Evidence of meeting #12 for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was education.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Udloriak Hanson  Special Advisor to the President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Jim Moore  Executive Director, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Elizabeth Ford  Director, Department of Health and Environment, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Betty Ann Lavallée  National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
  • Dwight Dorey  National Vice-Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

11:25 a.m.

Special Advisor to the President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Udloriak Hanson

Thank you.

I've had the fortunate experience of working for the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated land claims organization. We have John Merritt here who works for Nunavut Tunngavik as well. I hope I do this answer some justice.

I'm glad you bring up land claims because, as I stated, they are a tool, but as with everything else, you can't get the job done with just tools; you obviously need materials and supplies.

Also, what is worthy of noting is that these tools, these land claims agreements, really, were negotiated with the intent to put Inuit in positions of decision-making and authority over land use and land development. This has happened, theoretically. We have the governance structures. We have these new bodies, regulatory bodies and what have you, that are in the process in Nunavut of developing a land use plan by one of our institutes of public government.

Again, there are some areas where we could use some help in terms of building capacity within those organizations. Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, and this is replicated in other agreements across the Inuit region, says that Inuit are to be employed at representative levels within these institutions and governance structures.

They are at the representative levels in the boards that govern these institutes, but we're not seeing the numbers that we need to see in the actual day-to-day decision-making.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

I'm sorry, they're at the representative level...?

11:25 a.m.

Special Advisor to the President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Udloriak Hanson

At the board level, yes, because each of these governance structures is governed by boards.

In terms of contributions, if Inuit were representative at the employment levels with the federal government and the territorial government, which is what these land claims agreements were intended to do as well, then I think we would be in a better position to use them as tools. In terms of land use and land development, you mentioned reserve and off reserve. With our land claims agreements, instead of classifying land that way, we classify it in terms of Inuit-owned land or crown land.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

We've run out of time. Thank you, Mr. Rickford.

Seven minutes to Ms. Bennett.

November 15th, 2011 / 11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Thank you very much.

In terms of the tools and with the land claims, the next step would be for the territories to be able to get some money back from the resources extracted. During the federal election there was a view that whether it's the new iron mine on Baffin or the gold mine.... Can you just explain how the resources don't seem to end up with the people of the north?

11:25 a.m.

Special Advisor to the President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Udloriak Hanson

As I mentioned with these land claims agreements, there are two different classifications, and I'm really simplifying it. I apologize to the lawyers in the room. We classify the lands as Inuit-owned land or crown lands. So in terms of Inuit-owned lands, the land claims agreements specifically outlined how Inuit were to benefit from resource extraction if it's done on Inuit-owned land.

Where it gets lost in the shuffle is on crown land, because in Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region we don't have devolution agreements. The territories don't have a devolution agreement with the federal government to specifically outline how royalties will be shared or devolved to the territories.

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Certainly during the election it seemed that to get going on that would actually very much help in terms of the resources available in the north to do the kinds of things you'd like to be able to do.

I am quite concerned in terms of the housing. Obviously, this was a big issue during the election as well. One of the candidates during the debate suggested that there wouldn't be one new unit of social housing arriving on the sea lift this summer. You said there would be no new federal money for housing. The parliamentary secretary said something different.

Where do you see the federal government helping you on housing in terms of the CMHC money, which is dwindling, and no new money?

11:30 a.m.

Special Advisor to the President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Udloriak Hanson

What's important to remember when we're talking about housing is that there are four different Inuit regions. I think a lot of time the focus goes toward Nunavut, and that may be the case in terms of no new housing for Nunavut, but there are other housing investments being made in other territories.

Before I pass it over to Elizabeth, because she's much better to answer this question than I am, I'd like to perhaps bring it back to where I started in my presentation. Where ITK could really benefit from this committee is in looking to you folks and your resources, to think out of the box in terms of how we can finance more housing projects in our territories.

We keep talking about new federal investments, new federal money. Yes, that's obviously the route to go, but perhaps we should look at the mechanisms in which the investment is being made. There have to be other ways of looking at this in terms of how we finance these core social infrastructure problems.

Do you want to add something?

11:30 a.m.

Director, Department of Health and Environment, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Elizabeth Ford

I'm sorry, what was the question again?

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

In terms of the units of social housing arriving this summer, I understood there would be zero for Nunavut.

11:30 a.m.

Director, Department of Health and Environment, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Elizabeth Ford

For Nunavut, yes. I'm not quite sure what the other regions are. For all regions, housing is a huge issue and there is a need—

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Just in terms of consultation, the parliamentary secretary said he was participating in a consultation. I think what we've felt when we've been north is that in this kind of consultation, obviously, asking is one thing and listening is another.

The way the food mail program was redone, such that things like diapers ended up off the list without anybody suggesting that's a good idea, at $75 a box...my understanding was that this renovation of the program was really not done listening to the needs of the north.

11:30 a.m.

Director, Department of Health and Environment, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Elizabeth Ford

I was going to say that I think, as Udloriak said, we do have to wait a while to see how things are going, but there is still concern—and there was a lot of concern—about some of the items that are seen as necessary and things that may have been taken off the list. There have been a couple of tweaks for now, but I would say we're waiting with caution to see what that might look like and what it means.

Actually, in my community last week, when I bought some fruit for a meeting I was at, it cost me $18 for eight oranges. So I think there's still a need. If you're still going to spend all your money on fruits and vegetables and you can't get those other supplies, there is a concern.

There were some consultations. Again, I think we need to wait and see exactly how those play out.

Jim, did you have something you wanted to add?

11:30 a.m.

Executive Director, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Jim Moore

Well, I'll just make the point that I think since the new program was announced, in fairness, there were a lot of complaints and/or comments made from different Inuit regions. Again, in fairness, officials within the department have done their best to receive that commentary and look into it. There is a committee that was struck and has been looking at it. It was recently up in Kuujjuaq.

We're hopeful that all the commentary and problems that are being tabled can be solved over a period of time. It's just that when the program was announced—and there was some degree of consultation as well—there were so many problems still on the table that had to be resolved, and it's taking a while to work through those. We are hopeful that the wrinkles in the program can be worked out, because for sure, as Udloriak and Elizabeth mentioned, if you get a chance to go into any one of the Northern stores in the Arctic, it just staggers the mind to see the price of food.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Ms. Hanson, would you like to make a comment?