Qaqqaq’s status unclear as eight-week leave ends

Nunavut MP and NDP mum on her plan to return to work

Eight weeks after Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq announced she was taking a leave of absence, her plans to return to work are unclear. (File photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

It’s unclear whether Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq will be back to work Monday, as an eight-week health leave she took in October came to an end Friday.

Two months ago — on Oct. 23 — the New Democratic Party announced Qaqqaq’s leave of absence for “personal” health reasons. Very few details have been given since then, except that the member of Parliament’s condition is not COVID-19-related.

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

Multiple requests were made by email and phone to two spokespeople on the NDP’s media team with no response.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News Friday, Aaron Watson, president of the Nunavut NDP riding association, said he could only recommend emailing her parliamentary address. No response was received to that email.

Nunatsiaq News also reached out to NDP House Leader Peter Julian for comment but received no response.

Julian told Nunatsiaq News on Nov. 23 — one month into Qaqqaq’s leave — that the NDP would take a “team approach” to making sure Nunavut’s voice is heard.

In a Dec. 4 email statement to Nunatsiaq News, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wrote “as [party leader], the issues that people in Nunavut face matter to me. During the absence of MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, along with the NDP caucus, we will continue to stand up for the human rights of Nunavummiut as they face many challenges related to housing, healthcare, food security and, of course, the pandemic.”

On Nov. 25, Singh wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding he do more to help Nunavut contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the House of Commons, Singh made the same demands and said he was speaking on behalf of Qaqqaq.

Four tweets have been made from Qaqqaq’s Twitter account since her leave, signed “MQ Office.”

On Nov. 22, she reassured her followers that she was fine and that her time off has been “much needed.”

A tweet from the MP’s office Nov. 19 said the NDP will continue to fight for Nunavummiut during Qaqqaq’s absence. But the NDP did not say how Nunavut’s voice would be heard at the time.

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(27) Comments:

  1. Posted by wondering on

    just resign then..ur intentions are not clear..and nobody has the nerve to answer questions being asked..resign please..we need a strong voice and an active one..

  2. Posted by Old trapper on

    This is what you guys get for voteing for a person that don’t have experience 👎

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      Whoever you are, please think of an original name to post your comments under instead of using a name similar to what I have been using for 20 years.
      Nunatsiaq News, please do something to deter this individual from using the same/similar name to what I have been using. I’m sure that it is confusing for your readers.

  3. Posted by Joe on

    Just resign

  4. Posted by Manapik on

    Socialism,colonialism same shit different pile, left wing right wing belong to same bird. Young lady you’ll just make yourself sick trying to change the world.

  5. Posted by Wow, a reaction on

    Speculating on Mumilaaq or her intentions — may help some deal with their own state of affairs in what has been quite, the 2020, and maybe –for a select few– this time of year brings a certain kind of spirit to their holiday cheer, but in the chance you’re not a fan of coal in your socks, grinch-like smiles or visions of 8-to-a room in houses best described as “mold-boxes”, maybe we could better get on considering what Mumilaaq has achieved, and further brought to light in 2020.

    Efforts that, in at least these last 8 weeks, maybe allow us, yes, Canadians, to start to understand what it means to be voiceless. Not heard, not seen not considered, even in our own community.

    And though this might not be of intention, clearly from the comments, and a second follow-up by the same author–of this leave, voiceless strikes a chord.

    So, I commend Mumilaaq for her against-the-grain approach; not lessening her duties but allowing us, in a time of need, where COVID impacts us all, to walk a few steps in someone else’s shoes… those who’ve been forgotten. not heard. those voiceless- Nunavummiut set to public housing.

    In 2020, to bring further attention to a population discriminated against in public housing, is not an achievement every MP can claim, or have the ability to even attempt. And to do so, while respecting public health protocols, putting her constituents’ health and safety first in each community she visited.

    Now, at the end of 2020, some may say that’s not the role of an MP … to be silent, unavailable for constituents, especially at a time of need.

    And maybe you’re right; maybe an MP {at least one with experience} has to do everything by the book. Everything right by her people. I’m not sure what history would say to that, nor am I sure what a glance, or a longer look at NU’s past MPs may speak to, on that front, but if {no experience}, someone fresh, someone female, someone unapologetic to fighting for her people, means
    we’re left in silence for, only 8 weeks, and what comes of it after, is constituents, Canadians, having more understanding, more of us taking walks in other’s shoes, then to boot, maybe that’s the type of against-the-grain, -and, the type of MP-, who should stick-it-out, and keep leading going forward.

    • Posted by Housing is a Nunavut Government responsibility on

      Blame the federal government for Nunavut’s failure is not going very far on my books. Something more befitting of an MP’s scrutiny is the absence of infrastructure that can reduce our cost of living in the long run which the federal government has done elsewhere in the country except Nunavut. Increasing the fisheries share from our waters can provide jobs and food for us too.

      We have been patient and never got an explanation for her reasons to have to leave us in the dark. Will she have this mysterious illness again when we re-elect her for another term?

      Being truthful with the people who already had no MP for 3 and a half years prior to her tenure is not unreasonable.

    • Posted by Counter to the point on

      To ‘Wow, a reaction’

      I’m honestly curious what you mean when you talk about Mumilaaq’s accomplishments? Do you feel that raising the housing issue is a way of going “against the grain”? Do you think no one has ever brought this up in Parliament before?

      Also, do you think her tactics so far are working?

  6. Posted by What is so hard… on

    How hard is this for her to have assistants answer emails and queries? How hard is it for her to update when she will do anything? I emailed her weeks before her leave of absence and crickets ever since. Take your leave but be responsible to the office you hold…

    • Posted by Sunakia on

      I totally agree with your comments! It would be nice to see our MP support nunavumiut rather seeing her tweets that she had a project before she went on leave, as far as I was reading.

    • Posted by JK on

      Obviously, she can’t handle the job of MP so she should just resign. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t seem to make much difference if we have an MP or not, so let’s save some money!

      • Posted by Corey on

        You mean save BC. Alberta, Ontario and Quebec money!? We’re paying for it! Remember where you get your resources from!

        • Posted by josywales on

          You mean stolen lands (all Canada) should be paid for, taken by foreign Cultures?
          I will be and I am sure many Indigenious people will be very grateful.

  7. Posted by Hucklebbery on

    We living in a generation so different from 30 or more years ago. Today, we see people mocking/talking down to our leaders. Today, we know too much about everybody. Ive told myself the less I know the better. Part of reason why I don’t have FB no more. Over populated is partly reason why. Just like if your hse is overcrowded the “should be” leader in that household cannot fully take control of his household issue. Qaqqaq is young. Whatever her issue is. We now have enough power to destroy her mind and body, by negativity and attack, by website like this, email and/or personal messages. 30 years ago we pray for our leaders. We already had one talented singer who commited suicide partly from negative response he/she read from own people. Be careful what we say and do. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching.

    • Posted by Huckleberry my tax dollars matter on

      All politicians go through challenges and take the crap with the compliments. MPs make about $200,000.00 a year from my taxes. Trying to shield one because she maybe younger then other politicians doesn’t cut it as all have to endure them. If she were working and making a difference we would not complain. As you are a religious person, please pray for her to get well and deliver a good service for Nunavut.

    • Posted by Merry Mithras on

      Your points about social media are good ones though. Yet it’s not completely clear to me if the ability for the public to express itself openly like this is always a net good or bad. It can easily be either. Yet the idea that things were necessarily better in the past because these avenues for expression did not exist, therefore (the logic seems to go) these opinions were less prevalent, seems to romanticize a period that may have simply been much worse in ways we could not imagine at the time. For example, corruption was much easier to cover up, incompetence went unnoticed, inability to effectively perform ones duty simply got lost in the overall sea of quiet that surrounded the activities of our public officials.

      On the other hand, the viciousness and ignorance that is commonplace on social media is clearly toxic. I can’t imagine how difficult that would be for a person in the spotlight, it would certainly be a deterrent for a public life and for someone not expecting it, it might be overwhelming.

      Has Qaqqaq really experienced that? I have casually followed her on Social media, and haven’t seen much of that, but this is just my own observation.

  8. Posted by StaySafe on

    She’s young and needs our support. She will grow into her job. Nunavut needs young leaders.

    • Posted by Lets B Real on

      She may or may not grow into her job, we don’t know. Also, Nunavut needs good leadership above all else. Let’s stop fetishizing ‘young leaders’ and accept that they have limitations. Putting someone into a role they are unprepared for does nothing for them or the people they are meant to serve.

  9. Posted by Too young on

    Vote for somebody with no experience, get nothing. Politics are cutthroat and nothing comes easy. She took office, went on a little “housing tour” to show a few moldy houses and then essentially quit her post. At least Leona would show up to parliament, and had tons of experience in politics. We miss i Leona

  10. Posted by Not ready on

    Steep learning curve when you do not have much of a work or life experience, going straight to the top, I think she is learning the Federal government is huge, lots of lobbying by all kinds of groups, lots of competitive politicians fighting for their constituents.
    Not a easy place for inexperienced person to navigate.

    On top of that a fourth place party does not have the clout to demand things. Also with her constant bashing of anything the Liberal government does for Nunavut does not build trust or that partnership to work together for Nunavut.

    I think we are missing some great opportunities with this government that likes to spend on infrastructure and projects. I hope she gets better and can work for Nunavut again, if not stepping down and letting someone else try would not be shameful, while we have this opportunity.
    PS I do not miss Leona, her government made all kinds of cuts while at the same time increased the deficit. Wrong focus, more for big Corp. and not the people.

  11. Posted by SAM on

    Does anybody in Nunavut really care,we are worried about covid,and we have lots of politicians, trying to take care of us,Nurses,doctors,and these are the people taking care of us.

    • Posted by Ham on

      Yes we care, we need someone in Ottawa to represent us.

  12. Posted by Name withheld on

    I’m happy she did manage to do a tour with regards to the Housing situation Nunavut face, a lot more than what a I can say about President of Housing Corp nor his staff members done.

    Give her a chance I personally believe she did more than Mr Tootoo.

    Yes Leona may have the experience but the only way we will see changes is seeing someone like Miss Q whose got that drive to see things improve. Ayungituuti

    • Posted by Flying in a blue dream on

      Did she meet with any of the housing associations in the communities she visited? There were a few comments at the time that she avoided them altogether… maybe someone can cast some light on this?

      Tootoo was a major let down, it’s sad that we had to endure a 4 year black hole like that. But that’s not really the standard we should be measuring Mumilaaq by.

  13. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Let’s wait to hear what the young lady has to say.
    I don’t know why she thought that she needed an extended time off, whether it was for physical or mental health issues, or for something totally unrelated.
    I do however think that we need to give her the opportunity to come back, and to explain to her constituents regarding the circumstances. She is first and foremost a fellow human being, someone that we need to have compassion for in times of trouble.
    Yes she signed on for a very tough job, one of the toughest. Yes she didn’t have a whole lot of experience, but that is normal with young people. They need to learn, and sometimes make their own mistakes. They are the future. Let’s give her the opportunity to explain.
    I do hope that Ms. Qaqqaq will be back and ready to represent the people of Nunavut.
    p.s. kudos to the Nunatsiaq News headline writers, we see what you did there!

    • Posted by The Really Old Trapper on

      Why do we need to wait? We should demand results. You don’t leave the ship when it’s sinking.

  14. Posted by Jerkilabuk on

    I don’t think that she knew what she was getting her self into

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