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Results: 1 - 15 of 75
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the presenters from OSFI. It was very interesting and very educational. We seem to have such good witnesses at our committee. We had a presentation from the PBO the other day and it really helped us to understand the fiscal situation in Canada.
As your organization has the sole oversight on banks, and now that we're in these unprecedented times, I want to ask about what indicators you are watching for when it comes to the economy. If the conditions continue to deteriorate, if the banks start to report losses, what will your organization do, and how should we react to that?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you very much.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all the presenters today. These were very interesting presentations.
My first question is for the National Association of Friendship Centres. I'm a founding member of the friendship centre in my community. I live in an indigenous community, and I really see the benefit of having friendship centres. I think every indigenous community should have a friendship centre—and an aboriginal head start program, for that matter.
One of our challenges in the north is to have good information. We don't seem to get the same level of tracking that the southern provinces get. Indigenous communities are always looking for better data. If you're going to make good decisions, you need good information.
We're lucky in the Northwest Territories that we have no COVID-19 cases. However, we continue to talk about what kind of data collection would be helpful, so I'd like to ask Chris if he could talk a little about what he would need in terms of information and what his approach would be.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you for that. As a former member of the friendship centres, I'm very aware of the history of all the programs they deliver and, certainly, of some of the challenges. I've always appreciated the fact that friendship centres don't fall under a political structure. They don't fall under the band council, the Métis council or any of the indigenous governments, so they really can speak openly about the real challenges in the community.
However, there have been real challenges with the whole association. I want to ask you about how COVID-19 has exasperated the structural challenges that friendship centres were dealing with pre-pandemic and what steps we can take to help the friendship centres not only survive these challenges times, but ultimately come out of this with greater certainty.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I was hoping to get a question in to the minister, but it looks like we've lost that opportunity again.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
I did want to ask a couple of questions.
First of all, I wanted to know from anybody who is presenting today how we can get information as to the update that is happening for the different programs by region, It would be interesting for me, as an MP, to know what the uptake is for different programs for businesses that are applying for the north.
I know that everybody is working a hundred miles an hour and 24 hours a day, but is there anybody who can provide me with that information? I'm concerned that there may be pockets or areas that may not be utilizing the programs. I'm hearing that in the north a lot of businesses in our communities are not applying for the programs. What I'm hearing is that because there are no banks in our communities, a lot of times they can't go through any kind of financial institution, so there's a small uptake. Can anybody speak to that?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Would that same kind of information be available for the indigenous business support? A lot of our indigenous companies are large development corporations, and there start to be challenges when you're dealing with companies that have over 20 people. Up to now, it has been difficult for them to prove that there has been a reduction in revenue, because they have so many branches and subsidiaries. A lot of them were not able to access some of this program funding that was designated for indigenous businesses, but I don't know if that's information that I could get my hands on in a quick fashion.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Okay. I'm not sure if you can answer this, but I want to talk about how the different regions are impacted by COVID. I think the federal government's economic recovery approach has to reflect existing regional distinctions.
In the north we've been very fortunate, especially in health impacts; right now we have no cases, but we do have existing costs of living, a large service area and infrastructure gaps.
I'm very keen to know whether the government is prepared to assist us in addressing some of these unique recovery challenges faced by all our northern territories. We've talked lots about greater flexibility and doing things differently, especially with cost-sharing projects or allocating recovery programs. We focused on a base plus per capita formula. That's not something we do across the board with all departments.
Should that be considered, in your opinion?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll be splitting my time with the member for Davenport.
My question is for the Minister of Finance. Our government has rolled out a historic number of supports to help those experiencing significant financial burdens during this pandemic, supports for individuals, businesses, NGOs and governments. Some of these have been amended and adjusted to improve their impacts as time has brought us more knowledge and greater awareness of those who are falling through the gaps. This flexibility continues to be needed in the north.
While I know the Government of Northwest Territories welcomes Canada's strong and targeted economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has asked for an increase to its federally imposed borrowing limit. Whether a temporary increase or a more permanent one, it needs this flexibility to address the dual COVID-19 related own-source revenue and expenditure shocks. This limit increase will help territorial governments with short-term needs, but also ensure a more successful and robust economic recovery over the longer term.
I hope the finance minister has taken this request under advisement and has some good news to announce very soon.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It's a very interesting discussion we have going on today.
My question is to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. When you were before committee in early March, I had asked you about the worrying fiscal sustainability issues with the northern territorial governments and the situations they were facing.
I can only imagine your next fiscal sustainability report will show that the pandemic has made the situation far worse. Given our small tax base, high service and infrastructure gaps, and the very limited fiscal levers the territories have relative to the larger orders of government, would you agree that the north is in a particularly precarious situation now?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Would certain steps by the federal government assist in addressing this situation? For example, there could be greater flexibility and cost-sharing for big infrastructure projects, greater usage of base plus per capita allocations of federal programming, and, last, increasing the debt limit, which is something we've been asking to have for a while and is an issue that is of greater urgency now. At the start of 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories was about $300 million away from hitting its $1.3-billion debt limit.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
I wanted to ask one more question regarding the fiscal sustainability report, which I think the Parliamentary Budget Officer said won't be happening until next year. Is there a way to get a fiscal snapshot through your office of where all the provinces and territories are at and where they rank on an interim basis?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all the presenters today.
Like all of you, we expected 2020 to be a big year for festivals and events up in Canada's north. We were very excited for the 50th anniversaries of both the Arctic Winter Games and the Northern Games that were going to be held in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. Yellowknifers were going to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Folk on the Rocks and the silver jubilee of the Snowking winter festival. Of course, all of these were cancelled and closed due to the pandemic. It was heartbreaking to see the many athletes and performers, who worked so hard getting into top form, having to go through this news.
As national organizations, have any of your organizations heard from northern or indigenous organizers? What measures should be considered to support these types of festivals and events?
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all who took the time to present today.
I want to put my question to Robert Bertrand from CAP. I used to be a member of CAP way back when I was the president of our Métis council, so I certainly can share the concern that the Government of Canada needs to ensure that indigenous supports are inclusive of all indigenous populations.
Too often federal programs are inaccessible to many of the communities, especially in my riding. They don't seem to be able to access the money that is allocated to the NIOs, the national indigenous organizations. Money going to the AFN or Métis Nation does not come to the Northwest Territories, so I was very glad to see the indigenous community support fund flow to the Northwest Territories.
It's been a long time since I've seen so many people out on the land. We have people fishing, hunting, camping and tanning moose hides. They are opening up cabins that haven't been used for years. People are going back to their traditional family hunting areas. It's really good to see, and it's the first time we've been included.
Having said that, the money that went to Dene Nation in the Northwest Territories and the money that went to Inuvialuit flowed directly, and the Métis had to go a different route. They had to apply through the urban and off-reserve stream, and the money they got was certainly not on par with what the other indigenous governments got.
I want to ask if you could speak on the importance of an inclusive federal indigenous programming design and, specifically, if you think the urban, rural and northern streams are where these programs should be adopted. That's my first question.
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View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you for that.
I have one more question. It's for the National Airlines Council of Canada.
I've been hearing a lot from the airlines in my riding. Up in the north, our carriers are the lifelines of our fly-in communities. They are our ambulances. They are the ones that bring the groceries. They are essential for the health and safety of our people and of our economy. Last month the government provided the three territories with $17.3 million in support for the northern carriers, which is a very good first step. However, we know that we're going to need more. I know those carriers are not members of your council, but at the same time, many northerners also depend on your airlines while travelling to southern Canada.
Could you speak a little on how your member operations in northern Canada have been impacted by COVID-19, and have you any recommendations specific to these operations?
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