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Results: 1 - 15 of 86
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I welcome the minister and his team.
I'm listening to the housing discussion with a lot of interest. It's still a big issue in the north and all across the Arctic. I'm very happy with the investments that we've been seeing from our government in the last number of budgets.
In my previous life, I was the minister of housing for the Government of Northwest Territories. It was very difficult to access federal funding for housing. We did get a couple of million dollars from the government of the day, the Conservative government, but we got absolutely no indigenous housing money—not a penny. It wasn't until this government got into power that money started flowing from Indigenous Services into the Northwest Territories for indigenous housing.
Now we have rapid housing money flowing, co-investment funding for affordable housing and homelessness and, on top of that, the stream from Indigenous Services. I'm quite excited about that.
I'll give you the opportunity to give us an update on the progress made and on some of the work that has happened with the territorial governments and indigenous partners.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
It's quite exciting to see the number of units. I've lived in small indigenous communities, and I know there are at least 14 units hitting the ground. Seven of them are being retrofitted, and there are seven brand new ones coming up. That's just a small community. There is a lot of excitement. It's good to see that every indigenous government has received a funding commitment for housing in the Northwest Territories. I'm very happy about that.
I want to ask you a quick question on some of the devastating impacts of climate change. We are seeing communities flooded or starting to fall into the ocean or rivers because their banks are starting to erode. We need to do a lot to mitigate some of the impacts.
Maybe you could talk about what's being done or planned to try to mitigate some of the damage or impacts of climate change in our communities. How do we build a better environmental future in the north?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm listening to the discussion with very, very keen interest. There's a lot of focus in the supplementary estimates on what the department is doing to address food insecurity. This issue has been around for a long time. It's good to hear that there are new options out there. There are new investments for greenhouses and for hunters and trappers, and there's an expanded program, but I think it's going to take more than just one government to deal with food insecurity. It's also going to take more than just addressing some of these programs through nutrition north. It's going to take a whole-of-government approach. I've been saying this for a long time. I know you've heard me say it before.
Having roads that go to our communities would eliminate the need for nutrition north in a lot of them. We have quite a few communities that don't have roads yet. All the communities along the Mackenzie Valley Highway are not accessible by road. Many of them are only able to get freight by plane. Even then, because some of our runways are not long enough, the plane can land with only half a load. That's the same with passengers too, by the way. Landing and takeoff restrictions really impact us in the north.
When we talk about food insecurity and the cost of living, transportation infrastructure is a big part of it. Can you explain how the government has approached dealing with the cost of living in our small communities? How are we dealing with investment to build better accessibility in small communities?
We had an investment for the road to Whatì. That has been a game-changer for the community. People can get out of the community to go into the larger regional centres, and they can be back that same evening. The cost of living has gone down too, but there are other communities where you can't get out. You sometimes have only six weeks to get a new fridge or a new larger piece of merchandise. It's very challenging.
I'll give you some time to respond.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My last question is regarding—
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Okay. I'll just ask the minister to speak a bit about how CanNor is benefiting the north, especially during the pandemic.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the presenters today. It's a very interesting discussion.
In my previous life as an MLA with the Government of the Northwest Territories, I was a minister for a number of years, and one of my portfolios was emergency management. We dealt with many disasters in those days—floods and fires—and we had very little in terms of a relationship with the federal government of the day, which was the Conservative government. It was practically non-existent, so it's very exciting to see the involvement of the federal government when it comes to disasters that deal with indigenous people.
This past year we had quite a few floods in the Northwest Territories. I found it very refreshing to have the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Public Safety, the regional director general for the Northwest Territories, and the Red Cross all reach out to the communities and offer their services and provide support. It was really comforting to know that everyone was there, working together.
We know there are going to be more disasters. We talk to the indigenous people in our communities. We have some reserves, but we mostly have public communities. A lot of the indigenous people say that some of the communities may have to move.
Historically, our people were nomadic and communities were built where there were flood zones. When you ask an indigenous person why they are located there, they say that this was their summer area. They never used to stay there in the winter, but the church set up there, or the government set up there, so they had to move there.
Anyway, now that there's more concern over disasters, are you listening to the indigenous people? Are you talking to them about traditional knowledge, about areas that are known by them to be flood zones? Even for forest fires, historically, indigenous people would use fires as a tool to burn fields where geese would land and burn brush where there was a threat of fire.
My question is this: Is that part of the discussion when you talk to indigenous governments, indigenous people, about disaster protection and preparedness?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
My next question is specific to the Northwest Territories.
We have public communities and reserves, and then we have communities that are self-governing. It gets to be a bit blurry when it comes to who's responsible for what. We have 15 tables set up, all having discussions and negotiations. A lot of these are about self-governance. At some point, we're going to have quite a few nations in the Northwest Territories that are self-governing. They have land tenure and areas of responsibility that include emergency management.
How does the department stay engaged with them, or is that a responsibility dealt with by another department?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Yes, that's right.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for presenting today. I really appreciate this level of discussion.
I come from the Northwest Territories. We've certainly started to see more than our share of communities being put in emergency situations. We're starting to see more and more communities flooded and more and more communities threatened by fire. I see the sense to be prepared of communities that are in harm's way and that have historically been in flood zones and threatened by floods, and communities in areas where there are high fire rates. Every community should have an emergency response plan. Most of them do in the Northwest Territories.
As there are more emergencies, there are fewer resources to respond when it comes to evacuations. I watched when my small home community had to accommodate a community that was totally wiped out by a flood. A couple of days later, a second flood hit another community, so we had two communities trying to come into a small community, and people weren't ready to accommodate them.
I want you to talk a bit about how important it is—if you look at it in your study, I think you referenced it—for communities to be able to respond to receiving people who have been evacuated, sometimes with very few clothes and blankets, and little food, so that no one seems to be scrambling.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, I think I'm splitting my time with Marcus.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Okay. I have another question.
I liked the reference you made about communities being able to stay on the land. You talked a bit about how that worked during COVID.
I watched with interest when there was a fire heading in the direction of one of my communities, one that's 100% indigenous. They wanted to move them to a neighbouring community and put them in hotels. The elders and chiefs said, “No, we don't want to go to a hotel.” Historically, when a fire came to their camps or communities, they moved out of the way. They just wanted some help to get a place set up a little out of the fire's way—out of harm's way. They were perfectly happy there.
When COVID hit, we saw a lot of similarities. People wanted to be out on the land rather than in a different community or a place where they weren't comfortable.
Could you talk a bit about the benefit of that?
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Chairman, I have a point of order.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Chairman, you put the question to the committee, checking to see if there was unanimous consent. Obviously, Patrick has voiced concerns and there will not be unanimous consent, so I'm not sure why we're going to a vote.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Chairman, I have a question regarding your comment. I see that everybody voted in favour, but you said “on division”. I'm not following what that means.
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