Feeding My Family’s Leesee Papatsie seeks seat in Nunavut election
Papatsie to contest Iqaluit-Sinaa constituency
The creator of the social media phenomenon “Feeding My Family” Leesee Papatsie plans to take her leadership skills to a new level as candidate for MLA in the Iqaluit-Sinaa riding in the Oct. 28 territorial election.
“I think I can make a difference,” Papatisie told Nunatsiaq News Sept. 23.
Papatsie announced four main issues as her campaign platform in a news release. These include:
• poverty reduction;
• communication and visible government; and,
• health issues.
Reducing poverty in Nunavut remains a major goal, and food insecurity — the main theme of Papatsie’s Facebook group — is a “big part” of reaching this goal of poverty reduction.
“Poverty reduction — simple programs like increased support programs for larger families within Nunavut. Make sure the Government of Nunavut continues to work on the Nunavut food strategy and poverty reduction team,” Papatsie said.
“They’ve been quite active on that… and [I would] keep supporting them to move forward with that,” she said.
Papatsie thinks better coordination can help the government find creative ways to reduce the cost of living in Nunavut, too.
An example she cites: Grise Fiord, where scientific research vessels sometimes bring goods up to the High Arctic community.
“So, they used that boat to bring supplies up, which was just a couple weeks ago. Frozen food, hunting gear, clothing so that the community of Grise Fiord is able to buy that a lot cheaper,” she said.
And more of this doubling up can happen if a “central communication hub” within the GN is created — that’s Papatsie’s idea.
This would be a place where all departments can report on ongoing projects and programs, and this could help the government become more efficient and maybe reduce living costs at the same time.
“We have lots of resources in Nunavut, different things going on, finding ways to connect to make it work,” Papatsie said.
But communication with Nunavummiut is also key for Papatsie — she said she wants “people to know what’s happening and what’s going to happen.”
“I plan to communicate with my riding. Before the [legislative assembly] sits, and after the [legislative assembly] sits. And finding ways to properly communicate with the public,” Papatsie said.
Communicating to the public is something Papatsie has already experienced through her popular creation, the Feeding My Family Facebook group. She said that group helped her make the decision to run.
“I’m all for doing something better, going for it, I’m about encouraging people to step up. And I thought, if I’m encouraging other people to step up, why not me?
“It just shows Nunavummiut, just to keep trying,” Papatsie said.
Papatsie is taking six weeks off without pay from her job as a public outreach and education officer at Parks Canada to run in the election.
Being a cabinet member or even premier isn’t something Papatsie is thinking about just yet. She said she’s taking “one step at a time” and that her focus is on “representing the Sinaa area.”
But Papatsie, a first-time candidate for MLA, said she’s hopeful she can win her riding.
“With the public, you never know what happens. I have no idea. I’m prepared for both [outcomes] either way.”