As we close in on the Oct. 21 federal election, Nunavut News asked several questions of the four individuals who have entered the race to become the territory’s member of Parliament.
Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, NDP
Q: What are your top three priorities and, briefly, how will you make improvements in each area?
A: Using the wealth tax to increase quality, affordable housing.
Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples into law. With this we can see institutions that reflect our culture and have the right to self-determination.
Youth engagement – everything from childcare increasing to post-secondary opportunities in Nunavut. We need to support and encourage our youth to excel at all levels.
Q: Nunavut needs approximately 3,500 new homes. How many houses is your party going to build over the next four years?
A: New Democrats will address the Indigenous housing crisis and put an end to chronic overcrowding and long wait lists by working with Indigenous communities to implement co-developed Inuit housing strategies. These innovative, ground-up strategies will mean sustainable and dedicated funding to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples.
We believe that the federal government must immediately step up to tackle the mould crisis affecting tens of thousands of homes and provide support for Inuit to ensure that their homes are safe and healthy. We will also ensure that Indigenous communities have the resources to make homes greener and more energy efficient, working to keep the benefits of good jobs, training, and investment close to home.
NDP will invest $5 billion to kick-start the plan, along with waiving GST/HST on construction of new units, double new homebuyers tax credit for purchase of a home and reintroduce 30-year mortgages for first-time buyers.
Q: How will your party tackle climate change? Is a carbon tax effective?
A: New Democrats will put reconciliation at the core of this effort, upholding Indigenous knowledge and respecting inherent sovereignty. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have intimate connections to their homelands, territories and resources and have provided stewardship since time out of memory.
To make full and equal partnership the basis of Canada’s efforts, New Democrats will ensure that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leadership have a seat at high-level decision-making tables to help direct climate change efforts in Canada.
We will also expand the Indigenous Guardians Program, invest in Indigenous-led science and support the creation of Indigenous-managed protected areas – and make sure that species recovery efforts respect Indigenous rights and embrace traditional knowledge to increase biodiversity.
Q: Tell us about an underrepresented issue or something you’ve learned about for the first time on the campaign trail that you now plan to address.
A: Indigenous and Inuit representation is so underwhelming. Nunavut has the highest suicide rate in the country. This. Needs. To. Change.
For too long our concerns and issues have not been taken care of. We see too many people living in Third-World conditions. We see lack of housing, job opportunity, and food insecurity, just to name a few. I can ensure Nunavummiut that my voice will not go unheard in the House of Commons.
Q: What are you hearing from Nunavummiut about your national leader?
A: Jagmeet Singh is stepping up like NDP knew he would. We hear more and more positive things because Jagmeet is in it for you, me, and for everyday people. He has handled criticism with grace and taunts with love. As more people become aware of the detailed and in-depth platform for Indigenous peoples, we realize that Jagmeet is more concerned with action than with words. I am confident he will be a key person in changing the relationship with Indigenous peoples and the government.
Q: Do you agree or disagree that a judicial review should be held before compensation is granted to Indigenous people who were apprehended under the government’s child welfare system?
A: The decision to appeal the ruling on compensation for Indigenous children was wrong. The Liberal government has made many promises and statements about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples but the last four years have proven otherwise.
Jagmeet Singh has said NDP would absolutely not request judicial review, I fully support this. We will also implement Jordan’s principle, this will save lives of our children. We need to start treating the first peoples of our country with respect and dignity, not with empty words and photo ops.