Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said in Iqaluit Monday that she hasn’t decided whether she’d run in a snap fall election.
“Honestly, I see the fence and I’m smack in the middle of it at this point,” the first-term New Democrat said Aug. 31. “I’m not leaning either way. I really don’t know.”
Qaqqaq stopped in the capital during a tour of housing units in the territory. She’s working on a report on the “housing crisis” to submit to the Liberal government.
“There are a lot of reports. There’s a lot of statistics and a lot of numbers, but that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t put the human aspect and real experiences on paper,” she told reporters.
“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. This is not a fun job. It’s not fun to continuously be trying to justify why our lives as Inuit matter just as much as anyone else’s,” she said. “The entirety of the Canadian federal system was built to work against Indigenous peoples and continues to do so.”
From Aug. 10 to Aug. 30, Qaqqaq toured eight communities to hear stories and see the living conditions of Inuit in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions. The MP visited the communities of Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Coral Harbour, Rankin Inlet, Naujaat, Arviat and Baker Lake.
“I don’t think as Inuit, we can start to adjust things like violence, abuse, death, suicide until we start adjusting the housing crisis,” said Qaqqaq.
The MP described the housing units as “mould boxes.” She added Kitikmeot region was “much more horrendous” in terms of mould than the Kivalliq region.
“I’ve seen a lot of overcrowding, a lot of mould,” she said. “I’ve also seen a lot of stress, a lot of hurt. And a lot of individuals that have letters upon letters in asking for help and finding their own home. Those are the kinds of things that these reports don’t capture.”
Qaqqaq has been collecting data through a survey and taking photographs. She said she’s visited at least 100 homes. She plans to create a report and share it with the federal government within the next month. She also intends to visit “most” of the other Nunavut communities by early 2021.
Qaqqaq is also working to bring national awareness to Nunavut’s housing crisis by collaborating with BC MP Jenny Kwan.
“It’s all a work in progress,” said Qaqqaq.