Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Amos and Madam Chair.
Welcome to both of you. It's good to see you again.
In your comments, Mr. Lavallée, you said that “the bank should take into account the specific challenges of developing infrastructure” and that “the bank should also consider how it can contribute to the government's commitment to achieve reconciliation”.
What specifically are you looking at in those areas to take that into account? It just says “should”; it doesn't say “shall”.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
Mr. Campbell, you said you were recently up in my hometown of Rankin Inlet. The folks from Agnico Eagle were here presenting before the committee, along with—at a different time—the Kivalliq Inuit Association. One of the projects that they're looking at moving forward is the Manitoba-Kivalliq hydro and fibre project. One of the challenges was being able to attract some private sector investment. They've indicated that they have that. I'm just wondering if that's something that's moving along through either of your processes to be considered.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Maybe I won't stop, Madam Chair. Thanks.
Voices: Oh, oh!
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Welcome. It's good to see you again.
In listening to your stories, it seems like it could be our premier saying the same thing for Nunavut. It's one thing the Inuit have in common, I guess. We've been ignored for far too long by the federal government.
I guess you want to talk about the infrastructure deficit. I can totally relate. We're in the same kayak, if you want to say that, right? Do you think the federal government needs to focus more directly with the Nunatsiavut government, the Nunavut government and the governments of the jurisdictions to come up with something to address that infrastructure deficit insofar as what your priorities are and in dollars that will actually get something done quickly?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thanks, Mike and Madam Chair.
I have a couple of things.
Maybe I'll start with you, Mike.
With regard to the support for the Kivalliq hydro and fibre link going north, KIA's David Ningeongan was here last week, appearing before us and pitching the project. You've been around a long time. I know that. We were both a lot younger in Churchill in those days.
The positive economic impact that a project like that would have, not only on the Kivalliq region, but also on Churchill and the communities along the line coming up in Manitoba....
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
Maybe I'll just ask my good friend Jackie. I know Larry talked earlier about the effects of climate change. I know some of the challenges of getting stuff by barge from Hay River up to the Arctic Ocean and our communities, including yours, with the low water levels on the Mackenzie River, and a lot of that has to do with climate change.
You're talking about having a port in Tuk and trucking stuff up there and shipping stuff out from there. Do you think that would be a much more reliable solution, with what's happening with the Mackenzie River?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Rusnak.
Welcome, David.
David is from my hometown. This project he's presenting for us today was probably something that was being talked about when we were teenagers running around Rankin Inlet. That's how long it's been on the books.
Much as we heard earlier, there's a lack of infrastructure. This type of infrastructure will open up the northern region to considerable economic growth and economic development, and will help create and maintain a sustainable economy in the north.
This has been talked about for a long time, and I know your study is well under way. What are some of the key things right now that are critical to getting from where we are now to where we need to get to, to get over the finish line and be able to provide the region with cheap energy and fibre connection?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
For that project it seems as though the stars are all aligning and everything is taking shape where you're having private sector investment plus industry, as they are already operating and willing to contribute to the project as well.
In your comments you mentioned that what you have set up right now with them would help the federal government, with their support, to leverage a considerable amount of private sector funding.
Do you have an idea of what kinds of numbers we're looking at as far as how significant the private sector investment budget for this project would be?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Okay. I know that's always been one barrier: Where's the support from the private sector, rather than not just relying 100% on the government?
Do you have a ballpark figure, like 40%, 50%, or 60%, or whatever it would be, that would come from the private sector, where a portion of the project funding from the federal government would be leveraged from the private sector?
Thank you.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, Mr. Harvey, for sharing your time.
My first question is for Mr. Hutton. You talked about how you're developing this multimodal Arctic transportation policy framework to put yourself in a better position to address our needs.
When do you expect this to be done?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
As you mentioned, and everyone knows, air and marine transportation are our only two modes of transportation. Are you consulting with the folks who work up there in those industries and provide those services to us in the north? They're the ones with first-hand knowledge of the challenges and issues that they face on a daily basis. Will you be consulting with them as well?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Are you looking at talking to the airline industry folks as well? I know there are some changes being made right now in some of the regulations on flight duty time that are impacting their operations. Will you be talking with them about any challenges they face, which can help you deal with it?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you very much.
I'll move on to Mr. Lick. It's good to see you, sir.
I'll just start by saying that I appreciate all the investments that have been made by the Coast Guard in the north. The rescue boat that was there for the trade show in Rankin Inlet was a big hit. It was great.
You talked about these caches that you have, and I know they are in a number of different communities around the north. One, are you looking at expanding to more communities as the ice seems to be opening up more? Two, how often do you go around to these communities and work with either the local hunters and trappers organization or the municipality on looking at the equipment and what's there, and some instruction on how to use it as well?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'll turn it back over to Mr. Harvey.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Amos.
Welcome to the witnesses. My question is for Ms. Joe and Mr. Grondin.
Francyne, you talked about self-determination, participating members, the overrepresentation, and all the social ills. I think, Mr. Grondin, you discussed that as well. It's no secret in my riding in Nunavut, and, I'm sure, in any indigenous community across the country.... A lot of these problems, I look at them as effects. To address the cause, I've always said that we need to make sure people's basic needs are met. I think for 150 years now that hasn't happened. We've been kind of choked off at the wallet. You talk about addressing some of these issues, obtaining self-determination, and ensuring that Canada is falling in line with the rights of indigenous people. I think, Mr. Grondin, you mentioned that we need not just cosmetic but deep changes, financial changes.
Do you think there needs to be a significant investment from Canada in all indigenous communities to make those changes? We hear all the time that we can't afford it, but my view is that we can't afford not to. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
How much time do I have?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Maybe before I go on, Mr. Grondin, there was my previous question. I don't know if you remember it, but it looked like you wanted to respond. I'll give you a chance. Do you remember it?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
I think it's not only high-quality services, it's basic services.
I won't have time, Mr. Fox, but I know in Nunavut we have a very good regulatory regime that developed under a land claims agreement and a regulatory regime that involves the federal government, the territorial government, and Inuit organizations. I'm wondering if you've thought of setting up something like that—
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Gary.
Welcome to both ministers. I congratulate both you and the government for dissolving that entrenched, paternalistic, colonial structure that I think everyone in this room recognizes was a challenge to deal with. I'm optimistic about the change in that approach.
No one will disagree with me that Inuit are indigenous people in this country. My question is for Minister Philpott.
When you talk about indigenous services, which specific services? There are some that specify first nations. For my benefit and knowing where to go, what specific services for Inuit and Nunavut will we deal with under the new and improved department?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Okay, thank you, Minister Philpott.
I guess one of the other things, and it was mentioned earlier in comments, is that under the land claims agreement, there is a public government established under that modern treaty. The territorial government is responsible for providing some of those services like health care, education, and housing. I'm just wondering, because you talk about working with Inuit leaders, is there also a committee that you're working on with the territorial government as well so that they're not being left out of the picture?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Okay, thank you. I'll go very quickly.
On your priorities, you mentioned transforming the way health care is delivered in first nations, and your mandate letter talks about how to deliver health services to indigenous peoples. I just want make sure—that may have been just an oversight—that Inuit and indigenous peoples are included in that.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I have a few questions, but maybe I'll start off with either Ms. Woodley or Mr. MacKay.
You talked about the overlap agreement with the Denesuline. I vividly recall that a memorandum of understanding was reached between Canada and Nunavut in 2016 that ensured that the jurisdiction of the Government of Nunavut couldn't be altered, and that the Government of Nunavut wouldn't incur any financial obligations through any amendment to those final agreements and implementation plans without its consent.
It seems to me a no-brainer that the Government of Nunavut would be a signatory to those agreements. Can I get your thoughts on that?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
I'll go quickly to Natan, and then I hope to get another chance to go back to the GN.
You mentioned the Inuit-crown partnership committee.
I think it's about time, but since that's been created, what kind of real progress are we seeing? What do you envision there?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Romeo, and thank you, Madam Chair.
Ullaakkut and welcome.
My first question has to do with implementation. You talked about the lack of implementation coming from the federal government. Some of the reasons I've heard over the years for not following through on implementation or for having a narrow view, as you say, on what implementation means, have to do with the simple fact of a loss of control or the fact that it will cost some money.
I'm wondering about your experience with the coalition. Have you found that restricting the resources or the funding, having that narrow view, and the losing of control over those some of the issues are challenges that are faced in the actual true implementation of these treaties?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
That's a good stab at it, I think, Alastair.
Another thing you talked about was appropriate consultation and the lack of participant funding. You mentioned Clyde River as a really good example. They said they weren't consulted, they ended up having to go to court, and they won. You mentioned the Nunavut Impact Review Board, There are other institutes of public government. My understanding of that process is that if they are funded to ensure that the consultation does take place, that will cover off the federal government's duty to consult. My understanding as well is that when these things were developed, it was envisioned that it wouldn't be necessary, that they wouldn't be doing these consultations.
Do you think the NIRB and other institutes of public government should have participant funding to ensure that the community, the people, will have an opportunity to properly bring forward their issues and challenges in relation to any type of development?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
The other thing you mentioned was that there is a deputy ministers oversight committee now. I think that's probably a step in the right direction. I'm just wondering if you think that's enough. Is there something more that could be done to help ensure that oversight is followed? I've been attending this committee over the last year, and a lot of groups are saying that they're hearing the political will, but they're not seeing the direction coming from the departments. I'm just wondering if there are any other suggestions either of you might be able to add to try to help move that forward.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thanks, Romeo and Gary.
Following up on that, I've heard a number of stories about how NNI and northern Inuit procurement issues are completely ignored in federal contracts. What types of challenges are there, or what are you running up against from the federal government, in developing that policy?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
What message would you pass on to the committee here to help achieve that and finally cross that finish line?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Madam Chair, I was wondering if I could ask the witnesses a couple of questions.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I have three quick questions for the officials in regard to some of the things in here.
My first one, given the government's commitment to working collaboratively with indigenous people of this country and renewing the relationship—
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
This one is specific to all of it, but there are some specific ones with regard to dates and registration.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
In part of it, on that topic of those amendments, the word “consultation” was used. I'm wondering if the department consulted with first nations on this bill and on these different amendments.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
I appreciate that, and I think I got the response: there's no real consultation on it. I think the grand chief would agree with that.
The other question I have is about 1951 as a date. Where did that date come from?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
In talking with the grand chief, I think he feels that it should go all the way back if you want to deal with it.
The other quick question can be ruled out of order. I know one thing, from my discussions with the grand chiefs, is that they want self-determination. They don't feel that it should be, with all due respect, someone here determining whether you're an Indian.
As Inuit, we have that. A local group in our communities decides who a beneficiary is and who is not. Why not just do that instead of going through all of this? It was good and right for us. Why can't we extend that same leeway to first nations?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Okay. Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Mr. Bossio.
Welcome to the witnesses.
You mentioned earlier on that you're hearing a lot of talk from the government on nation-to-nation relationships and reconciliation, but you're not seeing much action, and in the last round of questioning, little support is coming from the third party managers. I want to draw a clear distinction between the government and the bureaucracy. The third party managers should be trying to work themselves out of a job as quickly as possible to bring up capacity, but it seems as if it's in their own interest to keep things the way they are, at half a million dollars a year.
From the bureaucracy's point of view, they're probably looking at it as they know how much it's going to cost them. They don't have to worry about expanding the expenditure base that may be required and has been ignored for years. I look at that—I've heard a lot about it—and it seems to be an entrenched culture within the bureaucracy. I'm wondering if both the witnesses seem to be hearing one message coming from the political leadership and running into the same old challenges dealing with the bureaucracy.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Gary, and welcome to both of you. I'll try to be quick.
My colleague Romeo talked about political will. I think that will is there. We have the Prime Minister who is genuine about it now, as well as Ministers Bennett and Philpott. In my experience of almost 16 years in public life, which is half of Romeo's experience, I have always found the bureaucracy is great at spending all their time and energy telling you why you can't do something. They'll give you 100 reasons you can't do something, and I always used to tell them, “Give me 10 reasons why we should.”
You mentioned a review at INAC and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. Do you feel that's part of the problem in moving some of these issues forward? There seems to be political will, but there has been 150 years of treating people as programs and numbers.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Massé, for allowing me the opportunity to participate and ask some questions.
My question may be to both of you. I know you've heard it all along, but.... Mr. Richard, you mentioned intergenerational trauma, and that's something I've heard about since attending these meetings. How big of a role do you see that playing in looking at the horrific statistics we have for suicides in indigenous communities, and what are some ideas on how to address it? We've heard a lot on the need for mental wellness, trauma counselling and treatment, and just better mental health services being offered in indigenous communities all across Canada, including Nunavut.
I want to get your views on that, both of you, please. Thanks.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Okay. Thank you, Mr. Richards.
This is another thing we've heard. I think everyone can acknowledge the fact that a lot of our indigenous communities within southern Canada, and also in the north and in the far north in Nunavut and in the Northwest Territories basically live in third world conditions when you look at housing, education, and health care. The way these jurisdictions are funded is inadequate and it seems to be just the way it is, so this is how it's going to be.
There needs to be a shift in recognizing and ensuring that all these different jurisdictions and communities have the adequate resources to deliver the services required. Going back to the provision of services, we've heard a lot about culturally based, community-driven healing programs and the lack of addiction treatment centres, which are inhibitors. I'm going to get the view from both of you quickly on that. Thank you.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mike, for sharing your time.
Welcome to the panellists. I know this is a huge topic that affects us in Nunavut and I'm pleased to have an opportunity to be able to listen and participate. I appreciate that.
One of the things that was mentioned during the talks was the calls to action. Number 18 was mentioned, basically saying we're in the state that we're in because of how we were treated in the past. It doesn't matter, I believe, if you're Inuit. It doesn't matter if you're Métis. It doesn't matter if you're first nations. We all suffered the same and we need to heal. I think that is the most important first step that we need to go through.
Call to action number 21, calling upon the federal government to provide sustainable funding for existing and new aboriginal healing centres to address physical, mental, and emotional spiritual harms caused by residential schools and ensure funding of healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, is a priority.
I know, and Michael and most of you from the northern rural and remote areas can attest to this, that there is nothing. In Nunavut and the NWT we have zero, and that's the same in most northern and remote areas of the provinces.
Do you feel it should be a priority for this government to fund healing centres in rural and remote areas where we're seeing the highest suicide rates from the statistics to be able to help people heal and move forward in a healthy way? Thank you.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
To whoever wants to answer, please.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Don. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for coming.
I want to start off by saying I fully appreciate the direction that this government and you are taking to move forward on the needs for indigenous people, including Inuit. Also, I'd offer a special thanks for helping save the Mamisarvik program here in Ottawa this year.
In your opening comments, you talked about a needs-based approach. I know in the north, not only in Nunavut but in the NWT and the Yukon as well, we're in the dire situation that we're in because of years of per capita funding. You mentioned in your comments, education and family violence protection, child and family services, housing, all those things. There's funding that's been announced for first nations, which is long overdue.
How do you plan on meeting that commitment for Inuit? We're not on reserve—the way I look at it, Nunavut is one big reserve—but everything flows through the Government of Nunavut. They provide those services to the population.
Maybe I can get an idea of how you plan on seeing that flow through to Inuit through the Government of Nunavut.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Minister.
Another big issue up north, and you touched on it with nutrition north.... We all know that program was like a scrambled egg before it even came out of the chicken.
You touched, too, on the old program meeting basic needs. You asked how come it's more expensive now. It's because basic needs, things that were covered and subsidized in the past, came off the list. They're no longer subsidized, so they've gone up substantially. They narrowed down the items that were subsidized so greatly that everything else just went up. That's the problem there.
I know the last government said that they boosted the funding to nutrition north. They boosted the budgeted amount. As far as I'm aware, that program probably cost the government about $140 million a year, which is well over the budgeted amount.
Would you be able to provide some historical data as to how much was actually spent on the program, not just budgeted?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mike.
Thank you for the presentation. I have just one question I can think of.
You talked about a multipronged approach and the importance of long-term prevention and basic health services. If you've worked in northern Quebec and in Makivik, you've seen first-hand the challenges with being able to deliver those services there. How important do you feel it is to be able to have and provide those services, and to be able to help address this crisis in those communities? What are some of the barriers or obstacles you see to being able to deliver those services in those more rural and remote areas?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, everybody.
I would especially like to welcome my colleagues from the standing committee to Iqaluit for this very important issue that we deal with here in Nunavut and across the north. I think it's an important issue that has been called a crisis here in Nunavut, and hopefully you will have some very good discussions and presentations here today, and I look forward to the report you come out with. Hopefully there will be some strong recommendations for the minister to come up with some programs and some funding to be able to help alleviate this issue we face here in Nunavut.
I look forward to presenting to you in Ottawa at a meeting there.
Welcome to Nunavut. I wish the weather were a little better but the hospitality is always warm here, so I hope you have a great visit, and thank you very much for coming.
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