which is not far off how many socialists were elected in 2015.

  3. Posted by Ms. Tupak on

    It takes a lot of guts to run in any political job. Some get hurt by lies and bitterness but they keep going and trying. I applaud the 3 woman. I wish the two would think about ITK president and Pauktutit President jobs. Those two positions need change. They only exist on Facebook.

  4. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    congrats to Ms Qaqqaq!

    what a wonderful campaign you ran and be proud of your accomplishment, although you are young, this is exactly what we need at this time. normally when the voice of our MP differs from those in power, we can get lost in the fray of Ottawa. But we have a Liberal Minority Government who will have to work with the NDP and I know that you will be our voice.

    it takes guts to run and yes it did get a little tense near the end with Leona and Megan flinging the most tundra, but look how Mumilaaq kept your head high and ran on your voice and your ideals.

    we are proud of you.

  5. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    Congratulations to Nunavut MP candidate, I’m more than happy a Liberal didn’t get in again. Conservative wishing you all the best!

    Wishing warmest greetings to Nunavut NDP in the House of Commons!

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    49% voter turnout is absolutely terrible! I wonder what is keeping Nunavummiut away from the polls? Just remember that you get the government you vote for … unless you don’t vote and then you get somebody else’s government and you lose the right to complain about it. Congrats to Ms. Qaqqaq…well done!

  7. Posted by Disgruntled on

    What a trainwreck for Nunavut. We had the chance to elect an experienced, proven, educated, and incredibly accomplished MP in Leona Aglukkaq, and instead, we got this 25 year old child with zero life experience, zero skills, and zero accomplishments. For shame, Nunavut. Vote with your head, not your desire for free stuff!

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      Wow you really are disgruntled, and your arguments don’t make a whole lot of sense.
      Ms. Qaqqaq has 25 years of life experience. Of course we all know that each person learns at different rates, and that they may have different life experiences at different times. That she is young is not actually her fault!
      As for zero skills that is not what I have heard or seen. As an MP she will have to be able to lead, to follow, to compromise, to be firm. That is going to take a lot of skill. Now maybe it’s the confidence of youth that she thinks that she can do it, kudos to her if she feels that way. She is going to need all the confidence that she can get.
      As for a desire for “free stuff”, yes some people may feel that way but not most. Inuit society has undergone a huge change in the last 100 years. Customs along with societal and personal interactions usually take a lot longer to change. Add in a complete upheaval in the economics of the society and you will realize that it is very difficult for the average person in Nunavut to cope.
      I’ve said this before, Canada is actually a very rich country. We can do better for many segments of our population, especially the aboriginal communities.

    • Posted by Simmer Down on

      So we’re supposed to understand ideas to address the housing crisis, food insecurity, and systemic racism as “free stuff”? That’s what I voted to address, so I think you’re way off here.

    • Posted by iWonder on

      It’s might not be easy to accept, but Leona was really not qualified for the roles she filled in Cabinet, and everyone in Ottawa knew it. Still she was easily controlled by the PMO, and this was part of her utility. Her identity was also useful, as it made for good optics for the conservatives who has often been criticized for not promoting women or minorities.
      That said, experience as in ‘time in’ doesn’t necessarily signify any particular level of aptitude or competence.
      As the Conservatives are now an opposition party Leona would not be positioned to serve her constituents anyway. Theoretically NDP could play a more pivotal roll as they have the seats to maintain and preserve the Liberal minority.
      As for “free stuff”, is that some term of abuse or bias against robust social services and government investments in the welfare of citizens? Would love to hear more.

  8. Posted by Nobody on

    I’m soo glad that mumilaaq won, we are finally being heard about overcrowded housings, it’s been years! I wonder if she’ll also talk about food prices?

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