Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq returns from leave after ‘burnout, depression’

Nunavut’s sole MP says she is back on the job after about two months away from work due to what she described as “extreme burnout, depression and anxiety.”

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq announced in late October that she would be taking eight weeks off on advice from her doctor following a housing tour in Nunavut.

In a video posted to her Facebook page, Qaqqaq said the three-week tour left her “heart hurting” and her “soul heavy.”

“I couldn’t begin to fathom how many Inuit were clearly struggling … and it seemed the rest of the country was relatively OK with this,” she said.

The NDP parliamentarian said Liberal and Conservative governments have failed Inuit, who continue to struggle with unaffordable food and a housing crisis that includes overcrowding and substandard materials.

Qaqqaq said higher rates of suicide and violent crime in Nunavut can be traced directly to the legacy of colonialism and residential schools, as well as ongoing complacency from Ottawa and elsewhere.

She said she has worked with the NDP to develop a wellness plan to prevent further burnout, and will spend the next few weeks building office staff capacity and reaching out to constituents.

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