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'I am mortified to learn that you do not feel safe': Canadians react to Nunavut NDP MP's moving speech about racism on Parliament Hill

·4-min read

On Tuesday in the House of Commons, as MPs not seeking re-election delivered their farewell remarks, NDP MP for Nunavut Mumilaaq Qaqqaq shared how she has been racially profiled on Parliament Hill and called out the federal government's failures to address racism, discrimination and Canada's history "stained with blood" from oppression of Indigenous People.

"Every time I walk onto House of Commons grounds, speak in these chambers, I'm reminded every step of the way I don't belong here. I have never felt safe of protected in my position, especially within the House of Commons."NDP MP for Nunavut, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq

"Often having pep talks with myself in the elevator or taking a moment in the bathroom stall to maintain my composure. When I walk through these doors not only am I reminded of the clear colonial house on fire I am willingly walking into, I am already in survival mode. Since being elected I expect to be stopped by security at my workplace. I've had security jog after me down hallways, nearly put their hands on me and racial profile me as a member of Parliament."

She went on to say the federal government has had a "refusal and unwillingness" to change.

"The federal needs to change its own policies and procedures to reflect reality instead of creating barriers for people like me," Qaqqaq said. "I shouldn't be afraid of going into work, no one should be afraid of going into work."

"During my time in this chamber I have heard so many pretty words like reconciliation, diversity and inclusion. I have been called courageous, brave and strong by people outside of my party, but let me be honest, brutally honest, nice words with no action hurt when they are uttered by those with power over the federal institution and refuse to take action."

Following her message, Canadians took to social media to react to her remarks, supporting the NDP MP.

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While Qaqqaq is still an MP, she is calling on the government to support her amendments to the COVID-19 elections act, Bill C-19, to include Inuit languages on Canada's ballots in federal elections. She is asking Canadians to send an email to Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, in support of the change.

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