Outgoing Nunavut member of Parliament Mumilaaq Qaqqaq accused Premier Joe Savikataaq of using “major intimidation tactics” in a Facebook post on Sept. 26.
Savikataaq says he’s shocked at the allegation, which he denies is true.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, Qaqqaq stated that about six months after she took office as MP, Savikataaq started emailing her outside of work, attempting to make her feel “unknowledgeable and not knowing what ‘the GN has done for the territory.’”
She said if she forgot to tell her staff to put “federal” in front of “government” in a communique, Savikataaq “was immediately messaging me or my office, extremely upset,” even though she insists that she never intended to make implications about the GN.
She added that the New Democratic Party (NDP) “never backed me enough to feel safe enough to speak truth. I couldn’t ever be my complete self in my term if I wanted to be re-elected… so much makes me anxious.”
Savikataaq says there is no validity to Qaqqaq’s assertions against him.
“I want to assure Nunavummiut this is not the case,” he told Nunavut News. “All correspondence with Ms. Qaqqaq have been in a professional capacity, through our respective offices… I did write to her about the Government of Nunavut (GN)’s response to COVID-19, and the ways the GN communicated with Nunavummiut throughout the pandemic. I also wrote about our government’s vaccine roll out early this year, when they were first approved and ready for distribution.”
The premier, who will serve another term as Arviat South MLA by acclimation, said he’s made a point of being accessible to Nunavummiut, including Qaqqaq.
“I would have welcomed the opportunity to hear from Ms. Qaqqaq about her concerns directly, instead of using social media to spread concerning and incorrect information,” he stated.
Rekindling a past quarrel
In a separate post in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Qaqqaq revisited a battle she had with Labrador Liberal MP Yvonne Jones, whom she accused of not being an Inuk. That dispute seemingly ended on April 22 when Qaqqaq apologized to Jones after demanding that Jones “validate your Inukness.”
Qaqqaq wrote on Sept 26: “(NDP leader) Jagmeet (Singh) and NDP refused to back me in the Yvonne Jones situation. You all saw my break down in April. It was because NDP would not back me up and let Yvonne Jones bully me in many ways. Work wise and personal. Still I’m intimidated by her by her even tho she’s so in the wrong it’s completely disgusting. Even tho I only speak truth and she’s done EVERYTHING to make me scared and two things to put out:
1. She was ‘Métis’ till 2004 then all of a sudden Inuk
2. She voted AGAINST the Labrador Inuk land claims
Yvonne Jones is NOT Inuk and NDP would NEVER back me in that.”
Qaqqaq took two mental health breaks while serving as Nunavut’s MP: once for several weeks in late 2020 and later for a couple of weeks in late April, following the controversy with Jones.
“I didn’t run again for many reasons. Mostly because I didn’t feel safe,” Qaqqaq wrote in her Sept. 26 Facebook post.
The NDP didn’t comment on the situations involving Savikataaq and Jones, instead sending a statement reading: “The NDP worked hard to support Mumilaaq Qaqqaq as a candidate and as a member of Parliament. We believe that the House of Commons and every political party must do more to get Indigenous people elected and support them in those roles. We are committed to continuing this work.”
Qaqqaq didn’t respond on Sept. 27 to further questions about the conflicts with Savikataaq or Jones. Neither was there a reply from Jones’ office on Sept. 27.