Elders weigh in on NDP victory

25-year-old Mumilaaq Qaqqaq is Nunavut's next MP

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Mumilaaq Qaqqaq became one of the youngest MPs in the country last month. NNSL file photo

She’s never held political office. She’s 25-years-old. She’s your new MP.

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, a Baker Lake youth advocate and member of the New Democrat Party, will be one of the youngest MPs in Canada after receiving 41 per cent of the votes in Nunavut.

She defeated the Conservative candidate Leona Aglukkaq, who received 25 per cent of the votes and Liberal candidate Megan Pizzo-Lyall, who garnered 31 per cent.

Nunavut News took to the streets to find out what people are thinking about their new MP.

Annie Nattaq hopes Qaqqaq will focus on mental health issues. Rajnesh Sharma /NNSL photo

For Annie Nattaq, Qaqqaq’s age is not a factor. It is her commitment and “positive” attitude that stands out for this elder.

“If someone believes in doing something, then they will do it,” she said. “Qaqqaq believes in herself and sounds committed.”

Nattaq admits that she was surprised when Qaqqaq won because had not heard much about her.

“It is hard to say what to expect from her considering she has to work with the other parties,” she said.

The elder hopes the new MP will address the housing needs of Nunavut and also its mental health issues.

Nattaq emphasized the importance of having support workers in Nunavut that speak the language and know the culture.

Don Kunuk believes it will be a learning process for the young MP. Rajnesh Sharma /NNSL photo

“I was surprised she won!” exclaimed Don Kunuk.

He recognizes that Qaqqaq is “pretty young” and is going to have to learn about politics. He hopes she will address the housing crisis in Nunavut.

Kunuk also hopes she will address the shortcomings of the much-maligned Nutrition North program.

Paul Atagooyuk is very stunned that Qaqqaq has won. Rajnesh Sharma /NNSL photo

Even two days after Qaqqaq’s victory, Paul Atagooyuk was still feeling astonished.

“I am absolutely stunned!” he exclaimed.

He expected either the Liberals or Conservatives to win, not the NDP. He is undecided how the MP’s young age will impact her tenure.

He hopes Qaqqaq will help the Inuit by addressing issues like housing and healthcare.

Rebecca Veevee likes how Qaqqaq is not afraid to speak her mind. Rajnesh Sharma /NNSL photo

Rebecca Veevee appreciates the fact that Qaqqaq does not seem to shy away from addressing troubling issues.

Her strength lies in her “strong” voice and ability to answer questions well, said Veevee.

“I was not really surprised she won because she has a strong voice. She answers well and that’s what I like about her,” she explained.

Veevee hopes that with Qaqqaq’s help, the homeless will be heard by the government.

“Listen and give the homeless people houses,” said Veevee.