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Results: 1 - 15 of 127
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think it's important to remember that this program came about out of a need to assist the students. When the pandemic hit, there were so many concerns raised about not being able to help the students as they work towards saving some money to go back to school in the fall. We also heard a lot from not-for-profit organizations that wanted to provide services and didn't have a lot of people to call on. That includes some of the indigenous governments in the communities.
I think this was a good program. The idea behind it was great: to deal with two issues that were challenging us. As an MP, I certainly raised a lot of concerns with the ministers. It's unfortunate and regrettable that these placements are now on hold. We're at July 21 and there's a possibility that we may not see either these programs or these concerns dealt with.
I certainly agree with Mr. Cumming that we're running out of time. I really share that concern. To this day, I am still getting calls from the communities in my riding or for help to access some of the programs that we have announced. We are very limited in terms of public service in the northern communities. We have Service Canada offices, but a lot of times they're very busy. Our territories are still in the lockdown. We don't have offices for the federal government in every community. There are limits on travel. It's very difficult to access programs.
I'm hearing from municipalities and I'm hearing from community leaders that we need to create more positions to deliver these programs. I also heard very clearly from Gina Wilson, the deputy minister who presented at an earlier committee meeting, about how public servants were working around the clock to implement the programs. She listed a whole slew of programs that we've announced. There is a concern about members of her staff facing concerns about health. As people work from home we're starting to see a backlog on the delivery of programs, and I think outsourcing is a way to get it resolved. I see programs that were announced and are being delivered by the United Way and the Red Cross. They're out there. It's happening.
I'd like to ask Mr. Aylward if he agrees and if he knows what Gina Wilson was talking about and how public servants are being challenged to deliver the many programs that were announced. That's my first question.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Yes, thank you for that response.
Maybe you could come and visit us in the north and see what our reality is. We have a great public service in the north, but the north is big. There are quite a few communities, and they're spread out and they're remote, so it takes a lot of effort a lot of times to make sure everybody's able to access programs.
I know many leaders in communities are raising the concern that they can't access some of the programs, and I've heard, including from you, that people have stepped up to volunteer to answer phones and more. I'm not sure what training has happened in light of that need for people to help this public service to evolve and for people to move into different positions.
Can you elaborate on how that's happening and how that's taking place?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Can I just ask you, before I run out of time, is it your expectation that the public service will deliver the program now as it was expected to be delivered by the WE Charity with a full range of services to promote, to match people with services and to create partnerships with other organizations? Can the public service provide the level that we were expecting?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
All right, thank you.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the presenters here. There have been some very tough questions indeed.
I want to start by thanking Gina Wilson for using the word meegwetch. We hear a lot of French and we hear a lot of English, but it's not very often we hear indigenous words. Thank you for that.
I want to also say that I think we're in a very difficult situation with a lot of unknowns. The pandemic has caused a lot of issues to come forward. I heard a lot from the students in my riding initially, so I was very happy to see some very important measures come forward: the moratorium on Canada student loan repayments, the doubling of the student loans program, the increased student loan program funding and the work placement program. I think they were all well received across the country. Our young people are certainly facing their share of challenges.
We've also seen a lot of other programs that are helping young people, especially in my riding. I think a lot of indigenous communities would say the same, with the indigenous community support and the on-the-land program. Everybody wants to get involved; they want to play a role.
I was quite happy that these placements were coming forward. It's really unfortunate that it looks like these placements are going to be on hold for a bit now. I'm hoping that our government's objective remains the same, to continue to try to connect the skills and abilities of young people who are looking to improve their skills with service opportunities to help in our communities, especially when it comes to healing.
I understand there was a lot of uptake of the program. I think the minister mentioned there were 35,000 applications.
As we move forward, as the government moves forward with administering the Canada student service grant, what steps are being taken to ensure that indigenous youth in rural and remote northern communities are able to access this program? That's my first question.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
I always struggle when it comes to decision-making and forming an opinion on a lot of things, because the north never seems to get included in some of the tracking mechanisms of the government and other agencies. I'm wondering what other demographic information on the CSSG applicants the government will be tracking.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
We're not talking about WE Charity anymore. I'm talking about going forward.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
As the government moves forward with the administering of this, I want to make sure, first of all, that indigenous youth have the opportunity we expected with WE Charity. Are we going to continue with that? Are we going to track some of this?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the presenters today, and everybody, for their questions.
It was a very interesting discussion. COVID-19 has certainly changed our world in a short period of time, especially for the people who are in very fragile financial situations.
I think our federal government has done a really good job, along with the Government of the Northwest Territories, our communities and band councils, the Métis locals, the friendship centres and the food banks. All have really made sure that our people are okay. We live in an area in the north where there's a high cost of living, and food security has always concerned us.
I'm curious, and perhaps I could ask a question about if and how COVID-19 has affected the financial protection of the potentially vulnerable consumer population, such as the elders, the seniors and people in remote communities. These are the ones who may, for the most part, have difficulty accessing financial institutions in their communities. I know that in the north we don't have a lot of banks, and people may not be able to securely or comfortably access online banking. That's my first question.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
I'm also very curious; you talked about the financial consumer trends and the survey that you've done. I ask this question of everybody who talks about trying to assess what people are doing in terms of their habits and all kinds of measures that we seem to want to track, because these never seem to include the north. Does your survey include the Northwest Territories or Nunavut? We really have a hard time getting information to.... A lot of times, this is very important information that everybody else in the country is using to make decisions and base their decisions on. Do you do some of your work in the Northwest Territories?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Does that mean you sample in the north, or do you just sample other parts of the country and use it to try to...?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
I have just one more question.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
It's really surprising to see the increasing use of payday loans. I know that when the service moved into the Northwest Territories, we saw a lot of resistance but it still happened. The service is only available in the capital city of the NWT, so I would be really curious as to...if that's happening here in the Northwest Territories. The people who are using these loans are the ones who are falling between the cracks and ending up in the cities. They're the least able to afford it, actually.
I'm curious; how do these companies collect if the people who borrow default? How do they collect? Most people don't have the security to...or even a promissary note. What do they do? I don't know if you'd be able to answer that, but I'm pretty curious to know what happens there.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the superintendent for the presentation.
I have one quick question regarding the number of bankruptcies in the indigenous population. I'm not sure if that's data that you collect, but I'm curious to hear what is the percentage of bankruptcies amongst indigenous people versus what the rest of the population is facing.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
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