Liberal Pat Angnakak doesn’t want Nunavut to start from scratch after election

Former MLA has housing, elders, cheaper food and mental health on her priority list

Pat Angnakak, the Liberal party’s candidate visited Pond Inlet, before landing in Rankin Inlet this week to hear from community members and elders. (Photo courtesy of Michael Milech)

By Mélanie Ritchot

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.

Pat Angnakak, one of three women running to fill Nunavut’s seat in Parliament, says the Liberal government accomplished much for Nunavummiut, but could do more with a representative from the territory.

“We haven’t had really good representation at the table for quite some time now,” she said in a phone interview from Rankin Inlet.

Even so, Angnakak said the Liberals have had their eye on Nunavut, giving money for housing, infrastructure such as a deepsea port in Qikiqtarjuaq, and mental health supports.

“We do need more money and that’s where my voice can come in, [but] we don’t want to start from the beginning again with another government,” she said.

On the campaign trail, she said the biggest concern she’s heard has been housing.

“It’s not only [the thousands] more units needed, but many of the units people are already in need so much work and repair.”

Securing more federal funding to address that crisis would be on top of her priority list, she said.

Angnakak also points to elder care, an issue she says is “near and dear” to her heart.

“My own mother has been sent down south because of her dementia, as well as many, many others,” said Angnakak.

Mental health supports also need to be expanded in the territory, she says, so fewer people end up in the justice system by default.

“[People] might have addictions or other mental health issues that have not been addressed,” she said.

Angnakak said she would also like to reduce food prices. Liberals are looking at overhauling the Nutrition North program so savings benefit customers, not just retailers, she said.

“I really don’t think it’s reaching the people we’re supposed to be reaching,” she said. “Those subsidies aren’t always getting through.”

After growing up in Cape Dorset and Pangnirtung, Angnakak moved to Iqaluit in 1980 and worked with various Inuit organizations.

Angnakak — a 58-year-old mother of three and grandmother of four — was first elected to the territorial legislature in 2013.

She joined cabinet in 2017 and served as health minister and later as housing minister until 2018, when Premier Joe Savikataaq stripped her of her portfolios for breaking cabinet confidentiality by speaking in the legislature about draft housing policies. Angnakak maintained she was under the impression she could share that information with MLAs.

She later quit cabinet and returned to being a regular MLA. She resigned as MLA in August to run for MP.

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(26) Comments:

  1. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    “We haven’t had really good representation at the table for quite some time now,” she said in a phone interview from Rankin Inlet.

    Gee, Pat, on TV you spoke highly of the outgoing MP, what’s up with the aboutface?

    “It’s not only [the thousands] more units needed, but many of the units people are already in need so much work and repair.”

    Good thing the outgoing MP did a housing tour and brought the situation to the national forefront like no one else before. If you get elected, that would be quite helpful as you work on the housing file. Seems like we may have had some good representation after all.

    • Posted by Redundant on

      I think you mean “Good thing the outgoing MP did a housing tour and brought the situation to the national forefront like [the Senate did] before”.
      Seriously, there was a committee that spent five months studying the North’s housing crisis, visiting overcrowded homes in Igloolik, Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq in Nunavut and Kuujjuaq and Inukjuak in Quebec. They issued a report in March 2017.
      Except their report was more extensive, including 14 recommendations and estimated price tags. Qaqqaq’s report basically just said, “look, this is bad”.

      • Posted by M Center on

        But yet the formal address of the States of Housing needed higher level Elected Official to at least do the right thing and visit, tour, meet and officially voice the dire needs has met the merit of “Voicing the Housing Needs” Infrastructures to be implemented by Federal Government so it wasn’t a wasted effort.

        To simply label it as a useless effort decreases the level of the real need to actually voice it at that Federal Government Level was formally needed. No other MP ever did a Arctic Tour to view, visit or address the actuality of housing issues crises whatsoever. Why people belittle that don’t see the requirement to put something Officially On The Table is sadly understandable as at times official business requires steps to build up to meet the needs and address needs in question.

        • Posted by So Much Theatre on

          Did Mumilaaq even meet with members of the local housing associations? I recall there was some talk in the comments at the time that she basically ignored them.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      trait of a sore looser, but I guess liberal party is ur issue here, don’t see anything this that candidate, nothing like they say zil…but be it know to you JT has done more damage to Canada in the past 100 years of PMs of Canada, how many homes and families do u think he broke? Families in need spending what is of little cash on drugs and booze…and hard stuff as well, no protection for sex trade workers who have to work in time of covid and blue collar workers who live from pay check to pay check…Lori good luck and Pat you as will, both very caring candidates… as for the third who crawl out of the wood works, I hope Lib candidate come in distance third but who knows, I only have one X to throw around. Just for the record; “kusiniqpamii iliniasimajunga”..who care? not old joe. There’s people persons and there are people persons, none applied to this candidate, just cold manufactured person for this election time frame.

  2. Posted by Perfect LIberal Candidate on

    Trudeau has been making election promises for many years. Vote for me and you will get housing, infrastructure, daycare (fill in the bpank).

    Liberals have been the Government for many years and there has been no change – only more of the same: promises, apologies and promises.

    For the past 8 years Pat has talked about the same priorities and run on the same platform: elders, housing and her own family.

    She was the Minister of Health and the Minister for Nunavut Housing, and an MLA for 8 years. What did she ever do to make change? There has been no result, no cooperation, no projects built – only talk and promises.

    Pat is the perfect Liberal candidate.

    • Posted by Curious on

      Just curious. With Pat mentioning Elders and her own family does this mean she will also work to help non Inuit Elders and find facility solutions within Nunavut for them as well? This could be a make or break deal on my vote. I am getting old.

      • Posted by Perfect Liberal on

        Maybe judge her by her record as an MLA.

        Expecting her to deliver on her platform would be a fond hope. Any platform. Eight years is long enough – by now she should have delivered on *something*

      • Posted by Angela on

        Pat is most certainly working for ALL PEOPLE- those living in Nunavut who require an elders facility would qualify.

        Ask yourself- how many Caucasian remain in the north to get to this stage??

        There are not many who have dedicated their lives to work in Nunavut like Pat’s parents. Now her mother needs the Nunavut elders facility in the south. Like all those from NU who have dementia.

        Pat’s VOICE IS NEEDED in Ottawa!

    • Posted by Candace on

      I am no fan of the Liberals, but this is just not accurate. Liberal government funding has made the imminent construction of an addictions treatment centre possible, as well as 2 deep-sea ports, the new correctional facility…etc…The Liberals have poured literally hundreds of millions of dollars into Nunavut in the last 6 years.

      • Posted by Facts and details please. on

        Please indicate your source for your understanding that the Liberals are responsible for two deep sea ports that were approved by the Harper government and our then MP Leona Aglukkaq.

  3. Posted by CrazyEskimo on

    Liberals like to campaign like New Democrats. Even the Conservative candidate sounds like a New Democrat.

    But the Liberals had 6 years to invest in housing, mental health, and elder care. They had 6 years to make a difference in Nunavut.

    They gave Nunavut $25 Million for Housing in the 2020 budget. That’s less than the Federal Government spends on paperclips in a year.

    Unless a Housing Announcement for Nunavut has the word “Billion” in it, they’re just wasting our time.

    Trudeau came up here and announced $360 Million for Housing, spread across Inuit Nunagat, over 10 years. That’s less than $20M/years for Nunavut.

    If you could have fought for Housing, maybe a good time was before Trudeau made that announcement.

    • Posted by Biased Coverage? on

      I’m actually quite curious what the Conservative candidate thinks about the issues, but the Nunatsiaq News seems reluctant to run any stories on her campaign. We’ve had a few stories each for the Liberal and NDP candidates. When are you going to run a story on Laura Mackenzie, NN?

  4. Posted by p***ed off on

    Let’s be clear: by calling an entirely unnecessary early election, Trudeau has hurt Indigenous Canadians most of all. I’m no fan of the Liberals, but I’m willing to admit that things had been moving on a positive direction for Indigenous peoples. Long overdue policy changes, increased funding, etc. Trudeau could have governed for two more years, with NDP support, and delivered on the promises he had made. But no, he had to gamble on getting a majority government. And now we could end up with a Conservative government – and Conservatives are never good news for Indigenous peoples. The NDP’s Lori Idlout is the least bad choice that Nunavummiut can make on election day – we need MPs who will hold the Liberals’ (or the Conservative’s) feet to the fire for commitments made. Pat Angnakak would be a non-entity in the House of Commons, and would not be able to speak up for her constituents when the Liberals once again fail to deliver on the promises they made to get elected.

    • Posted by Pork Pie on

      I agree with you fully on the pointlessness of this election, it is both a vanity project and needless gamble motivated entirely by our PM’s desire to consolidate power. That he is willing to put the public at risk to achieve this is a fact we all need to be very clear minded about. Frankly, the Governor General should have refused his request to dissolve Parliament.

      On the other hand I like Pat and for me she is a very strong choice, yet one I can not in good conscience make.

    • Posted by Unnecessary on

      I don’t disagree, but this election was called because things are about olto get bleak. Inflation nation. Try to buy a house, truck or materials and you know, heck can’t even eat under $10 at fast food in the south. It will get worse, which is why they called the election now.

  5. Posted by Nath on

    I wonder what Pat’s position is on the liberal carbon tax scheme. By 2030, we will be paying an extra ~50 cents per litre for diesel and gasoline in a place with no alternatives. For those who find home ownership difficult due to the high expense, it will get a lot worse with the liberal agenda. Also, given that the liberals have outlawed gasoline vehicles by 2035 – and electric vehicles will not work in Nunavut’s extreme cold (even if if they did, they would be charged with electricity generated from diesel) – it appears the liberals believe that Nunavut should be like Cuba; come 2060 we will all be driving vehicles at least 25 years old. For a PM who says that to know Canada one must know Nunavut first, he clearly doesn’t know very much about Nunavut.

    I don’t mean to take away from Pat – I’m sure she could do ok based her political experience, but it would be difficult for anyone with their wits to vote for a another liberal government with such harmful policies toward remote and northern communities (and the country in general).

    • Posted by Carbon Levy on

      All 3 parties support a carbon levy so you won’t be escaping that change no matter who you vote for.

      • Posted by Nath on

        Yes in general they do, but it is the liberals with the escalation beyond the planned 12-14 cents per litre to nearly 50 cents per litre by 2030 with no exemptions for northern and remote communities. The conservatives would never support that level of escalation.

  6. Posted by Jack on

    I know Pat. She is a decent caring person. The only party with any recent federal governing experience are the Liberals. I am voting Liberal. This is no time to test drive a new unproven political party. Just my opinion.

  7. Posted by Frodo’s parka on

    Not much to get excited about this election. My hope is a minority government and as possibility of leadership change. Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, it’s obvious that the Liberals are corrupt and don’t follow through on their promises. Our prime minister has more ethics violations than all other prime minister’s combined. Then there’s flip-flop O’Toole: will do or say anything to get that vote. I don’t trust either of them. Oh, and Mr. Singh, who’s promises would finish the job of bankrupting our country. Not much to get excited about.

  8. Posted by Voter on

    Liberals will win the elections, the question is it going to be a minority or a majority win for the Liberals.
    I am voting Pat as we need a MP with the winning team, easy access to the PM and the Ministers.
    Not someone who will be looking for a fight.
    X Pat

    • Posted by monty sling on

      “easy Access to JT”? Farce if you ever have read one, JT is cold calculated man for himself nothing else nothing more. One does not relive legacy, you have to have in you which he ain’t. NDP starting and sounds like all around humanitarian club to me, they had pretty good leaders in the pass; Tommy Douglas and the like. Does JT really care? Look what’s he is putting Canadians through, Covid infested voting halls just because he thinks its good time to bat for majority government? I mean is it that little too self-centered?

  9. Posted by Truestory on

    I think it’s great to see new faces. Same old B.S. promises.

  10. Posted by Nuna on

    It’s time for a fresh start but looks like the NDP still have one from the old boys club working with Lori. People already made their decision on you in past elections jack.

  11. Posted by Ian on

    Polls today liberal minority,Ndp,government what a waste another election in 2 years

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