Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Sikand, for sharing your time.
It's good to see you again, Stanley, Scott and Patrick.
One of the things that I've always said about Nunavut is that it's an untapped resource. The rest of Canada has been explored, dug into and capitalized on, but Nunavut hasn't. I think one of the things that we need as a country, to be able to tap into that resource and allow Nunavut to create a sustainable and stable economy, is that investment infrastructure. I've always said that national programs like this one, whether they be programs or formulas, don't take into account the uniqueness of the north: the time frame that it takes to get things done and the higher cost of doing stuff up there. I've always said that investment in infrastructure in the north is an investment in the Canadian economy, because everything that we need up north comes from the south.
I guess, having said that—and I'll leave it up to who would like to answer this—what would be the economic benefit to Canada from this project? Do you have any specific numbers that you'd like to share with us on that?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
You hit the nail on the head there I think. It's just something like...can we afford not to invest in it?
I think everyone knows there are very limited opportunities in Nunavut to create a stable, sustainable economy, and the numbers you just pointed out make it very clear that here's something that—and you can confirm—would create economic prosperity as far as jobs in the region for individuals, and also the business opportunities in the region and in the south.
Thank you.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Hardie and Madam Chair.
Minister Garneau, it's good to see you here.
First, I want to thank you for the five new terminals throughout Nunavut that were announced a few weeks ago. The replacements were badly needed. It's greatly appreciated.
The Government of Nunavut had submitted some other projects under the national trade corridors fund, being the airport relocations in Pangnirtung and Kimmirut as well as a winter road from Kivalliq down to Manitoba. I know they were turned down. I'm wondering why, and if there's any advice we can give to the Government of Nunavut to reapply or look at a different pool of funds to apply to for them.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Hardie.
Welcome, Minister Garneau.
I only have one question on this, and it's an issue that's been brought up a couple of times this summer in Iqaluit.
As you know, Nunavut is quite different from the rest of the country. We don't have dealerships. I know of one case where a recall was ordered for a vehicle and another case where there was a warranty the dealer was fixing automatically on his own. Because there's no dealer there, and they're saying an authorized dealer of the vehicle has to do the work, they're being told they have to put their vehicle on a ship, ship it out, get the work done down here, and then wait until next year to get it back.
I'm wondering if anything in here could help address that concern, where we're forced to utilize dealers. We have garages in the communities up there, but they're not authorized dealers. They have licensed mechanics. We need to address that so that work can get done. There are people who can't be without a vehicle and people have to pay for the shipping of their vehicle down south to get it fixed and get it back so they are still using those vehicles with those defects. There's no opportunity to change that. I'm wondering if there's something in the bill to help address that issue.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Mr. Sikand.
Welcome, Mr. Ferguson. It's a pleasure to meet you and to work with you. I'm very pleased to see this report.
I've had the pleasure over quite a few years of working with your office, with Ms. Fraser and with Mr. Campbell, in your office's capacity as auditor for the Government of Nunavut. I've always enjoyed a good working relationship with your office.
You indicated that Transport Canada has well documented what these issues and challenges are for the north. Could you give an idea of how far back and what kind of documentation?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Ferguson.
You also say that the department hasn't taken adequate leadership. We all know that the cost of doing anything in the north is much higher than it is in the south. It's almost three times the cost to do anything up there. You mentioned the airport capital assistance program as one vehicle to address some of these needs. If my understanding is correct, a lot of these smaller airports don't qualify for funding under that program. Is that something that has been pointed out as an issue?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Badawey.
Mr. Ferguson, I'm very happy to have this opportunity to take advantage of your valuable time.
One of the things you talked about was the ACAP. It's well known that these national programs like ACAP, social housing agreements, and health funding don't fit or work for the north.
Do you think that a specific northern ACAP would help the government and the Department of Transport address some of the critical needs of airport infrastructure in the north?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Ferguson.
Another thing you mentioned in your report is that if the infrastructure is not maintained, it becomes very costly to repair and upgrade. If memory serves me correctly, it's actually through the Government of Nunavut that funding is flowed, through its territorial formula financing agreement with the Department of Transportation and the Arctic airports to maintain those airports.
In your work as auditor for the Government of Nunavut and with this report, do you think there may be issues with providing adequate resources to the Government of Nunavut to maintain the existing infrastructure that's in place?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Mr. Ferguson.
You also noted in your report that just in Nunavut alone, with its 25 airports, close to $500 million in 2014 dollars is needed, and a little over $75 million is needed to relocate two airports in order to meet Transport Canada safety regulations.
With all these deficiencies that you pointed out in your report, and the quality of infrastructure and information that's there for pilots, if those conditions existed in an urban airport, for example, do you think they would still be allowed to operate?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, Mr. Badawey.
I like the analogy that this infrastructure bank is a vehicle. I think everyone realizes that Nunavut has probably got the biggest infrastructure gap in the country. We're hoping that this is a tundra buggy, so we can get that vehicle working up north.
In regard to specific projects, I can think of three right off the top of my head that would not go ahead without the help of the infrastructure bank. I would look at the Grays Bay road and port project, the potential road, the hydro and fibre link from Manitoba to the Kivalliq region, and a hydro project in Iqaluit that uses just about half the diesel that the territory consumes to generate electricity.
One of the concerns that I'm hearing in the north is that these are new, transformative, and nation-building projects, as any projects in the north would be. When they built the railroad, they didn't have to worry about doing environmental assessments and going through the regulatory regime that's there now. It takes time and costs money to get it to a stage where the project is ready to go. The concern is that if we have this pot of money there for these projects, but there's no money to help the already cash-strapped territorial government or the Inuit organizations or the municipalities to get a proposal to the point where it's ready to be looked at, that money is just going to sit there.
I'm just wondering if there's a possibility of looking at providing some funding through here to help some of these major projects that are going to take two or three years. I heard that with Grays Bay, when they were looking at the next few years, just to get it to that stage was over $15 million.
Is there a way to support those initiatives, to get them to the stage where they are ready to go?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Right now I think the problem is that they're looking at doing feasibility studies and working it through the environmental assessment process, and that costs money. I'm just wondering if there could be some support and some funding through this vehicle to be able to help with those—and I know it's the territorial government, the regional Inuit organizations, and industry—to support them in getting the project through that process. The territorial government just doesn't have the resources to be able to do that.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
I'd like to welcome the witnesses.
My question is for Mr. Speer. As you know, I'm on one of your flights tomorrow morning heading up to Iqaluit.
Throughout your presentation you talked about the lack of infrastructure and the implications of that on an airline operating in the north. Throughout your submission you talk about the one-size regulations not fitting everything. I think that's one thing that most people don't understand, the uniqueness of flying in the north.
On the issue of fatigue, they're looking at changing the regulations for duty time and stuff such as that. I know specifically with the trans-Arctic route that you guys fly from Ottawa, all the way across the top over to Edmonton, there are some potential issues there. Could we first just get an idea of some of the issues and challenges around that for you, and also, as you pointed out, the complete lack of infrastructure in the north and how that relates to safety as well?
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
One of the other things I see in your submission is that you were involved heavily in the steep slope approach into Pangnirtung. We all know what it's like trying to get into Pangnirtung, where there is no GPS approach; it's all visual. I think it's about 2,300 or 2,600 feet and three-mile visibility, plus the runway is right in the middle of town.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
That's a safety issue as well.
You also mentioned the unintended consequences and the need for possible exemptions. Maybe you could elaborate on that also.
View Hunter Tootoo Profile
Ind. (NU)
Thank you.
I have one last question. You mentioned it may require the need for some exemptions, or some modifications, to fit the uniqueness of the north. I was just wondering if I can get you to elaborate on what some of those might be.
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