We'll get started. It looks like we have everyone in the room, which is great.
Thank you very much for joining us today. We believe this will be our last witness session for the protected areas. We hope that there are still some written submissions coming in, but we are very grateful for the time that you've been able to spend to come in and be here directly. We really appreciate that commitment.
Gary Bull is here by video conference. I just want to make it clear that he is on the audio and can hear us, but he cannot see us. However, we can see him. It's going to perhaps be a little distracting because there's a little delay between the audio and the video. If it looks like it's becoming a problem for people, then we will drop the video and just do the audio.
Duane Smith is here by teleconference, so there is just audio for him.
I just want to introduce everyone who is in the room.
From Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, we have Duane Smith, the chair and chief executive officer. Then from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., we have Cathy Towtongie, president; Qilak Kusugak, director of implementation; Malaya Mikijuk, executive assistant; and Bruce Uviluq, legal negotiator.
Thanks to all of you for being here.
We have Gary Bull, professor at the University of British Columbia and head of the department of Forest Resources Management.
Then we have Jeremy Pittman from the University of Waterloo. He's a fellow of the Liber Ero Fellowship Program. I met with him earlier this week and suggested that he might want to come in front of the committee. Luckily, Cynara was able to organize that.
We have a full slate, so we'll get started. Duane, if you're willing, we would like to hear from you first.
Like it was stated, I am the chair and the CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. I think you have my presentation in front of you as well.
The Inuvialuit, Canada, and the two territorial governments are party to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, which is a comprehensive land claim agreement that was signed and came into force back in 1984, so we're talking about an agreement that's 32 years old now. It's commonly referred to as the IFA, and it's protected by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.
Three of the main goals from the IFA in relation to the objective of today's discussion are to preserve the Inuvialuit cultural identity and values within a changing northern society, to enable Inuvialuit to be equal and meaningful participants in the northern and national economy and society, and protect and preserve the Arctic wildlife environment and biological productivity. Although these three goals must work together, this presentation will focus on the IFA provisions and implementation of the last goal, which is part of the parliamentary committee's deliberations today.
With that, to give you some perspective, we've provided a map that shows the area that the IFA applies to within Canada. As you can see it's roughly one million square kilometres in size, and about two thirds of that is ocean. On that map we've also provided some of our private lands, which are referred to as 7(1)a, where we own surface and sub-surface, as well as 7(1)b lands, which are surface only. The three large green areas on the map are also the national parks that we've negotiated with the federal government to have created for various purposes.
I should point out that the Inuvik National Park was also created under the land claim, which was the very first one to be done under a land claim with negotiations between the governments and ourselves.
The next page will show you the range and use by the Inuvialuit people within the ISR, and for the different purposes. This one is showing the harvesting purposes that were used within the region, to give you some perspective as to the use by the Inuvialuit of the area.
The next map will show you, again, the different travelling routes and the land use and occupancy by the Inuvialuit people for other purposes again.
The next map will also show you, again, different purposes of our use of the region. The reason I'm emphasizing some of this is to show you the importance of the land, and the environment, and the ecosystem to the Inuvialuit people, and our continued use of the region through today. So sustainability and the preservation of the ecosystem is very crucial to our identity, our culture, and our well-being because that's where we get the majority of our nutrition.
With that, the next map will also show you the different categories of importance that we've put on the different land and water areas within the Inuvialuit settlement region.
The next one has two images that will provide you with further detail on significant areas where we conduct our harvesting activities.
To provide you with a little bit of detail on the Inuvialuit settlement region, there are four national parks within this area. The land mass that it encompasses is roughly between 55,000 and 60,000 square kilometres. We also have one marine protected area established, and we've been in negotiations and are near the final process to approve another with the federal government as well.
We have major bird sanctuaries within the ISR. We have a territorial park, which is on the Yukon coast, which people continue to utilize and travel over on a regular basis.
We also have one national historic site, recognizing the Inuvialuit contribution to Canadian society.
Along the North Slope, the area on the northern part of the Yukon, as it's referred to, we have the North Slope Wildlife Management Advisory Committee. Within that area, east of the national park, the land is withdrawn under a withdrawal order in the Inuvialuit final agreement, so no development can take place up in that region without our consent. This also applies to the government, if there was a decision to have that area opened up.
I made reference to the conservation plans that each of our communities has established for their harvesting areas, identifying the sensitivity of those areas to wildlife harvesting practices and habitats. This process is a guideline and a tool that can be used for that purpose. It is also a reference for environmental screenings and reviews that might be required within those areas.
I've already pointed out that we have surface and subsurface lands within these areas that we manage through our Inuvialuit Land Administration Commission.
My counterpart under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement is the Inuvialuit Game Council. Under that, the six communities have six hunters and trappers committees that monitor and manage harvesting and the sustainability of the ecosystem within the region.
The Inuvialuit was the first comprehensive land claim agreement to establish environmental and wildlife management boards. These boards have appointed representation from Inuvialuit, Canadian, and the territorial governments, and they are commonly referred to as co-management boards.
As well, we have the Environmental Impact Screening Committee, which screens all development proposals within the Inuvialuit settlement region. No development can proceed without being screened by this committee. The EISC may reject approval of terms and conditions or refer the development to the Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Review Board. The Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Review Board undertakes a comprehensive review of the development proposals referred to it and advises the minister on its findings. Under those two bodies, there's also federal and territorial representation, along with Inuvialuit, and they conduct those activities according to their mandate.
As well, we have a Wildlife Management Advisory Council for the Northwest Territories, which provides wildlife conservation advice to the appropriate ministry within its mandate. There is a similar Wildlife Management Advisory Council for the Yukon North Slope.
From the marine aspect, we have the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, or FJMC, and they provide advice to the federal minister on fish and marine habitat within the Inuvialuit settlement region.
We have a joint secretariat that provides administrative support and services to those co-management bodies I just made reference to.
The Inuvialuit are also concerned with the environment and the impacts on wildlife and beneficiaries, and we have undertaken several initiatives to ensure that the impacts are minimized to the greatest extent possible.
We have a community-based monitoring system to gather harvesting information that also provides us with the indicators of the changing ecosystem as well as predatory species that may be moving into the region, such as pink salmon. We found that they have come to the region en masse over this summer and fall, and this is the first time that's been seen.
We also have social, cultural, and economic indicators to measure the impact of development on beneficiaries. We've provided the website to you. We encourage you to look at it because it is cutting-edge information and a new way that should be looked at for assessing such indicators within different regions in Canada.
[Witness speaks in Inuktitut]
First of all, thank you so much for inviting us. My counterparts Bruce Uviluq and Qilak Kusugak are experts: one is a lawyer to be, and the other one has been involved with IIBAs right across Nunavut. We are prepared to answer any technical questions, and we mean business.
Thank you for your invitation. If you need to go up to Iqaluit or Nunavut, ask Malaya Mikijuk.
Before we start, Grise Fiord is a community that has 24 hours of darkness for about four months of the year. A new teacher just went up there and he asked his class, “Are you Canadians?” Everybody put up their hands, except two little guys. The teacher got very agitated, went up to them, and said, “If you're not Canadians, what are you?” They said, “Toronto Maple Leafs”. So, you will remember Grise Fiord and 24 hours of darkness.
We welcome your study into how federally protected areas and conservation objectives should be developed and pursued, keeping in mind both domestic obligations and priorities and international dimensions.
As you know, Nunavut is on international boundaries with the Northwest Passage, and we're getting a lot of interest, especially with the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror being found. So there is a lot of international interest.
Protected areas and conservation objectives are nothing new to Inuit. Inuit have been protecting land and conserving wildlife long before these words were ever invented. Their lives depended on it, and still do to this day, and that's the reason we were nomads.
We have inukshuks. Those inukshuks can direct wildlife where we want them to go, we can find fish where we want to find fish, and we can measure the islands, from the islands to the fish.
Before Inuit moved into settlements, entire families used to move to other areas for long periods of time so that the land and wildlife could recover. That's the reason we were nomads. The hunting shelters—igloos, as you say today—are just hunting shelters. The living headquarters Inuit occupied were called qagiit, and they were bigger than the size of this room. I've seen them in my lifetime. When Nunavut was formed in 1999, the experts wanted to show us how big the qagiits were.
This work, your work, is so important, particularly in Nunavut, which has 20% of Canada's land mass and 40% of Canada's coast. For any federal initiatives in relation to these matters, particularly the creation of a new network of marine protected areas, to be successful the Nunavut portions have to be worked out properly.
Let me begin with a few words about our organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., or NTI.
We are a not-for-profit federally incorporated company answerable to the Inuit of Nunavut. We're the organization that, across Canada, asked for the division of the territory.
We represent Nunavut Inuit for all purposes associated with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement that we signed with the crown in right of Canada in 1993, and it's not just with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, INAC, but with the whole of government: fisheries, INAC, foreign affairs. It's a constitutional agreement.
The Nunavut agreement is a bedrock feature of our larger and ongoing relationship with the crown and, through the crown, with Canada as a whole. It is a modern-day treaty agreement, but the Inuit-crown relationship is a valuable one: we are proud of being both Inuit and Canadian. First Canadians, and Canadians first. That is the term one of our leaders, Qilak's uncle, mentioned.
Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes the Nunavut agreement as a modern treaty or a land claim agreement. Alongside the constitutional status and protection of our agreement, subsections 2.12.2 and 2.12.3 of our agreement provide that our agreement prevails over any contrary federal laws, that the paramountcy of our agreement extends to all federal legislation, and this applies to Nunavut fisheries, oceans, resource management, and the like.
In addition to our treaty rights, Inuit have retained aboriginal rights in matters not governed by the Nunavut agreement. The Nunavut agreement, in the first preamble, says that we, the Inuit, hold sovereignty over Canada. We demanded it, we wanted it in the agreement, and it is in there. Ours is the only constitutional treaty agreement that mentions sovereignty.
Our responsibility at NTI is to ensure that the Nunavut agreement is respected and implemented. We take that responsibility very seriously. We do our best to carry out that responsibility. We have taken part in developing legislation to better implement the Nunavut agreement, and we have been willing to make amendments to the agreement when there is mutual value at stake.
I would point to the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act. These two acts have strengthened resource management and conservation structures and processes. It is always nice to report success.
On the other side of the ledger, I regret to report that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard have for many years blocked our overtures to work out comprehensive new fishery regulations that would have a direct and lasting conservation pay-off while offering full respect for Inuit rights. We live in hope that the federal government now in office will devote the focus and energy to chart a new course on that work.
The area governed by the Nunavut agreement includes all the marine areas between and adjacent to the islands and coasts of the eastern and central Arctic. Inuit are a primarily maritime people, and our use and occupation of marine areas has been as geographically extensive and as economically important, as is the case with land areas.
The Nunavut agreement has 42 articles, with well-defined rights and obligations. One part of the agreement, article 4, provides for the creation of the territory and Government of Nunavut.
On Inuit impact and benefit agreements, another distinctive part of the Nunavut agreement is in relation to parks and conservation areas, articles 8 and 9. These articles have a number of features that are of direct relevance to any initiative for the establishment of new marine protected areas in Nunavut. They require the negotiation of Inuit impact and benefit agreements, IIBAs, prior to the establishment of any new protected area in Nunavut.
I want to emphasize that point. Inuit and federal government representatives will have to negotiate and conclude IIBAs before any new protected areas or other forms of conservation areas or parks are created anywhere in Nunavut.
Negotiations of new IIBAs will not take place in a vacuum. Fortunately the Nunavut agreement provides detailed guidance on the expected contents of IIBAs.
It's okay, it's quite understandable.
I'll just go straight to the recommendations.
Before we start, historically, Inuit have different names for snow. Pukajaaq snow can give you certain hours of living, it's more condense. Minguliq snow is the type that Mount Everest climbers try to take without understanding that it is the most dangerous type of snow, wet snow. So when we speak about recommendations, we're talking about marine life, ice conditions, and snow, and you can take directions when you are in a blizzard from what we call uqaujaq snow.
So recommendation number one is that, in pursuit of new marine protected areas, priority should be given to prior negotiation and conclusion of the relevant IIBAs in full and to creative conformity with the requirements and opportunities set out in the Nunavut agreement.
Recommendation number two is, in the negotiation and conclusion of IIBAs governing marine-protected areas in Nunavut, the federal government accept the NTI proposal, which is outlined in the letter that was given to on September 13, 2016, to avoid administrative burdens. NTI has hired a drafter to draft Nunavut fisheries regulations, so the work has been done. Now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has to work with the Inuit to make sure those are implemented. Inflexibilities, expenses, and distraction have routinely undermined the value and efficiencies of earlier IIBAs.
Recommendation three is that the be encouraged to take up, at the earliest opportunity—and I'm asking you as the committee—that NTI proposal for the development of comprehensive new Nunavut fisheries regulations that provide for a more effective management regime. It's needed for Canada. We've gone through it with our own drafters, and now we want Canada to sit with us. We've come up with very concrete, objective proposals.
Thank you, Madam Chair, and I understand about the time. It happens a lot in Nunavut, too.
I feel very humbled by the former two speakers, because I think they have probably a lot more wisdom to impart to you than I have, being a mere academic. I've been asked to talk about things slightly differently, in terms of the role of the north and these protected areas in mitigating climate change. I will keep my comments very brief, in the interests of time.
I want to point out a few things. First of all, I think as we move forward to try to meet our international obligations under the Paris agreement, we will need to have biological solutions and not just engineering solutions. By this I mean that we have to look at what solutions the forests and lands—wetlands in particular and agricultural lands—will contribute towards our obligations. I will explore that for a little bit.
The second part of my presentation is to emphasize the importance of the aboriginal peoples' engagement and involvement with finding solutions, both for protected area conservation issues and as well for climate change issues.
Finally, I want to make some comments about policy certainty and the kinds of things I think need to be addressed.
On the forests and the reason I think looking at biological solutions to our climate change problems is important, if you look at the data from 2014 you'll see that forest fires in Canada contributed more emissions—and this is particularly from northern Canada—than all transportation emissions. This means that we're looking at 25% of emissions coming directly from natural processes. Many of these fires, of course, occurred where aboriginal people live.
We can't ignore these natural dynamics. We have similar challenges around insects. Whether it's mountain pine beetles, spruce beetles, or spruce budworms, we see emissions associated with these natural forces from these insects that also contribute a great deal to our emissions problem.
Finally, there's what we call pathogens or diseases, which also affect the health of the forest. Together, fire, insects, and disease probably are the single largest contributor to our emissions—even greater, frankly, than the tar sands.
In terms, then, of how we manage protected areas, I think it goes without saying that it doesn't mean no management. It means that we need to engage aboriginal people in the co-management of these vast areas and that we have to deal with some of these biological processes if we want to deal with the climate change problem.
I'm an economist by training. I will say that the neoclassical approach or the approach we've taken to land management generally in the north has been very hands-off, reflecting what we refer to as extensive management. That's no longer sufficient, if we really want to intervene and deal with some of the biological problems that I've outlined, the fire, insects, and disease.
The boilerplate solution that we can contribute from a forest point of view is to plant more trees. We can afforest more areas, we can reduce waste and emissions through sustainable forest management, we can use more wood in construction rather than concrete, steel, and aluminum, or we can use more wood for our energy. We have 136 aboriginal communities on diesel power plants in Canada, and all of them could be switched, in most cases to bioenergy.
I think there's a lot we can do that would be consistent with some of the goals that first nations and aboriginal communities have set up.
I can only briefly touch on wetlands and say that's 12% of the area of Canada. Within these wetlands, much of it in northern Canada, the melting or the warming in permafrost regions is going to lead to a lot of methane gases, which have high intensity with them as compared to CO2. This could be, as my son described it to me this morning, a methane bomb. When we are establishing a policy around protected areas, we are going to have to struggle with that issue. Unfortunately, from a science point of view, we understand very little about it, because we have very poor information and poor data.
There are solutions that are possible in protected areas by using different management techniques, such as biodegradable roads and wetland mitigation banking systems, that have been set up and that are pervasive in the U.S, and so on.
Finally, on the agricultural side, we know that agriculture contributes currently about 10% to our emissions in Canada, and much of that is concentrated in the prairie provinces. We do have to look at that, at the land uses that we undertake, and particularly at the use of fossil fuel-based fertilizers, animals, and what to do about methane.
There are a number of things that could be done. You may be aware of no-tillage policies, biochars, and more examination of “close to nature” agriculture. I do see in all these three areas that there are solutions. Let me emphasize that—and I'm dealing with this on an almost daily basis now—the future management of many of these national areas and protected areas has to be with aboriginal communities. Maybe, because I'm based in British Columbia, it's more intense here, but from what I heard on the call today, it's equally important in all the northern regions.
What do I recommend then in closing? We have to see these forests and wetlands as managed landscapes. Protected areas where you say there is no management is probably a figment of our imagination, and the aboriginal groups I've worked with don't look at parks as protected areas the same way as some environmental NGOs. I'm supporting them in saying we have to manage. I don't think the way we managed in the past is the way we want to move forward in the future, particularly if we want to meet our obligations for climate change.
I want to say that there is also a lot scope in development, and I guess this is where the universities play a role. Information technology, and what I would call bioengineering technology, could provide us with much cleaner solutions than we have looked at today.
Finally, because of my economics background, I want to say that one of the things that needs to be done in decision-making is to create what we call marginal abatement cost curves. That means we're going to have to rank projects and technologies, and decide how we should best spend our money. Unfortunately, in Canada, we're still behind on this. We don't have good marginal abatement costers yet, but I would tell you that from all the analysis I've done over the years, biological solutions are often much more cost effective than engineering solutions.
I'm not saying it's either-or, but I'm saying to please consider that in these protected landscapes they are part of the solution to the climate change problem from a biological point of view.
As Debbie was saying, my name is Jeremy Pittman. I'm a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo. I'm part of what's known as the Liber Ero fellowship program. That's an emerging network of young scholars across Canada doing post-doctoral research that's focused on conservation.
I want to thank you all for having me today, and thank the speakers who came before me for excellent presentations.
A bit about myself and what I study. The overarching question I look at is prairie-focused about how to promote sustainable landscapes in prairie spaces. More specifically, I'm from the province of Saskatchewan. I look in the southern part of Saskatchewan at how agricultural landscapes can become sustainable.
I consider the social aspects, and what I mean by that are the people, the ranchers, the farmers who earn their living from these landscapes, the sorts of things that influence their decisions and the sorts of things that matter to them. But I also consider ecological aspects, for example, how species move across landscapes, how different risks, invasive species, things like that—weeds—essentially move across landscapes. Most importantly, how can we integrate them together for the benefit of both? I take both into account and think about these things simultaneously as both social and ecological.
As a very important part of my work, I spend a lot of time in rural Saskatchewan speaking with producers, walking around their properties with them, getting a sense of how they see landscapes, what's important to them, and just really trying to understand their experiences and how they've addressed changing social and environmental conditions, and also how they see conservation fitting within their land management.
I'll speak a little about the problem of context. On the prairies, we're starting to recognize more the role of these private lands in advancing conservation of many species at risk. Some examples are the greater sage grouse; a fairly popular one, the burrowing owl, a very cute iconic species. Others are the Sprague's pipit, the swift fox, species like that. These lands play an increasingly recognized and increasingly important role in private lands' conservation, and essentially conservation in this context has become more of a friend to private landowners as something that's more approachable and something they can engage with more readily to help advance and spread conservation across the landscape.
Landowners make daily decisions that affect the conservation value of their properties, and we need to find more appropriate ways of engaging with them.
What's become apparent over the years has been a lot of history of environmental programs that have worked with varying degrees of success. One thing that I often hear from ranchers is this idea that they don't like prescriptions. They don't like things being determined from the outside that influences what they are doing in their operations. Without considering their ideas, their values, in terms of how you do conservation, I actually run the risk of pushing them away from conservation, alienating them from the processes, decisions, and losing the value that their lands can provide to conservation.
However, I do see, within the Species at Risk Act, section 11 in particular, opportunities for improving how we do conservation on private lands. In particular, the idea of conservation partnerships or agreements is really important. I've done a lot of work with local grassroots NGOs. In the prairies' context, they have a lot of watershed stewardship organizations, farmers, ranchers, sometimes the oil and gas industry, just a broad range of stakeholders. These groups have a lot of capacity to actually do more than you think. As well, they can be an important vehicle and a way of bridging connections with local places, local people.
In a really broad sense, I would recommend as three components that idea of engaging, hearing what's happening in a way that's responsive to local needs and priorities, but also it's the idea of crafting or building tools in collaboration with these groups and then essentially empowering them to implement, take ownership of the programs, roll these things out across the landscape.
In doing that, I have three key messages about how this could become operational.
First, there needs to be a firm demonstration of a willingness to listen and understand local priorities.
With respect to conservation decisions, people choosing to do conservation on their lands happens in the broader context of everything else that they're trying to deal with. I've had many conversations with ranchers. It starts off about species at risk and ends up with them talking about their family, the future of their communities, and things like that. I recall walking across a pasture with a rancher. He was chatting about how he deals with year-to-year variations in the amount of rain, and the grass, and how he has been trying to deal with the variations in his income. One thing he made clear, though, was that he sticks in the game. He keeps ranching just because he wants to be able to teach his children how to ranch, the same way his mother and father taught him. Some things are like how to manage your grass when you move your cows, and how to make sure you have grass for next year. They are simple but really important things, which he wants to pass on.
On that point, I propose that we can improve the success of some of these conservation partnerships by inherently recognizing from the beginning that conservation happens in this broader mix of priorities and different challenges that producers are facing.
In terms of empowering local people, conservation partnerships can be one of the best ways of fostering this kind of alignment with local values and local perspectives. In rural Saskatchewan, at the moment, there's some experimentation, some test pilots, with an interesting way of engaging with producers. We call it a results-based agreement, where essentially the habitat target that you're trying to meet is predetermined. Producers are allowed to meet that target however they see fit, so they can do what they want, that sort of thing. At the end of the year, at a set period, if they've met that target, based on some monitoring, that would trigger a payment or some sort of incentive to provide some recognition of what they're doing for conservation. At the same time, it gives them the flexibility to get there however they need to.
The final point that I want to touch on here today and something that I think is important is the idea that these partnerships can be a way of encouraging continual learning and improvement regarding conservation and sustainability in general on these landscapes.
I know of one older rancher in particular who spends hours a day researching sage grouse, and these sorts of things. He puts a lot of time into understanding the ecology of these species. He has friends who are scientists at Environment Canada who he'll engage with just to get the latest on what we think about Sprague's pipit, and stuff like that. Partnerships can be a way of using this desire and this drive to learn to help advance some of the best science in terms of what we know of conservation in prairie landscapes.
I suppose there is a lot of that. The lawsuit brought us to a certain point. The lawsuit existed for a reason. The reason was that we didn't feel at NTI that the federal government was holding up its end of the bargain.
At this stage, you're right, we have taken the time to review our past experiences, good and bad, which were relatively new in a lot of areas at those times. We were able to extract some of the positive experiences but also to recognize many of our challenges along the way.
Not complying with or not implementing obligations is a major hurdle for us. It's hard to swallow; it's hard to move forward when past obligations have not been met. We've had discussions on marine protected areas. We're stretching ourselves a little thin to have those discussions when we're also fighting on the front of trying to encourage government to meet those previous obligations. On top of that, we have funding issues, issues with the way in which IIBAs are funded.
I would like to state that IIBAs are really not what we do. We do IIBAs that are protected under the Nunavut agreement and the Constitution. It's important for us to have confidence that our partners at the federal level are willing to engage in proactive discussions as well as being able to rectify previous issues.
We have discussions on national historic sites; that is a current issue that we have. Then, going back to the funding issue, the sheer administrative burden that contribution agreements place on our finance departments simply does not make sense to us. We know and should indicate to you that we're a low-risk organization to work with.
I hope I answered your question. I got the red card from the chair.
The people I represent are hunters and trappers. On Baffin Island we put a moratorium on caribou, because we saw the herds declining. We rely heavily on the animal population, not only for our food but for our clothing. Therefore, when Canada wants to put out exploration permits, they have a duty to consult.
When permits are handed out without our input, you get cases like Clyde River, where seismic becomes an issue. In that area, you have the bullhead calving grounds. There are a lot of other situations—sea mammals, such as narwhals, which southern Canada does not have—that we have to pay attention to.
We have the best management system in the world for animals, but we get concerned when we see other first nations or other aboriginal groups overhunting. We have to maintain a balance with the environment, the ecosystem.
In the Paris talks agreement, Canada gave $22 billion over 10 years for climate change to non-industrialized countries. The Arctic should be considered a non-industrialized country. Climate change is affecting us today.
When our sea oceans and our shorelines are eroding, we are flooding islands around the equator—seven times. One of the places is Tulum, and I met with the president of Tulum.
Canada, in and of itself, has to pay attention to Nunavut, to our homeland. Exploration permits cannot be focused on the profit bottom line. They have to be thought of in a creative, innovative way so that the wealth of the ocean is distributed properly. That's based on capitalism. How do we do it? How does Canada do it?
Canada is known as an extracting country for mine permits. If we had opened the uranium mine that we said no to, it would have given $10 billion to the gross national product of this country, but we need time. How much time? Give us at least five to 10 years, so we can look at the industry. We want development to happen, but it has to be balanced with the sustainability of our environment.
When I come down here to the cities, the earth is not breathing. You have a lot of concrete, cement. You get floods and snows. That will increase, unless we see a sustainable management process in our country. I think that's realistic, and that's my expectation of this committee.