Qaqqaq’s status unclear as eight-week leave ends
Nunavut MP and NDP mum on her plan to return to work
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.”
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.”
My time off has been much needed. A quick check in to say I’m fine. As numbers rise and Christmas approaches let’s think of those we love and want to keep safe.
Happy holidays and I’ll be back before you know it. All my love 🧡
— Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (@MumilaaqQaqqaq) November 22, 2020
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.