Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Just in case there's any misinterpretation, I'm sure my Conservative colleague didn't mean that it's women's attitude problems that are resulting in one woman being killed every six days in Canada. It's violence that is killing them.
The very sad thing we're learning through this study is that when women ask for help, they often get turned away. The problems in the north are especially deep. As you said, unless you're wealthy enough to be able to buy a plane ticket out, then you stay home with violence, or you leave all your supports in the community and then you're vulnerable and may fall into violence or exploitation in other ways. It's a terrible problem.
One of the very first witnesses we heard was Status of Women Canada. The experts and the staff said the same stuff that you just gave us from Pauktuutit. About 70% of the 53 Inuit communities have no access to shelters. That's well known inside government. It hasn't changed in the three years that this feminist government has been in, this first-nations-and-indigenous-committed government.
Why would you say that hasn't changed yet?
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
It's kind of heartbreaking. This felt like our moment, and yet it hasn't changed for women.
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
This is yet another reason not to leave. The women who do, and who ask for help, are particularly in danger and their kids are under threat.
Through this study, we're trying to get support from the federal government so that it's consistent across the country. Can you give us an idea of a recommendation that if you read it in our final report, you would say, “Yes, they got it. Things will be different if the government says yes.”
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you so much to the witnesses. We're going to use a lot of your advice in our report.
Chair, if I may, while I have the floor—
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Barber, for your testimony today.
As I see, you have done extensive research in Arctic climatology and marine systems. Can you speak about the threat of climate change to indigenous culture in the Arctic?
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Dr. Barber, recently the Government of Canada released a co-management plan with the Haida Nation and my home province of British Columbia. Would you support a similar plan with Inuit to protect and manage Canada's Arctic waters going forward?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
You also talked about the gold mines and the work they've done, and also the work they've done in building infrastructure in the regions you serve. You also talked about how one-third of the employment for the Inuit in your region is work at that gold mine. With regard to the project you're talking to us about today, could you just talk a bit about having that infrastructure, what that would mean for employing more Inuit people in the region, and just what those impacts could be?
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay.
With regard to indigenous health, the Prime Minister has famously said that it's the most important relationship to him. The state of health among indigenous people in Canada, I think we can all agree, is greatly concerning. In response to the 2015 spring reports of the Auditor General of Canada, report 4, “Access to Health Services for Remote First Nations Communities”, Health Canada pledged to conduct a comparative analysis of access to health services in remote first nations communities and non-indigenous remote communities. Health Canada set a deadline of summer 2016, but we learned last spring at main estimates that this report was never, in fact, written.
Why wasn't that report written?
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
According to documents recently released under access to information, the federal government spent more than $110,000 fighting a first nations girl in court to block payments for orthodontic treatment that cost $6,000. Stacey Shiner, the child's mother, sought payment for the braces under the first nations and Inuit health benefit program, but was denied by Health Canada. She appealed three times to no avail. Ultimately, she had to take the case to Federal Court.
Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and an intervenor in the Shiner case, said the following:
As a human being, I think it's immoral that Canada would not fund services where two concurring pediatric orthodontists agree that without treatment this girl will experience chronic pain and will have difficulty eating and talking. As a taxpayer, I'm absolutely floored that Canada would spend $110,000 defending [against] a $6,000 investment to help [an indigenous] child. They could have used that money to buy 18 children in medical need the orthodontic services they needed.
In your view, does this expenditure of $110,000 in legal fees represent good value for money?
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
During this committee's study of the cannabis act, Bill C-45, we learned that the federal government covers the cost of medicinal cannabis for Canadian veterans but not for first nations and Inuit populations. In your view, how does oral health coverage for registered first nations and recognized Inuit compare with other populations, such as veterans, for which the federal government provides oral health coverage?
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
According to report 4 of the 2017 fall reports of the Auditor General:
The Department [of Health] had known for many years that Inuit and First Nations people's oral health was poor, and attempted to develop a strategic approach to improving it. We found that the Department drafted strategic approaches to oral health in 2010 and 2015, but did not finalize them.
In your view, why did the department previously fail to finalize its strategic approaches to oral health in 2010 and again in 2015?
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Did you find any evidence that those regional plans had actually been implemented?
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