Nunavut MP seeks allies to amplify calls for more federal housing money

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq visited nearly 100 homes in Nunavut to witness ramifications of housing crisis

Nunavut’s member of Parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, seen in this August 2020 file photo, says she will seek a second term representing the territory in the House of Commons. (Nunatsiaq News file photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavut’s member of Parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, says she hopes to draw national and international attention to Nunavut’s housing crisis as a way of pressuring the federal government to spend more money on addressing the issue.

“I’m holding my breath with this Trudeau government to see if they actually do the right thing,” Qaqqaq told reporters in Iqaluit on Monday, Aug. 31. “I’m not expecting them to and it would be really nice to be proven wrong.”

Qaqqaq recently wrapped up a tour of eight communities in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions.

She visited nearly 100 homes on her tour, she said, and spoke with people living in mould-infested, overcrowded, under-maintained homes.

She saw overcrowding and the social problems that stem from that.

“I’ve seen a lot of stress and a lot of hurt,” Qaqqaq said.

Generally, reports about the status of housing in Nunavut focus on statistics, rather than the stories of those affected, she said.

Her plan is to compile what she has seen and heard into a report. She hopes it will compel people across Canada and around the world to pressure the federal government to allocate more money to the Government of Nunavut, so it has the capacity to build and maintain housing for the people who need it.

“I hope we can count on allies to flood the necessary ministers’ offices with messaging when we put it out,” Qaqqaq said.

Qaqqaq plans to visit most of the communities in the Qikiqtani, including Sanikiluaq, by early next year. She hopes to have a report out on the communities she’s already visited in a month or so.

When asked if she will support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s upcoming throne speech, Qaqqaq said she didn’t know.

With a minority government, Trudeau’s Liberals will need the support of MPs of other parties in order to survive a vote on the throne speech, which is expected to be held in September. Without that support, an election will be held.

If that happens, Qaqqaq said she doesn’t know if she’ll run again.

“It’s not fun to continually have to justify why our lives as Inuit matter,” she said. “I do it because I care and I want people to see you can create [a] difference.”

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(29) Comments:

  1. Posted by Whatabout homeowners on

    Home owners in Nunavut are the forgotten ones. It was made to look so good, being a home owner and in a lot ways, it is better. However, knowing I know now, it’s more of a toss up, which in better, home ownership vs public housing. Home ownership is very expensive and there is not help from and level of government. Monthly power can be over 400 a month, cost of fuel can be 600 to 800 a month during the winter. Land, garbage, water, sewage. Making a lot of money does not mean a lot when you are a home owner, only means you can get by easier. To make it worse, if my furnace, boiler, range, fridge decide to hit the fan, I am out and have to purchase it all. Yes, there are subsidizes and help in place but you’re dealing with a Government and staff where knowing people goes a long way. If someone that makes a decision has something against you, you are out of luck and must cover all the cost. Housing crisis, as bad as it is, a lot if it is due to lack of respect tenants have, or the caused by dependencies.

    • Posted by bob on


    • Posted by Getting out of housing on

      Ive been a home owner for a while in Iqaluit and I’m getting out of it soon. Everything gets more expensive. The city of Iqaluit just keeps dumping higher tax and water rates on us with no relief. QEC jumped way up. The GN solar program is an absolute joke.
      Unless you find the home of your dreams, don’t buy a house. You’ll save more money in staff housing. I can’t wait to sell my house to the next fool who thinks they can make it work.

      • Posted by David on

        Can I ask what a homeowner pays for fire insurance monthly or yearly please?

        • Posted by Getting out of housing on

          200 per month for complete housing insurance (not including oil tank). Not sure about fire specifically.

          There are a lot of variables that make owning a house here very risky.

    • Posted by Free isn’t free on

      why is everyone expecting the taxpayers to pay for everything. Any where else in the world a home owner is responsible for their bills and maintenance.

  2. Posted by Former Lib on

    During the last election, the Liberal candidate repeatedly told us the Liberals would have a Housing plan for Nunavut “soon”. She told us they were working on it and that they recognized it was vitally important.

    I’m still waiting for this vitally important plan…

    • Posted by Harry on

      Unfortunately she didn’t get in and we are stuck with a NDP MP that will not get much attention with the Liberal government.
      Difficult to have a alliance and work together with two different parties.

  3. Posted by Mialee on

    I was home last year. I saw many young people who are homeless. I heard most of them were not wanted in there home town in Baffin Island. Other times when they come out of jail, they want to stay. This means Iqaluit is a dumping ground from other Settlements. Mumilaaq, is it possible to ask in other settlements to built a special place for those people?. I have seen they were not all that happy even in the bigger place like in Iqaluit. I was feeling sad for those young ones and felt bad for Iqaluit Residence. What kind of future does Iqaluit have?.

  4. Posted by Mialee on

    Also. If I was a housekeeper in Iqaluit. Most of the money will go to the rent. One bedroom is over $2.500 a month. Many people refused to go back to work because they will pay only $65.00 a month if they go on the Welfare. Can you figure that out?. The world is calling us, we don’t want to work and lazy people. Something is wrong somewhere. My people are not that lazy.

  5. Posted by Clearly on

    It does not help that when there is money available to build houses our Government is gouged and end up paying half million for a small unit. How can any Government afford to pay these outrageous building costs? How can a small building cost half a million dollars?! Everyone is lining their pockets and paying no attention to the overcrowded and sad reality that keeps Nunavut in destitution. Have you seen what our government pays for a basic building with four walls and some windows? Outrageous.

  6. Posted by Ben S on

    What a nice change that we have a MP that wants to share our stories. Usually it’s just statistics and #s. I hope her approach resignates with people and brings the change we need. What we’ve done for the last 20 years hasn’t worked. Thanks Mumilaaq, if you run in the next election I will vote NDP for the first time ever.

  7. Posted by Blame Inuit Orgs on

    Where is NTI and all its development corporations? Oh right, they build stuff for government and overcharge them, leaving less revenue for government to build more housing. Not a single NTI social housing building with the tens of millions of dollars in annual interest. Rich inuit and poor inuit. Come on Qaqqaq, why not say something different than every single MP in the history of Nunavut that this is all for the federal government to solve?Someone in power call out NTI and the Inuit orgs for doing nothing for the majority of Inuit and change the dynamic and tired tale of the problem being southern governments. Inuit need to start taking ownership of this problem and correcting it.

    • Posted by Beneficiary on

      It’s not the job of the MP to call out Inuit orgs, in fact that would be interfering with the local democratic system of Nunavut and would most certainly lead to lawsuit and NTI getting richer. NTI is a corporation that answers to Inuit beneficiaries…it is up to us beneficiaries to call out Inuit orgs and to demand better. It is our right to request financial information and to push for more.

      • Posted by Inuit Org Immunity on

        Did I miss a memo where NTI is immune from criticism, let alone criticism by an Inuk MP?
        By that logic no one should critique the WE Charity for recent debacles or private long term care homes for bad practices. That’s the job of their respective boards right?
        As a taxpayer and voter, I say it is a federal MPs job to call out selfishness and nonaction of players like NTI who need to fix the problem, not just the Federal Govt. As a qallunaq I am also going to call out NTI and my race is irrevalant – the truth is what matters.

        • Posted by Oy oy oy on

          Exactly. NTI deserves to be blasted from all sides. Our MP probably won’t because she used to work there and rode the coat tails of Aluki’s “move aside old guard” campaign which has been a lateral shift in local politicas at best.

  8. Posted by Bill Tagalik on

    “im holding my breath with this trudeau government to see if they actually do the right thing…im not expecting them to but it would be nice to be proven wrong”

    um, yea….dont hold your breath on hoping to be proven wrong. as if the government will be like, lets just prove her wrong guys.

  9. Posted by hardcore NDP supporter with doubts on

    I’ve always voted NDP. I stand behind them and their platform. I generally like what Mumilaaq is doing. However, she needs to learn that her words can have power and impact. She can incite action with her words. She needs to get rid of her passive-aggressive vocabulary and way of talking on important matters. “I’m not expecting them to” shows that you’ve already lowered the bar on your behalf for others. If I see this my response would be, “oh, there are no expectations, so I don’t need to do anything”. Have expectations of the government and make them high! “And it would be really nice to be proven wrong”…please get rid of your passive aggressive attitude.

    It gives a vibe that she is afraid of not succeeding and trying to deflect what she would be considered as her own shortcomings. Sorta like “I know this is a big issue, but it’s not my fault if more money doesn’t come because the liberal government won’t provide more funds, as I’ve stated before.” Be confident and assertive and not passive aggressive. Demand what Nunavut needs, and if it doesn’t happen we know you did your best.

    • Posted by Observation Post on

      This is a good observation. I sensed this same kind of thing but concluded the wording to be a bit petulant. Passive-aggressive is a good way to frame it though. Whatever it is, it lacks seriousness in my opinion and doesn’t lend itself well to the right kind of attention or support.

      • Posted by Good points on

        I’ve noticed that too from the beginning, I think it’s the lack of experience in both political arena and in the working world, I see and hear a lot of inexperience, maybe it will come in time but we need our MP to work with the Liberal government not build a wall and attack them, this will not help.

  10. Posted by Disgruntled on

    Qaqqaq’s entire handling of this “tour” was reprehensible. There was little to no notice to local housing managers & boards. She posted pictures of obvious tenant damage and labeled it as mismanagement by housing. Etc. She made her whole “tour” about trashing the local housing orgs when she should’ve been showing their successes and what they could accomplish with more funding.

    • Posted by Reminds me of… on

      I know a few journalists who have experienced the north very briefly. I recall an occasion where one flew into a small community, spent around 3 days or so there, then churned out an article centered on what I recognized to be her favorite social justice issues. It was a well written piece, but its merit was hard to asses, who could deny that there are issues here? Yet it was hard to ignore the sense that she had planned most of the story long before the plane landed. Had she showed up, I wondered, to simply gather a few anecdotes and add a little street cred for being on the scene?
      I suppose I will never know. The narrative was plausible enough, but it seems fair to ask if it was depicting reality in a meaningful way? Or, did it lack the nuance to approach the real issues and, consequently, real solutions?

  11. Posted by here’s an idea on

    Why not get them to buy small prefab houses that can be assembled locally. Inuit know how to build. They built igloo’s, they build cabins. Give them the responsibility, give them the materials, give them a bit of help and provide the community service hook-ups like power, cable, water, etc. It will be much cheaper than bringing up construction workers from the south and people will take pride in their homes if they built it themselves. If we can have a prefab hotel from China be built in Iqaluit in a very short time, why not prefab small homes for homeless locals…and the prefabs can come from Canada, not China.

  12. Posted by M Center on

    This young lady is brave to submit name and ran while cynics, critics, armchair observers have failed to step up on own accords. Can’t we just support each other as a Territory?

    She is trying and hope to see all those judging submit names next elections.

  13. Posted by Uvaali on

    Our MP being sarcastic but not want others to point it out? I tell mine that people get turned off when you speak to them this way.

    Give possible solutions instead while you have the platform.

    What you are pointing out has been the case since shortly after public houses started being built.

    Help out homeowners so it is no longer impossible to get assistance.

    • Posted by Aksu on

      MP wants allies to help get housing then trash talk. How to get allies hey?

  14. Posted by Jeremy on

    I give the MP full marks for authenticity. Basically she doesn’t care about being politically correct because being that way accomplishes zippo. Refer to her predecessors HT & LA. Neither accomplished anything… unless CanNor can be attributed to LA. But HT… we know what he accomplished. So Mamilaaq, just keep on being you & say & do what you want, because as politicians go you are at least doing something measurable & I commend you for that.

    • Posted by Sort of but on

      Not sure about this, political correctness is her wheelhouse. Authenticity can be good, but if you think about it, that really depends on how mature you are.

  15. Posted by You Joking? on

    “Basically she doesn’t care about being politically correct” …

    Go check her running commentary on twitter. To me cultural issues seem to be the crux of her political identity at this point, it’s not likely to change considering the orientation of her party.

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