Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to appear before your committee and to speak briefly on the subject of northern economic development from an environmental perspective.
Environment Canada has a mandate to protect the environment, conserve Canada's natural heritage, and provide weather and environmental prediction to keep Canadians informed and safe. Environment Canada's expertise and services are recognized on the international stage on issues ranging from the management of contaminants and toxic substances to the monitoring of sea ice, biodiversity, and weather conditions.
I'll start with the department's environmental protection role as a regulator. Our department regulates a range of activities under a number of pieces of legislation. These include the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, under which we we have authority to regulate emissions of toxic substances, such as mercury, among other things. As the north is a repository for a number of long-range pollutants, the regulations that we make across the country have a significant impact on protecting the northern environment.
As well, under the Fisheries Act we administer the pollution prevention provisions of section 36 of that act, as well as developing sector-specific regulations, such as the metal mining effluent regulations. We work in close collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on these provisions to protect fish habitat and the water quality of the north.
Environment Canada is also involved in environmental assessment. We provide expertise and knowledge about the environmental impact of proposed developments in areas such as water quality, air quality, the protection of migratory birds and protection of endangered species.
As you well know, the north is rich in natural resources, and jurisdictions are seeking to exploit these resources for the benefit of northerners. However, environmental implications of resource development must be taken into account. Some of the environmental impacts of these types of projects are addressed through existing regulations, such as the metal mining effluent regulations or the Fisheries Act. Others are addressed through the project land and water board permits, including requirements associated with waste and waste water management and with monitoring local and downstream effects.
We can expect the number of environmental assessments we undertake to increase in the coming years, as Environment Canada has experience working with other federal departments to streamline the environmental assessment process and the regulatory approvals process.
One of the key questions being raised in environmental assessments of projects is the impact that climate change will have in the north. Global climate models predict that warming will accelerate, with the greatest temperature and precipitation changes happening in the winter. Melting permafrost and rising sea levels have several implications for developers in the north. For example, the stability of roads, buildings, and pipelines is decreasing; the retention ponds that contain mine waste are weakening; the shorelines are eroding at an increasing rate, putting installations at risk. Project proponents will need to design for these changes.
In addition to climate change science and prediction, Environment Canada and other federal science departments support research on adaptation and technical solutions to protect the environment in a changing future climate.
I'll now turn to my colleague, Virginia Poter, who is director general of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
I will now speak to Environment Canada's conservation regulatory and program responsibilities.
Not only does the Arctic have an abundance of non-renewable resources, the Arctic has a wealth of wildlife and habitat. Responsibility for wildlife in Canada is shared. The federal government is responsible for aquatic species, migratory birds, species at risk, and species found on federal lands. Environment Canada is responsible for migratory birds and is the lead for the implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
The Arctic supports globally significant populations of many birds who migrate and breed in dense numbers and rely upon access to relatively undisturbed landscapes. As development occurs across the north, this access will become more limited and will require hard decisions. Sustainable development is about balance. In the north, Environment Canada contributes to land use planning efforts led by INAC that seek to make these types of trade-offs. The department also protects birds through the implementation of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act as well as other acts and regulations already mentioned.
The Arctic also supports iconic species like the polar bear. Canada is home to about two-thirds of the world's population, or about 15,500 bears. Climate change is leading to decreased sea ice, less habitat, and less access to prey, as well as to increasing Arctic development such as oil and gas development and marine shipping that are threats to this species. Consultations are under way across the north as polar bears are being considered by the Minister of the Environment for listing under the Species at Risk Act.
You may have heard that Minister Prentice signed a memorandum of understanding with Greenland and Nunavut this past weekend to support the conservation of the shared populations of polar bears, and to further the polar bear round table he hosted last January. This is a significant step, which will promote sustainable hunting quotas while recognizing the importance of this species to the aboriginal way of life and its contribution to the northern economy.
In addition to programs and regulations focused on species, Environment Canada also has a network of protected areas. These include national wildlife areas designated under the Canada Wildlife Act and the migratory bird sanctuaries designated under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. This network is supporting conservation of Arctic biodiversity and contains critically important habitat for marine and terrestrial species at risk as well as migratory birds.
Environment Canada is continuing to expand its northern network. In cooperation with INAC, we are sponsoring up to six new protected areas in the Northwest Territories and we are in the process of designating new protected areas in Nunavut under a recently signed Inuit impact and benefit agreement under the Nunavut land claim agreement. These programs rely on community support. Communities are engaged in the selection of the sites and will participate with the federal government in a co-management regime once the sites are established. The Inuit impact and benefit agreement also contains provisions to assist in the development of ecotourism opportunities and mentoring of Inuit youth in these areas.
In closing, I would like to underscore that Environment Canada strongly supports the Government of Canada's northern strategy, and continues to contribute to effective environmental stewardship in the north.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and committee members, for your time. We are open for questions.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.
I am going to be following through on the presentation deck.
On page 2 is the Parks Canada mandate. This was the legislative direction for the agency passed under the Parks Canada Agency Act in 1998. You'll see there are a lot of close parallels between this particular mandate and the work and aspirations of aboriginal people all across the north.
On page 3 is a list of the national parks north of 60, either totally or partially. Canada has one of the largest national park systems in the world. These parks certainly contribute toward our Arctic presence throughout Canada.
On the following page is a list of some of the national historic sites that Parks Canada manages. I would like to draw particular attention to Saoyu and Aehdacho, a national historic site located on the shores of Great Bear Lake. It was a national historic site created as a result of the collaboration with the Government of the Northwest Territories and also as a result of the comprehensive land claim agreement with the Saoyu, Dene, and Métis organizations.
Certainly all the national parks and any of the new national historic sites in the north are directed and built on the basis of comprehensive land claim agreements as they are signed.
Parks Canada takes very much of a cooperative approach toward working in the north. We treat aboriginal people as privileged partners, not as stakeholders.
It's our view that the most important way to build relationships with people in the north is to start with very personal and one-on-one relationships, building with elders, band chiefs, councils, and with our staff on the ground. Then we take that, and over a period of time we can gain some trust and respect in terms of moving forward at a greater level to build institutional relationships between the Parks Canada Agency and the aboriginal organizations.
This is critical, because in just about every one of our park operations in the north, the management arrangement is a cooperative with either the Inuit, the Inuvialuit, or first nations organizations. We believe that's a very powerful approach toward governance in northern Canada.
Parks Canada is a place-based organization. By that I mean we need to be on the land to be relevant, to understand the nature and the history of those regions, and we also need to be in the communities. It's not good enough for us simply to be located in Ottawa or even in the capitals of the territories. That's important. Our view is that you can't understand the communities and the wants and needs of northern peoples, especially aboriginal peoples, if you are not living and working in those communities.
The next slide gives you a sense of the kinds of places where our employees are working throughout the north. We are very proud of the work of our employees. Many of them are beneficiaries. As an example, we employ around 335 people in the north. A significant number of them are beneficiaries, aboriginal employees.
In Nunavut, 55% of our staff are Inuit beneficiaries. In the western Arctic, 55% of our staff are Inuvialuit. In the southern part of the Northwest Territories, 55% of our staff are aboriginal. In the Yukon, 22% of our staff are aboriginal beneficiaries.
In terms of the long-term presence, I have spoken about employment. In terms of relationships, I wanted to say again how important that is. From a traditional knowledge point of view, one of the key things in our organization is that we need to look at traditional knowledge as a key piece of decision-making.
It cannot be looked at as simply an add-on to western, science-based knowledge. It needs to be referred to and respected in its own right. To help build that knowledge, we work very closely with aboriginal elders, with schools, and with teachers to provide opportunities for local students and youth to get back onto the land and become reconnected with their culture and their traditional ways of life.
In terms of its contribution to local economies, Parks Canada is a major partner in tourism in the north. Not only do we have a number of parks that are tourist attractions in their own right, but we also work with aboriginal organizations and with private sector guiding and outfitting companies to help provide tourist services. And we provide both of those in the communities: we provide exhibitry and displays at airports and other points of access into the north.
Those opportunities for employment are continuing, and support for northern development has been steadily increasing with Parks Canada's operations as they grow.
One of the key things we've been working on over the long term is capacity-building, Mr. Chair. I'd like to highlight the aboriginal leadership development program of Parks Canada. It's a ten-year-old program designed to provide opportunities for aboriginal employees from across the country to attend a four-year program.
That program is based out of the Yukon. It's an opportunity for people to learn leadership skills in an aboriginal-based culture. The work we provide to them Is very challenging physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, but we think this is a key way to build capacity, and not only in Parks Canada: many of those staff will go on to work with other territorial governments, with other federal departments, even with northern communities, or go back to their own bands. We find that building that kind of capacity is critical for our organization's success in working with our aboriginal partners.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, I'd like to raise two points. In our view, environmental protection and economic development go hand in hand in the north. Because of the location of many of our national parks and national historic sites, this is a critical opportunity to achieve healthy, sustainable communities, particularly for some of the small, more remote and isolated northern communities. There are often no other kinds of economic activity available in those areas, so this helps provide for a sustainable community in the north.
I thank you for your time.
Mr. Chair and members of the committee, it's a pleasure to be here today to discuss the role and mandate of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and the contributions we make to northern economic development.
My name is David Burden. I am the Associate Regional Director General for the Central and Arctic Region of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Joining me today are Mr. Wade Spurrell, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region and Mr. Barry Briscoe, the Regional Director of Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk.
I would like to start off by first providing a little background and context. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is mandated to develop and implement policies and programs for Canada's scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.
DFO's activities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in support of economic development include science, such as the Canadian Hydrographic Service's activities to support stock assessment, emerging fisheries, and safe and accessible waterways, which are carried out using our coast guard fleet assets; fisheries management, in cooperation with institutions of public governance established under the land claim agreements; small craft harbours, to support existing and emerging fisheries; oceans, focusing on ecosystems management, such as marine protected areas and large ocean management; and finally habitat management, or more precisely, major project monitoring and environmental assessment in support of resource development.
I understand your committee is looking for a regional perspective on the north, and I think we can provide that. While the Central and Arctic Region is responsible for our program delivery and operations in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, our operations also include Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, as well as the Yukon North Slope. This is one of the largest regions in any government department, extending from Prescott, Ontario, in the east to the British Columbia and Alaska borders in the west.
My remarks today will focus on the work Fisheries and Oceans Canada is undertaking in the support of the economic development in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
The economic drivers in the north come from the use and extraction of land- and water-based resources, and the absence of traditional agricultural and forestry sectors places a higher level of importance on aquatic and land-based renewable and non-renewable resources, such as the fishery, mining, and oil and gas resources.
Another element that is fundamental to our program activities is the northern land claims process. The land claims agreements legislate authorities and the responsibilities of the partners and insist on user involvement in shared decision-making. This, of course, ensures that opinions are heard in a consultative process and that decisions integrate traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge. Making users part of a decision makes it relevant to the circumstances and has the added benefit of giving ownership and community support to the decision.
Overlaid against this regulatory and governmental complexity, we must also contend with climate change, receding polar ice, rising global demand for resources, and the prospect of longer economic shipping seasons—all factors that will reshape the north in the coming decades and create both new opportunities and challenges. While there remains some debate as to how quickly some of these challenges will occur, there is broad agreement that they will be transformational and will affect significantly the work of a number of federal government departments and agencies, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard.
With this as a backdrop, let's look at some of our work.
Environmental assessment in support of economic development initiatives is an important focus for our department. There are currently seven major projects under active environmental assessment in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. As well, the department is engaged in the pre-environmental assessment stage for an additional 15 projects. Our participation in the environmental assessments conducted in the north ensures that the review of potential impacts upon fish and fish habitat is transparent and receives the benefit of public input.
Merging regulatory responsibilities with economic prosperity objectives is often challenging, particularly when communities rely on land- and water-based natural resources as their economic drivers. In the Northwest Territories, DFO is responsible for environmental monitoring for three diamond mines. In 2008, the total value of the mineral, oil, and gas shipments from existing operations in the Northwest Territories was nearly $2.8 billion. DFO has a cross-sectoral team, with dedicated resources working on the proposed 1,400-kilometre Mackenzie gas pipeline. The panel hearings, as this committee will know, have been completed, and the joint panel report is pending.
We are also actively engaged in environmental assessments for mining projects in the north with expected capital costs of $7.5 billion and employment of more than 4,000 people. Environmental assessments for projects of this magnitude are time-consuming and costly, particularly in the Arctic, where travel and meeting with local stakeholders is logistically difficult and very expensive.
Fisheries and the oceans are also of immense importance to the north. Specifically, in the East Baffin communities, life essentially has evolved for centuries around marine and mammal populations and continues to do so. Income from the harvest of seal pelts has been thwarted by public and media stories that view the seal harvest as inhumane, and international markets have been depressed because of the European Union ban, which has significantly affected prices.
The Government of Canada regulates the seal hunt on the basis of sound conservation principles and ensures it is conducted in a safe and humane manner. The government has made every effort to counter the misinformation upon which anti-sealing campaigns are based, and it will continue to do so in the most appropriate manner.
The recreational fishery in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut is also very important. In 2005 more than 5,600 anglers, many of whom were non-residents, contributed more than $17 million to the northern economy.
A commercial fishery is also being developed in the eastern Arctic. The main species harvested are Greenland halibut or turbot, northern shrimp, and Arctic char. Moving farther westward, in the Northwest Territories the main species harvested are whitefish, lake trout, northern pike, and walleye. The estimated landed value in 2006 for freshwater fisheries from Great Slave Lake was approximately $610,000. The Great Slave Lake fishery has been a viable fishery since 1945, but economic factors have depressed the fishery over the last decade.
Although these fisheries are small in comparison to those in other areas of Canada, they are equally important in the north. The fishing sector represents one of a limited number of emerging economic and employment opportunities in the north. Commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean has been limited by a lack of harbour infrastructure. As part of the economic action plan, the government has allocated an additional $17 million to expand harbour facilities at Pangnirtung, to enable additional development of this commercial fishery as well as to meet domestic and re-supply needs in the community.
Fully 99% of the landed value of the Arctic fishery comes from the emerging fishery in Nunavut. For the Nunavut economy, the landed value of the commercial fishery accounts for about 5% of Nunavut's GDP. When government expenditures on goods and services are removed, this is equal to the same period in Newfoundland, in which the fishery contributed 4.8% to the provincial economy.
The presence of the Canadian Coast Guard in the Arctic is critical to the north, and this will become increasingly important in the coming years with expected growth in marine traffic. The coast guard has full responsibility to respond to ship-source marine spills that occur north of 60, and swift response to spills, however small, is critical given the fragile nature of the marine ecosystem in our Arctic.
In addition to rapid air transportable kits in Hay River, the coast guard has some 11 Arctic community packs positioned strategically throughout the north that can be deployed as required. This year with the health of the oceans initiative, its environmental response infrastructure will be further enhanced with shore kits, beach flush components, additional containment boom, and small vessels.
I would also like to underline the general involvement the coast guard brings to economic development in the north. For several years, the coast guard has been involved with re-supply and bringing materials to the Arctic that are inaccessible to commercial vessels.
Last, although certainly important, is sovereignty. For several months of the year, the coast guard vessels are often the sole federal marine presence seen in Canada's Arctic. Once the agency's new polar class icebreaker comes on stream in about eight years, the presence will be lengthened to a full nine months a year.
Coast guard icebreakers are making it possible to map Canada's continental shelf in support of our claim to extend this country's exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. If we are successful in defending our claim, this will further the economic opportunities in our northern waters.
Mr. Chairman, I hope l've been able to give you some sense of the way in which our department and the Canadian Coast Guard are working to contribute to the economic development of the Arctic. We would be pleased to take any of your questions.
As Mr. Connell said, I am responsible for policy and communications for Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.
As you know, the Economic Action Plan provides for $225 million in funding for Industry Canada to design and implement a strategy to extend broadband coverage to as many unserved and underserved homes as possible. Broadband communication service means a minimum downloading speed of 1.5 megabytes per second. We will therefore be providing a unique stimulus to support the expansion of infrastructure in regions where it is not profitable for the public sector to go ahead using only its own resources.
The program is technology-neutral and will accept a variety of wireline and wireless technology solutions, such as fibre, DSL, cable, and wireless networks, including satellite.
Broadband Canada will fund up to 50% of eligible project costs on a one-time basis—a one-time non-repayable contribution—and the projects will be selected through a competitive application process.
First nations communities can apply for more than 50% federal funding. While they can only apply for 50% from the Broadband Canada program, they can apply for the other 50% funding from programs such as INAC's first nations infrastructure fund or from Infrastructure Canada.
The first step of the program was an extensive mapping of current broadband availability across the country. This extensive exercise was undertaken in consultation with provinces, territories, the CRTC, and other federal partners, using publicly available data.
On July 6 we launched a website inviting individual Canadians and ISPs to validate the mapping data we'd compiled. Over 2,100 individual Canadians provided feedback and 65 ISPs provided updated coverage information to the program. On July 30, announced the program and unveiled the national broadband map in Adstock, Quebec. Using this mapping information, we can avoid funding projects in areas that already have broadband service or that will have broadband service shortly through other initiatives.
For the purposes of the program, the country was divided into 64 geographic service areas using census division data from Statistics Canada, as well as our own information from the mapping exercise.
Applicants must demonstrate they have a long-term sustainability strategy for the broadband service, for a minimum of five years, and have a proven track record of project management in the deployment of broadband initiatives.
Where provincial initiatives already exist to bring broadband connectivity to 100% within the next 12 to 18 months, no eligible service areas were defined.
According to the CRTC, 6% of Canadians currently do not have access to broadband service. That figure jumps to 22% for Canadians living in rural areas, and our mapping data indicate that 34% of the population of the north—all of whom are in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories—are either unserved or underserved.
Most of those 34% are underserved, meaning they have access to Internet connectivity, but at speeds between dial-up and 1.5 megabytes per second. This is a result of satellite investments from the national satellite initiative, which had been funded from Industry Canada, and now by the Canadian Space Agency and Infrastructure Canada over the past five years.
Thank you all for coming and for your good presentations. I'm glad you're here, because your departments can help the economy in the north.
Unfortunately, over the last couple of decades each of your departments has actually done some things that are counterproductive in that respect. In Parks Canada, there's been the huge issue from the drastic cuts—and I know those were before your time. Parks Canada was a big part of the economy in the north, and there were big cuts to its staff and capital.
In fisheries, there was an unscientific attack on the placer industry, which thank goodness is over.
In Industry Canada, of course, there were three full-service offices, one in each territory, with seven or eight staff dealing with all parts of the economy, and those were closed. So that wasn't at all helpful.
I have some specific questions on specific problems we're facing today—not in the past. On fisheries, our chinook and king salmon have fallen with the other salmon species, and I've been lobbying your department to take extensive action to fight the pollock bycatch in the Bering Sea and also to do more research in the ocean, where the fish are disappearing.
Can you tell me what additional resources in the last couple of years you've put into those battles?
Thank you for being here.
When we embarked on this economic study of northern development, I didn't think we would get so much information. I don't know where to start, there are so many things...
Of course that's wrong, I know where to start. I am first going to quote a sentence we find in the Parks Canada document: "Environmental protection and economic development can go hand-in-hand." I have some difficulty agreeing with that statement. You are going to have to persuade me of it.
The problem is that it seems that everyone does their little thing in their own corner. All of you who are here before us and who represent Industry Canada, Environment Canada, Parks Canada, do you talk with each other, is there consultation, is there coordination, if someone wants to do some sort of development in the north, or does everyone stay in their little box? That concerns me.
I will not be going on the first trip, but I am going to go to Iqaluit. On our trip last year we went to Pagnirtung. At that time, I asked the mayor of the village, a rather elderly man, a single question. I will never forget what he told me. I asked him what was the one thing we should do for him and his community? His answer bowled me over. He told me that we should pick up our garbage. How can we do that in the north?
There are containers abandoned all along the coast. I saw dozens and dozens in Iqaluit. Everywhere I went in the north there were containers lying around. Is there some way of picking up the garbage? I'm asking you this question and I won't have any more. What can I tell the mayor of Pagnirtung? That is not really consistent with northern development.
I would like to hear comments from the Parks Canada representative first.
First, in terms of coordination, we do things as a government to try to make sure that we're coordinated in the north. At the deputy minister and assistant deputy minister levels, we do have committees that exist only to have departments come to them and develop joint actions and joint policies for the north. That's been active for a number of years to try to make sure we're not doing things that are counter or contrary to what other departments would be doing.
Generally, though, we do deliver our programs with either key departments that are partners or on our own, within our mandate. We coordinate with the other departments, but then we tend to deliver on our own.
We have another major new initiative for coordinating in the north around major industrial developments or major projects that are going through the environmental assessment and project approval regime--i.e., a major mine that's being developed, a port, something like that. The government recently announced a northern project management office. The purpose of that is to get all the departments that are involved in the environmental evaluation and approval of that project, be it a port or a mine, to come together and coordinate that environmental assessment process so that we're all moving it along at a diligent pace.
We've been doing that in the south for a little over a year. The government recently announced this northern equivalent that's just getting up and going now.
In terms of waste management, I guess from Environment Canada's perspective our main interest or our main mandate area of waste management in the north is on a slightly larger scale. We're involved in contaminated sites remediation in the north. The government has announced $3.5 billion to remediate contaminated sites that the federal government has an interest in.
I don't have all the statistics in front of me, but in the Northwest Territories, for instance, there are 728 sites that are being--
I thank the witnesses.
First of all, Mr. Chair, I apologize to you, to the committee, and to our witnesses for being late. I had coverage for the first hour and then was further delayed by another committee obligation.
I feel bad about that, because the groups that are here today are in my wheelhouse, so to speak, on so many levels coming from the great Kenora riding, of course, with some of its challenges around parks and, perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, fisheries. But with Industry Canada and Parks Canada, we face challenges that are not too dissimilar to those of the vast regions in the Northwest Territories. Indeed, I had a chance to live up there in my former life as a nurse and can appreciate some of the more obvious challenges.
I've had a chance to do a cursory review of some of the speeches that were made here and of some of the information. I'll try to keep my questions somewhat general.
I am the chair of the all-party tourism caucus, so I also have an interest in what, if anything, we can do as MPs in a government to raise the profile of various regions. Obviously I bring to this a real interest in the bigger regions of Canada. I noted the Vancouver Olympics that we have this spring. One of the things that we were trying to do through the caucus was to get MPs motivated to help us come up with ideas about how to raise the profile of some of the lesser-known bigger regions in Canada.
In the instance of the territories and certainly of the Arctic, the inukshuk, to some extent, is a symbol that's been sort of.... I don't want to say it's been taken, but it's been used for the Vancouver Olympics. I don't always arrive in Vancouver and think of that, but it is nonetheless a gateway to Whitehorse.
I'm wondering if anybody would like to comment on whether there's been a special opportunity to raise the profile of those regions through your departments with respect to the Olympics, with brief answers to that, if you could, and then I'll move forward on some specific challenges and successes moving forward. It may or may not be related to the Olympics.
Thank you very much, all of you, for being here today. I have two comments and two questions.
First, I personally feel that many first nations communities are being set up for failure because they don't have the capacity to be able to do what they're asked to do. I'll share with you an innovative thing we're doing in my riding. We have a relationship with post-secondary institutions to use their senior post-graduate people and utilize those people to provide and build capacity in first nations communities--for example, if they need to have business plans, or if they need to find economic development. It's an inexpensive way of actually enabling them to have access to the types of capabilities they need. I share that with you as something that may be useful.
Second, I spent a fair bit of time with wildlife officers and anti-poaching patrols in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. As you know, they were very innovative in actually marrying up and looking at their wild spaces as a way to utilize and develop resources and create jobs, particularly in rural areas. If you haven't, and I'm sure you have, I ask you to take a look at what they've done there in terms of being able to utilize these wild spaces, particularly in northern Zululand. They've created jobs and utilized those wild spaces in a very economically successful way and have essentially been able to generate the funds for the expansion of habitat as well as create the resources for jobs, primary health care, and education in rural areas.
My two questions are to Parks Canada. The division of labour issue is a very serious issue with our wildlife officers right now. I personally think it puts them in a very compromised situation. I would ask if you could share with us what has been done to actually decrease the siloing in duties, so that a wildlife officer can deal with situations where they need to deal with errant wildlife--they also deal with tourists--where they can actually have quick access to being armed, frankly, for their protection, and also the way they are identified. The removal of their slashes has caused a problem and in fact puts their lives in danger when RCMP officers see somebody carrying around a shotgun who is not identified as a wildlife officer. This compromises their lives. I implore you to take a look at that for the safety of our wildlife officers.
Last, has anything been done to decrease the speed of trains through our wildlife corridors, particularly in blind corners, to decrease the mortality of some of our large mammal species?