Nunavut MP to remain on medical leave until at least Jan. 4

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq not expected to attend NDP riding association’s annual meeting

Nunavut’s MP, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, will remain on medical leave until at least Jan. 4, her office said Monday, Dec. 21. (File photo)

By Jane George and Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq isn’t expected to attend her riding association’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, her office said on the same day it announced she won’t be back to work until after the new year because of an extension of the medical leave she began in October.

“My understanding is that she will not be able to attend the riding association’s AGM, but will be following along for any important updates that may occur,” said Mathieu Boisvert, a representative from the MP’s office, in an email.

Qaqqaq is in Ottawa, Boisvert said, providing the first public update on her whereabouts since Oct. 23.

“Mumilaaq’s medical leave began while she was in Nunavut, and she came to Ottawa during it, and has not returned to Nunavut since,” Boisvert said.

Qaqqaq has taken a leave of absence for unspecified health reasons for the past eight weeks. Her office announced Monday morning on social media that she won’t be back to work until at least Jan. 4.

“Subsequently, she will continue to consult with her medical team and party to determine a strategy that works for her progressive reintegration into full time work in the New Year,” the announcement states.

“I am not in a position to say if her leave will be extended or not at this time,” Boisvert added.

“Her progressive reintegration will certainly have an impact on that decision, based on how she is feeling.”

Qaqqaq announced her medical leave on Oct. 23. At the time, Qaqqaq tweeted she would take “at least” eight weeks off.

Dec. 18 was the eight-week mark.

The NDP did not respond to interview requests from Nunatsiaq News last week, asking whether Qaqqaq would return to work Monday.

Very few details have been given since then, except that the MP’s condition is not related to COVID-19.

“We look forward to continuing to advocate for Nunavummiut. Rest assured that we will advise all partners promptly about her status, and that her office, as always, continues to remain open for requests, as it has been for the duration of the MP’s leave,” stated Monday’s social media post.

With many changes in 2020, Qaqqaq’s office will be advertising job openings in the coming weeks, the social media post said.

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(31) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned Inuk on

    Can you not work from home, Mumilaaq? Focus on what is happening with this pandemic and be a role model to Inuit. We are all wondering where you are? Why aren’t you doing anything online except interviewing artists? Atleast do a talk show reminding Nunavummiut what are the plans with vaccines and everything else. Haven’t heard your name since the pandemic started, are you hiding under a rock? Please represent Nunavut like you’re supposed to. We are paying you big bucks to represent us, please focus on the important issues!

    • Posted by not amused on

      I agree with you, paying big bucks to represent Nunavutmiut, not that I voted for NDP. Yes, if she is on medical leave, she could work from home, how hard is that? Neither have I heard her name and/or seen her speaking up in Parliament before the pandemic hit.

  2. Posted by HR Department on

    Okay but, does she have enough leave credits left for this?

  3. Posted by Old boy on

    We voted her in, now can we vote her out?

    Were all concerned for you, but you have an important job to do, and now more than ever we need a leader, and you are ghosting us: your dear constituents.

    Enough is enough, we pray you get the help you need; but we also need a leader, and that is no longer you.

  4. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    She talks a big talk, said she got into politics because nothing was being done. Hmmm what are you doing to get stuff done? She only brought up issues that were hot on social media.
    That whole Nunavut tour to address housing, has been done before. Over crowding, lack of housing and deteriorating housing isn’t a new issue. It’s been a issue even when we were in the NWT.
    What’s her action plan, business case, economic plan to get Nunavut in a better place then it was when she got into office? Do we need to make more social media post on how to do that so that she will listen? If this job is too much for you, then step down and let someone else take over.

  5. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Seriously ? Is this the next best thing that you can come up with? We had such high hopes for you.

    You are one step away from Eskimo quitting and just stop coming into work until we all assume that you are done and we can just write “quit” on your ROE.


    • Posted by CB on

      Shame on you Nunatsiaq News for allowing such racist commentary to be published and spread. “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral dilemma fail to act.” Our MP is human and humans sometimes get ill – some people use any excuse for race bashing and blatant prejudice. This is unacceptable.

      • Posted by Ummm, Say What on

        What is unacceptable is your attempt to stifle free comment. Nunatsiaq News engages in enough of that, to have readers join in is concerning.

        You are not in any way a decision maker on acceptability on this forum.

        It makes one wonder whether your attitude and approach has any place in an open and tolerant society that acknowledges diverse opinions, whether they are individually liked or not.

  6. Posted by John K on

    I had very, very high hopes when I voted for you Mumilaaq. I still do; I haven’t given up. But I could really use some information in regards to your condition and fitness to perform your duties… Everyone should be afforded due privacy, but I think someone in Mumilaaq’s position owes us some sort of status update when this happens.

    I hate this because it looks so much like an Inuk bailing on gainful employment after only trying it for a while. We really don’t need our leaders validating the stereotypes about us.

  7. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    First I would like to wish Ms. Qaqqaq all the best and a quick and full recovery from whatever it is that is affecting her health.
    I’m not a doctor however I’m surprised that so many other people feel that they are qualified to comment about an announced medical issue.
    Do I wish that there was more information, and more transparency – Yes.
    Do I wish that the NDP did a better job at communicating Ms. Qaqqaq’s status – Yes.
    Do I wish that the NDP did a better job at covering Ms. Qaqqaq’s office and constituency duties – Yes.
    Do I wish that Mr. Singh took a more active role in communicating to Ms. Qaqqaq’s constituents – Yes.
    Calling for Ms. Qaqqaq’s resignation at this point is premature, and a little mean spirited. Give the young lady a chance. Having said that someone from the NDP should be stepping up and stepping in to fill the void.
    Wishing everyone Seasons Greetings. Stay home, stay safe.

    • Posted by CB on

      Thank you, Old Trapper. I concur.

    • Posted by Sue Visser on

      I agree. Has anyone considered the possibility that she may suffering burnout trying to solve everyone’s problems. Being under attack after working so hard is unacceptable.

      The NDP party is letting the constituents AND her down. That’s where to focus of the frustrations should be aimed. Call the Leader out since he’s not leading anything in this matter.

      Find some kindness in your hearts for her!

      • Posted by Burnout on

        Yeah she must be burnt out from flying around the North to showcase what the whole Territory already knew. There’s a housing crisis, there was before she was elected and there will be when she’s replaced, another example of well spent Gov’t funds, cut her loose, she obviously can’t handle it

      • Posted by That’s a Bingo on

        I think burnout is probably what most of us are thinking, and unfortunately, this only reinforces the notion that Mumilaaq is in over her head and unprepared for a position of this magnitude.

      • Posted by Why Jagmeet Tho? on

        Dear Sue,

        How do you want the NDP leader to handle this? Obviously you know he has his own job and party to run, his own riding and his own constituents? So… you want him to do Mumilaaq’s job too, and you want us to focus our frustration on him and the NDP?

        That doesn’t make any sense to me.

  8. Posted by The Old Mapper on

    Not sure I agree with you Old Trapper. At $182,600 per annum as a Federal MP and having not done a single thing since start of the pandemic, I’d say the others here are very much entitled to their opinions !

  9. Posted by Dear Miss Qaqqaq on

    I hope you are getting better.
    You have a very difficult job as an M. P.
    It is not your fault that :
    1) People wreck their homes, & don’t pay their rent.
    2)People have to many children they can’t afford.
    3)People buy junk food, alcohol, & drugs.
    4) There are people working in communities ( Some for years ) in education, recreation,
    and Inuktitut language. Some are very incompetent.
    People have to get their act together themselves.
    Trying your best is very good, but the individual can only go so far.
    Best Wishes, to you & your family

  10. Posted by Support of her leave on

    Why do you want to know so much on her health conditions? What could be so useful if you knew? She has the right to privacy on her health. Why are people so angry that she is on medical leave?

  11. Posted by Resident on

    The nastiness of some comments to this article and the other recent one on Nunatsiaq are disgusting. The absence of empathy and compassion from many is evident here. Our MP is on medical leave —I’m sure it wasn’t easy to make this decision to step away for a bit & follow recommendations from health care providers. You are not entitled to know her personal health information.
    She has more heart— more passion than any of our previous, recent MP’s. Instead of criticizing, you could choose to be encouraging and supportive. That she ‘should be working from home’ and similar comments and mindsets 1) have her health care providers endorsed working from home? 2) how do you know she isn’t doing some work from home anyway? After months of this pandemic and regular press briefings by the premier and chief medical officer— you should know that the public is not entitled to know personal health information of anyone.
People emailing their MP and expecting immediate replies: —do you have any idea how many emails or messages any MP gets in a week or month from people pushing their own agendas. MP’s and their staff must prioritize all of these things. You’re foolish if you think it’s instant replies to everyone about everything. 

    As for her salary: come on, look at salaries of higher up GN folks across many departments: we all know that there are many who don’t earn that money —how many of them are on medical leave. 
People are picking on her because she is younger and female . . . and gaining experience . . . this all smacks of bullying . . . and yet again: is this not in some ways lateral violence. Hummm . . . Nunavut —haven’t you had enough of this already . . . and its impacts?

    There’s not much happening in parliament between now & January 4th.

    • Posted by Regretful Voter on

      To be clear, you are saying that criticism of our MP is a form of “lateral violence”? Wow, that’s wild…

      I would guess that many of us suspect her extended leave is related to being overwhelmed by her job and that the ‘medical issue’ is really a meltdown.

      For me, as a person who voted for her, I regret the decision not because of this absence but because of the way she has handled herself as an MP. Her social justice non-sense on twitter appears to be the extent of her substance and this seems to be reflected in her inability to work with anyone outside her own bubble.

      She is obviously in over her head and I don’t feel any compulsion to deny that because of some moral lecture that demands doing so.

    • Posted by Constituent on

      “2) how do you know she isn’t doing some work from home anyway?”
      She does not respond. Her office does not respond. Her email does not even have an automated message saying she is absent and no one is checking her emails. MPs are given a generous allowance for staff and offices. Those people should be answering basic constituent concerns until the MP returns from her leave, but that isn’t happening. People are upset with the ghosting of constituents. She is a public figure, paid with public money, and needs to publicly tell us what is going on and institute a contingency plan for being absent. Anyone who has ever been on leave from work will ensure proper delegation and notifications are in place.

    • Posted by Let’s Stick to Reality on

      If only ‘lateral violence’ were a real thing it would help your case.

      The ‘woke’ crowd are in full evidence here today.

    • Posted by Observer on

      Let’s be clear on something: she is *elected* by the people of her riding. She was, in essence, hired by us to do a job. We are, in a very real sense, her bosses. She is our employee. As such, we are entirely entitled to get some answers as to why she is not performing the job we hired her to do.

  12. Posted by Take 2 on

    Remember when Mumilaaq said not to focus on her age or gender but the issues. And how she was going to tackle all those human rights issues associated with housing, lowering living costs and eliminating boil water advisories?

    She challenged media and anyone who mentioned her age or gender and that no one would ask an old white man these questions. So, if you say you want to be treated like and judged like an old white man , then these questions and concerns about not doing the job of MP become even more stark. But let’s set all that silliness and stupidity aside. Along with her cringe worthy social media posts.

    Mumilaaq medical issues should be her primary focus. And that the responsibilities of MP are more than she can handle or may make her medical or health situation worse. I hope she realizes this sooner than later, for herself and her constituents and resigns. We can’t afford to not have a MP for months and months especially during a global pandemic. Nunavut now has COVID and we’ve lost some residents to the virus. Her Ottawa or southern based NDP staff who are certainly white and young themselves aren’t who we elected nor do we want to speak to them or have them speak for us. Nor is any other NDP MP really able to represent Nunavut nor should they even try to.

    It’s really too bad Nunavut didn’t elect Megan Pizzo-Lyall. I had more confidence in Megan growing into the MP job. Let’s hope Megan is prepared to run again.

  13. Posted by Northern Guy on

    This is what happens when you choose to elect an kid into a position like MP. Whatever Ms. Qaqqaq’s issue, unless there are pressing medical reasons that require her to remain in Ottawa there is no earthly reason for her to abandon her riding.

  14. Posted by Health Matters on

    People get sick- even politicians. Whether it is physical or mental health, she is allowed to be sick. All of you bullying her is not going to help her wellbeing.

    I wonder if someone can step in to cover her role until she is done better.

    • Posted by Observer on

      She was elected to do a job. If she can’t do the job, there is no one else to “cover her role” unless there happens to be an byelection and she’s replaced.

      • Posted by David on

        Hang on.

        She would be out of her office quite a bit, as ordinarily she would spent a great deal of time in Ottawa. She should have staff capable of dealing with a lot of issues without her.

        I’m unsure if that is happening, but there is no good reason why it isn’t.

  15. Posted by Horned Bull vs. Lady on

    Media in different forms – as they “say picture says it all”. Let’s start with Lady’s team – CB, Ummm, Support, Resident, Health Matters, and Old Trapper, supporters – Mumilaaq’s party did fill in for her soon after her illness, but one does not and expect to cover her constituents issues during the whole time she is out of her seat.
    Horned Bull team – Old Mapper – she did advocate for Nunavut for funds when Covid19 happened, saying Nunavut asked for 30 million, but Feds. only coughed up 19 million. Concerned Inuk – you did not listened to news – Feds. to distributed vaccine end of Jan. early Feb., David – you missed the end of this article regarding Nunavut NDP staff advertisement.
    I’m not going to mention all the behind scenes as being a critic of Northern affairs and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, also known as CanNor. But she has covered many more in some of these media outlets – CPAC, APTN, Isuma, youTube – these are since beginning of pandemic. I understand not everyone has time to research these. I am not going speculate on her personal business (illness) and it is no one’s business, no one can tell her to get well “right now” otherwise it’s a microwave oven attitude. I understand not everyone is a seal hunter, neither.

    • Posted by It’s only just begun on

      What are you going to come up with in January when these extensions just keep happening?

  16. Posted by Takkuu on

    Let us celebrate this holiday and put your mind at ease, find the good in you, help someone all this week – they say it feels good afterwards, just be positive, seek advice of our seniors and elders – they have so much to give – all that life experience they possess – untapped, let us respect them and learn from them. Happy Holidays.

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