Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Sikand.
Welcome, Minister. It's good to see you. I was very pleased to hear you say in your opening comments that when it comes to infrastructure investment, “the status quo is no longer acceptable”.
I can't think of a jurisdiction where that's truer than in my riding of Nunavut, where a dollar down here is 33 cents up there, where the highest cost of doing anything up there is three times as much, and where we have only one out of 25 communities that is tax based.
I think there's a need to look at a base-plus funding model to be able to address those needs. It's no secret that we have a huge infrastructure deficit in Nunavut as a result of the ongoing traditional way of doling out investment on a per capita basis. We have the largest land mass, a small population, and high costs, with hardly any infrastructure.
One thing I've always said in terms of any investment in the north is that one important thing to remember is that for us everything we need for infrastructure comes from the south, so it is an investment in the north but it's also a significant investment in the southern economy as well.
When it comes to the infrastructure bank, I know that the northern premiers have said there should be a northern infrastructure bank. I guess I'm just wondering if there will be a portion of this that will be dedicated to northern infrastructure, and if they will be looking at a different way of making that investment, aside from the per capita basis.