Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, 25, was the youngest candidate running for federal MP in any of the three territories.
Early Tuesday morning, she became one of the youngest MPs in the country.
With 55 of 59 polls counted, the NDP candidate sat at 3,717 votes — nearly 1,000 more than her closest challenger, Liberal Megan Pizzo Lyall.
The margin is now large enough that CBC’s decision desk is able to confidently project Qaqqaq’s victory.
Pizzo Lyall called Qaqqaq to congratulate her on her win just after 2 a.m. ET.
Speaking to CBC from Baker Lake, where she watched the results roll in with family and friends, Qaqqaq said the evening was “just how I hoped. A quiet night.
“I think it’ll take a few days to sink in,” she said. “I’m glad that Nunavut is up for change, and ready for change, and that’s exactly what we’ve been needing for decades.”
Qaqqaq will be the first NDP MP for the territory since 1980, back when the riding was named Nunatsiaq and the territory was still part of the Northwest Territories.
Conservative candidate Leona Aglukkaq, a former cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s government, trailed in third, at over 1,000 votes behind Qaqqaq.
“I’m super excited to be standing in the House of Commons, and be able to talk about things and help things happen,” Qaqqaq said.
“Help funding come through, help people understand why things may or may not work here in Nunavut, and give a reality check at the federal level, so to speak.”
A newcomer to politics, Qaqqaq was outspoken on the campaign trail. At an all-candidates forum last week, she said the New Democratic Party let her be herself, which meant she could be emotional as she answered questions for the audience.
That freedom would allow her to be a voice for Inuit in the House of Commons, she argued.
During a youth mock parliament in 2017, Qaqqaq represented Nunavut and spoke about how hard it is for Inuit to face suicide alone. She has said throughout her campaign that this issue affects her deeply.
Qaqqaq has promised to advocate for Nunavummiut to help address the housing crisis in the territory. The NDP platform promises half a million public housing units across the territory, which Qaqqaq says is an opportunity for Nunavut.
While campaigning, she stayed with relatives whose home was infested with mould — something she says is unacceptable, and is a reason she argued she would be a voice for change.
Federal politics were not part of her life plan, but a chance for her to be a voice for Inuit, she said.
“It was an opportunity that came to me a few weeks ago, not something I was expecting … and I take every opportunity that I can to help Inuit, to help Nunavummiut, and this was a great opportunity,” Qaqqaq told CBC.
Qaqqaq replaces incumbent Hunter Tootoo, who was elected as a Liberal in 2015, but resigned from cabinet and the Liberal caucus in 2016.
Tootoo served out his term as an Independent MP, but did not run again.
Bloc Québécois wins riding including Nunavik
In Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou — the riding that includes all 14 Nunavik communities — Sylvie Bérubé with the Bloc Québécois is the new member of Parliament.
Of the 197 polls in the riding, 177 have been reported, which represent nearly 90 per cent of the votes.
Bérubé was running against Liberal Isabelle Bergeron, Conservative Martin Ferron, NDP Jacline Rouleau, Green Kiara Cabana-Whiteley, People’s Party Guillaume Lanouette and Marijuana Party candidate Daniel Simon.
The incumbent MP, Romeo Saganash of the NDP, did not seek re-election.
Blizzard conditions closed polling station
In Resolute Bay, where winds gusted to 90 kilometres per hour, the polling station closed a few hours early, in part because of the weather and in part because voter turnout had slowed.
“Workers decided to stay and they were serving electors. Poll is closing at this moment for security purposes,” a spokesperson for Elections Canada said in an email at 7 p.m.
There are 111 eligible voters in the community, according to Elections Canada.
For this election, there are 18,665 eligible voters in Nunavut, five per cent of which voted in advanced polls, a drop of around 130 voters from the advanced voter turnout in the 2015 election.
Nearly 1,000 voters took advantage of the advanced polls, which were open over Thanksgiving weekend from Oct. 11 — 14.
Some voters expressed concerns that the ballots for the federal election were not in Inuktitut — but only in English and French, though promotional materials were in Inuktitut.