Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the minister for appearing in front of us and having an open discussion on so many things over the last while.
I represent the Northwest Territories. A year ago we were very nervous. We didn't know what the outlook was. The pandemic was declared, and we spent a very difficult year trying to make sure everybody was looked after. We're now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are being rolled out, and here in the north it looks like we'll have everybody vaccinated by at least April.
The combined work of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada can only be described as a success in keeping the cases down and the death numbers low. The low numbers in the north have allowed us to do more than what our southern neighbours were able to do. For us in the north, we were able to keep all our schools open. We allowed businesses to stay open. I think for that we should all give ourselves a collective pat on the back.
The Government of the Northwest Territories just announced fairly recently that of the $156 million that was spent in the Northwest Territories to address COVID, $123 million of that was covered by the Government of Canada. That's the reason we were successful. The assistance that the territories received from the federal government is the major reason we were able to operate the way we have.
Our economy varies by degree. We have some people who did well all through the pandemic and others who have struggled, and then there are some who are really in trouble.
Back in June, the Government of Canada increased the borrowing limit for all three territorial governments to ensure that they could continue to have the fiscal flexibility to manage the economic pressures caused by COVID. I'd like to ask if the minister could explain how Bill C-14 similarly seeks to make sure the Government of Canada has the fiscal flexibility it will require.