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Results: 1 - 15 of 37
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very concerned about the quality of education for first nations children and all aboriginal children across Canada. We invest millions and millions of dollars across the country. The first ministers will be meeting in November to plan along with the government the results that are desired by the first nations on education for their children.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, as I speak, the minister is on his way to Kashechewan to engage with the people of that community on the priority of their health and the safety of their water. Last week we dispatched certified water treatment operators. They arrived on Sunday. They have been successful in stabilizing the disinfection system and eliminating the risk of bacteria in the treated water supply.
To date, at the request of the chief, we have shipped 26,000 litres of bottled water because we are very concerned about the health of those people. The minister is there to engage with them.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to this legislation.
Serving the public here in the House of Commons is a wild and wonderful experience. I have just come from the Commonwealth Room where I met with the Métis of Alberta. If there ever was a group that was impacted by resources in their region it is that group. They felt such empowerment from the legislation they put together in terms of the Métis settlement. It will enable them to create wealth and opportunities for employment for themselves. This speaks loudly in support of Bill C-54. This legislation is necessary, empowering and definitive.
The Métis were here today to announce the opening of an office in Ottawa. This will further empower them to achieve and enact the provisions of their settlement.
Bill C-54, the first nations oil and gas and moneys management act, will equip first nations that choose to participate with vital tools to create good jobs, stimulate economic activity and improve the quality of life in their communities.
I would also like to share some of the successes of my first nations constituents in oil and gas development north of 60. It is not doom and gloom. People have different interpretations on how expropriation works. The reality is that every democratic government does not have expropriation as the first step. It is something that is done after having exhausted every other possibility.
I like to be positive about these things. I think this is a wonderful piece of legislation. I am really into empowering our people to create their own wealth and to be self-sustaining. Bill C-54 does that. It makes the rules quite clear, which is a good thing.
First and foremost, this legislation was designed to respond to the specific needs of the three sponsoring first nations, the White Bear First Nation, the Blood Tribe and the Siksika First Nation, which were directly involved with the first nations oil and gas pilot project launched in 1994. Not every pilot project ends in legislation. Obviously a lot of success was gleaned from that pilot project.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of the sponsoring first nations and the great success that has already been achieved over the past decade. Their commitment to working in partnership with Canada to develop this legislation is honoured as we help them to reach their goals.
Bill C-54 builds on the excellent progress the government has made through several recent initiatives, including the Canada-aboriginal peoples round table, the policy retreat, and the upcoming historic first ministers meeting. It builds on the commitments made in recent Speeches from the Throne, budgets, land claims and self-government agreements. We have achieved some major milestones with our partners in the aboriginal community across the country.
This legislation provides two related but distinct authorities for first nations. First, it provides communities that opt in with the authority to gain complete control and management over their oil and gas resources, creating jobs in the expanding oil and gas sector. Second, it provides these communities with the authority to gain complete control over the management of their moneys held by Canada on their behalf, allowing them to respond to emerging economic opportunities. Therein lies the challenge. First nations are not always in a situation to do that, but in this case we are heading in the right direction. I believe this will be very helpful.
A first nation that chooses to opt for the legislation can opt in to either the oil and gas provisions or the money provisions or both.
Economic development on reserve and strengthening communities continue to be priorities of the government. I am pleased to note that first nations communities both north and south of 60 will be able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded under the moneys management provisions of the legislation.
However, the oil and gas provisions do not apply in the north because oil and gas development is presently governed by a distinct legislative and regulatory framework. South of 60, FNOGMMA as Bill C-54 is known, would remove several levels of federal oversight and offer to first nations the same benefits that many northern communities are already enjoying in managing their own resources. In fact equity participation is a huge part of that. That is something I just gleaned from a recent trip to St. Petersburg, Russia to attend an oil and gas symposium. All circumpolar indigenous peoples have the aspiration to be involved in managing the resources that are in their region, and any of the resource development activity that takes place.
Extensive efforts have been made and continue to be made in the north to negotiate land claim and self-government agreements to respond to first nations' and Inuit people's desire to manage their political and social affairs and to advance economic development and self-sufficiency. That is the goal of every government at all levels.
Regarding oil and gas development and management, the land claim and self-government agreements enable resource development in the north. They clarify land and resource ownership rights, which are of vital importance to investors. These agreements have created conditions for sustainable economic and social development, providing a land base, opportunities for economic development and modern institutions of government to secure a higher standard of living and quality of life for all northern and first nations people.
Consider for instance the Inuvialuit whose land claim was finalized more than two decades ago. Since then the Inuvialuit have secured valuable partnerships with several companies and have launched dozens of businesses. These partnerships and businesses generate revenues that help pay for physical and social infrastructure in Inuvialuit communities and create jobs and training opportunities. They create hope and a vision of prosperity for the people in that region, or at least participating in the wealth that is being created in that area.
By facilitating the success of resource projects, land claim and self-government agreements also have a significant impact on Canada's economy. The economic benefits of large scale resource development projects are felt across the country. Never let it be said that people are not trying to achieve important milestones in going ahead with these projects. Anyone who says to the contrary is wrong.
Land claim settlements and self-government agreements are just one way to ensure first nations and Inuit peoples have the tools needed to assist in fostering business partnerships between industry and aboriginal groups. FNOGMMA provides first nations with similar tools and will also be of tremendous benefit, as we have seen from the northern experience.
Although Bill C-54 describes a somewhat different path than the land claims settlement or self-government approach, it is designed to enable first nations to achieve many of the same goals, such as fostering prosperity and strengthening communities. With the passage of this legislation, first nations that vote to come under its provisions will have more tools available to them as they seek to be more self-sufficient and better able to take charge of their economies. What more could we want for people of any part of this country?
The management authority that this legislation provides will help create jobs in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the many spinoff businesses and all of the value added that result, helping first nations improve their members' quality of life and standard of living. This is a goal shared by all members of this House, I am sure, and all Canadians.
Every community has the right to decide for itself whether it wants to take advantage of this legislation. It simply provides the three sponsoring first nations, and any other first nations in similar situations that choose to opt in, with the authority to assume control of their oil and gas and related revenues, and to assume control of moneys held on their behalf by the Crown.
In effect, Bill C-54 will enable first nations communities to participate in the oil and gas sector and to access moneys held in trust. With these powers, first nations will become more engaged in the economy and better able to implement projects that will improve social and economic infrastructure in their communities, as we have witnessed in land claim settlements and self-government agreements.
If we consider the example of the Inuvialuit or, more recently, the Tlicho, the Labrador Inuit, the Westbank First Nation and even the Kwanlin Dün self-government agreement signed in February of this year, we can see where Bill C-54 might lead. We can see improvements in the transportation networks and in health care and educational facilities. We can see post-secondary scholarships, youth centres and assisted living residences for seniors. For the first time in generations, we can see young people looking forward to bright futures.
In the end, this is what Bill C-54 is all about: enabling first nations to assume greater control of their social and economic destinies. It is about ensuring that first nations have the access to the tools they need to improve the quality of life in their communities.
It is through these types of arrangements, whether they are land claim settlements, self-government agreements or initiatives such as FNOGMMA that ways are found to forge a lasting partnership between first nations and Canada which will set us on a new path toward prosperity.
In my area, we are proposing to build a pipeline that is 1,200 miles long, all along the Mackenzie route. We have achieved significant milestones to move that along. These are not easy things. It is this type of legislation south of 60 that will enable our friends, relatives, people in the south and neighbours to be part of what is happening in their backyard. That is so important. For too long, aboriginal people have been sitting back and waiting for arrangements to evolve. That is not going to happen.
This bill will help that. This is the work of first nations people. They did the pilot project that actually enabled them to come up with this legislation. They are responsible for this. This is a very good piece of legislation. We should support it.
We believe the empowerment of our people is a singular objective of every first nation in Canada. I want to appeal to the members of the House to support this wholeheartedly.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, I would never claim to be an expert on Quebec, but I do appreciate that Quebec has forged a unique relationship with first nations. Agreements have been struck that relate to resource development revenues and that help to empower the Cree of James Bay and work with all first nations in Quebec.
Quebec has its strengths. It is known for the work that it does on the social agenda, for all of its social programs: child care, housing, and looking at the needs of the civil society in terms of how community development happens, how people live within a community and what their needs are.
The first nations are very indicative of those needs. Quebec has been very skilled at being able to integrate the first nations into this. Not only that, but Quebec has been very skilled at developing a very good relationship with the first nations leadership like Matthew Coon Come, Bill Namagoose, Albert “Billy” Diamond and many of the other leaders, all those people who are from the Quebec aboriginal leadership community. A good leadership relationship was forged. That is the unique part of it. Also, the work plan set together to achieve those milestones is pretty significant.
I think Quebec does set a good example, but every province has its own story to tell, not just one province. All the different communities have that story to tell as well. It is not one partisan issue. Successive governments replace one another and basically do a good job with the first nations. We have to look at those examples.
For me it is not a partisan issue; it is what each different government does well, what are the best practices and what we learn from them. I understand that. To be fair, we have to look at what different provinces and municipalities have achieved. Some people will say that a province is weak in one area but strong in another. Forging that relationship with the leadership and setting an agenda with the first nations has been pretty significant. That is hard to deny.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, National Aboriginal Day is the day of recognition for Canada's aboriginal people, and to acknowledge their contributions to Canada, their cultures, their traditions and their spirit as the first people of this country.
The past year has seen significant achievements. Last month the Government of Canada signed five accords with national organizations which reflect the renewed and strengthened relationship with first nations, Inuit and Métis people, and ensure a full partnership on issues that matter most to aboriginal people like health, education and housing.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burlingame has a proven track record of professionalism throughout his tenure as chair of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. The Auditor General's report states that this board has taken the initiative. The work of Mr. Burlingame has proven that the board has set standards for all boards to follow.
I am confident that Mr. Burlingame is ensuring that the board is operating in its usual professional capacity and that all business is being addressed in a timely and expeditious manner.
I believe and I have been assured that there are no--
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, the board has had no delays in determining the applications that have come forward, absolutely none. It is business as usual.
The latest information we had yesterday is that the board has made a decision to move toward coordinating and synchronizing all the information, by-laws and procedures to come up with an integrated resource management strategy which would meet the challenge of the Mackenzie Valley gas project.
Further to that, the chair of the board has the technical knowledge, the expertise, the experience and all of the qualifications--
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burlingame's appointment is based on merit. He is absolutely the right person for the job. Reports today say that the board has had unanimous approval from its members to go forward with an integrated resource management strategy which will be needed for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
Further to that, no approvals on permitting and licensing have been delayed as the member opposite indicated. Everything is going--
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, I would have assumed a much higher level of professionalism from the member opposite.
I am confident that Mr. Burlingame is ensuring that the board is operating in its usual professional capacity and that all business is being addressed in a timely and expeditious manner. There are no delays to ongoing development projects.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-56, an act to give effect to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Tax Treatment Agreement.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-57, an act to amend certain acts in relation to financial institutions.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-54, an act to provide first nations with the option of managing and regulating oil and gas exploration and exploitation and of receiving moneys otherwise held for them by Canada.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, we are committed to improving education for first nations students. It has been part of the round table process. We have already committed $1 million this year to the First Nations Technical Institute to support the ongoing post-secondary program.
The officials have reviewed the institute's business plan and we are giving consideration to a new proposal for an estimated additional $600,000 in programming support.
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister restated his commitment to meet later this month with the national aboriginal leadership. Over the past year, follow-up sessions have taken place on six key policy priority areas identified by the round table on health, education, lifelong learning, housing, economic opportunities, negotiations and accountabilities for results.
At our upcoming policy retreat, we look forward to discussing the next steps in our renewed relationship with aboriginal Canadians. Together we are closing the gap between--
View Ethel Blondin-Andrew Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have my hon. colleagues here to support me. I could not do this without them.
It is a great pleasure to rise in support of budget 2005. I have witnessed in my tenure of almost 17 years approximately 15 budgets. Of course this budget makes it eight consecutive balanced budgets, the longest run since Confederation.
I am very impressed with the strong fiscal message the government is putting forward. The prudence and contingencies that are built into this budget are basically shock absorbers to meet all the economic tests of time for our country. We live in a very tenuous world, where things happen that we do not anticipate, as has been witnessed lately. These have to be built into the budget.
I am very proud of the Minister of Finance. He has done his country proud. We are very pleased with this budget. It represents a plan to continue and accelerate our government's agenda for promoting meaningful and positive change. We have taken steps to renew the partnership with aboriginal people and with northerners to ensure that they are partners in the prosperity we build. Budget 2005 confirms this but also commits to this in the longer term.
Where I come from, the north is so well positioned in terms of all forms of development, be it social development, political development, economic development or resource development, and the government has honoured the work that has been undertaken over decades by different leadership and community groups and all stakeholders in the north.
We have put into the north $24 million in training to meet the needs of resource development, $14 million for mines training, I believe, and $9.9 million for oil and gas training under the aboriginal skills employment partnership moneys. Out of concern for the environment, we also have earmarked $9 million for protected areas strategy. In the last three years we have also spent $108 million for pipeline development. It is a huge undertaking and it requires that money.
In recent months we have invested $40 million for each of the territories, to the tune of $120 million, for the northern strategy, which is a major strategy for the government. In the last month we have put forward strategic infrastructure money, which is $90 million, for the Northwest Territories, and municipal infrastructure funding of $32 million.
Further to that, because we are right in the throes of looking at the whole pipeline development issue, the needs of the various regions are being met by a fund of $4 million, which was put together collectively by the stakeholders, that is, the federal government, the territorial government and also industry, to negotiate access and benefits agreements. There has to be a sort of clearance of the right of way. I will also mention the crime prevention moneys we have put forward, as well as the money for literacy and for women's groups, and the various other amounts of moneys that have been put forward to assist with different community needs.
We have taken the significant step, as I said, of renewing the relationship. There is increased support for the Canada-aboriginal peoples roundtable which we are undertaking. In this budget we are investing at this time $735 million over the next five years in priorities identified through this process. This is in addition to the $700 million over five years for aboriginal health programs announced in September 2004.
These investments include $345 million over the next five years for first nations early learning and child care, special education and family services and $340 million over the next five years for first nations housing on reserve. Aboriginal languages and culture and the healing foundation are all included in this. This additional investment reinforces our partnership with aboriginal people to strengthen our communities.
It is quite evident that aboriginal people did not get everything they wanted in the budget process, but there is an extra territorial process, if I might put it that way. We have a round table process which will end up in a policy retreat. That speaks to a number of areas, including housing, education, health, economic development, negotiations and accountability. These will probably all eventually roll out into more commitments.
There is concern about the amount of money for the healing foundation. The $40 million that we have put in will give us time to develop, collectively along with the aboriginal people, not presuming on their behalf but collaboratively with them, a self-sustaining healing program for the longer term. It will also allow us the time to work out the process by which the residential school issue will be dealt with. That will be done collaboratively as well.
The current generation of aboriginal children represents a tremendous opportunity for progress, but we have to close the gap in life chances that exist between aboriginal and non-aboriginal children. Budget 2005 will help us close that gap with a commitment of $100 million specifically for aboriginal children from the $5 billion national child care initiative.
I am very happy with the national child care initiative. I have been here for years on both sides of the House, in opposition as well as government, and I am glad it is the government of which I am a member that is initiating this $5 billion national child care initiative. It is much needed, believe me.
The budget also addresses the growing needs of Canada's seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement benefits for low income seniors by $2.7 billion over five years. Funding for the new horizons program is also benefiting from an increase of $10 million to $25 million a year to promote voluntary sector activities by and in support of seniors. I think this is very important for seniors.
We often talk about how important it is to preserve culture and promote the arts in Canada. It is truly exciting to see the investment made by budget 2005 in support for our culture and its arts communities in committing an additional $688 million for the Tomorrow Starts Today arts and culture package. That effectively extends the program for a full five years. This brings the total new funding for Tomorrow Starts Today to a total of $860 million over five years. This is very welcome.
I also want to speak on health care support, which is so critical. In my riding and throughout the three territories our needs are unique and challenging, in that access to timely health care services can be limited in the more remote communities of our territories. Recognizing this as part of the 10 year plan to strengthen health care, budget 2005 provides an additional $150 million over five years to the territories to support this need. This will include assistance with medical travel, a territorial health access fund and the establishment of a territorial working group and operational secretariat.
Specifically on aboriginal health, last fall we committed $700 million toward that end for an aboriginal health human resources initiative, the aboriginal diabetes initiative and an aboriginal youth suicide prevention strategy.
Budget 2005 also provides something that was very much sought after and needed by the Inuit, and that is an Inuit secretariat, which will receive $10 million over the next five years.
On December 14, the Prime Minister and territorial leaders released a policy framework laying out the vision, principles and possible goals of a northern strategy. The announcement included, as I have indicated, $120 million in a trust fund for Canada's three aboriginal territories. This is a joint initiative with the Government of Canada. It includes seven pillars in improving the quality of life for northerners.
In addition to the $108 million we got, we have received the balance of that, $150 million over four years, for the pipeline development. Our priority quite clearly now is to get a resource revenue sharing agreement with the federal government, the territorial government, and the aboriginal governments for my territory.
It is critical that we deal with the issue of net fiscal benefits and we will be engaging the Department of Finance, officials and ministers. A lot of work has transpired thus far. We are looking forward to that. Under devolution we want to complete that. We are changing or amending it; we do not have one.
We are very grateful that we have finally dealt with the defence issue with the defence policy we are promoting as a government. The $12.8 billion is much needed. It speaks to the issue of sovereignty and security in the north. It speaks to the issue of search and rescue. These are very important. The $4 billion for the environment speaks loudly to the issue of northern environmental concerns. This speaks to the whole issue of climate change and global warming. It hugely affects the north.
I am very happy with the initiatives we have undertaken. I will probably get a chance to speak to other things as we move along. I would have liked to have said more about the environment, but I am sharing my time with my colleague the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
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