Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq says NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will visit the territory.
Among the numerous items she’s been tending to since being elected on Oct. 21, that’s one commitment she has secured from the head of the party.
“Yes, we’re working on that,” says Qaqqaq, adding that Singh has been “open-minded” and “supportive.”
Singh has not only advised her on how to navigate politics in Ottawa, but he’s listened to what she’s had to say, according to Qaqqaq.
“That’s something that’s really important to me,” she says. “He’s just been really great and so have all the other NDP staff.”
While Qaqqaq says she’s eager to tackle the many issues that Nunavummiut need addressed in Ottawa, she’s been preoccupied with training, orientation, searching for office space in Iqaluit, figuring out living accommodations in Ottawa, hiring staff and being involved in numerous meetings with organizations and individuals.
“It’s been very busy trying to sort those details,” she says, adding that the soon-to-be-hired staff will be able to handle the flood of emails and social media communication she receives, among other tasks.
“It’s difficult to be able to do what I want to when I can’t hit the ground running, and I definitely can’t hit the ground running… there’s a lot of things for me to take care of first,” Qaqqaq says. “I’m hoping over the next couple of weeks I can get staffed up so I can start being transparent and open like I was before.”
The Prime Minister’s Office has announced that Parliament will be recalled on Dec. 5. In the days following that, Qaqqaq, who recently turned 26, will make her first official statement in the House as an MP.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about. There’s nothing concrete for me yet,” she says of her upcoming premier address in front of her fellow federal legislators.
It won’t be her first time orating in Parliament. She did so in March 2017 as part of the Daughters of the Vote program, which fosters aspiring young female political leaders. It was then that she made an emotional speech about suicide in Nunavut and its causes, which went viral on social media.
She was recognized as Trina Qaqqaq at the time, but has since adopted Mumilaaq as her preferred name. That’s a moniker she inherited from her dad when she was just a toddler who liked to dance.
“Mumi is dance (in Inuktitut) and laaq is little one. It’s just something that makes a lot more sense to me,” she says. “It’s reclaiming my culture, reclaiming my language, reclaiming a lot of things that were attempted to be erased… I think it’s important that people get to be called whatever they wished to be called. It’s important to acknowledge that and appreciate the background and where it comes from when people are ready to share it.”