Evidence of meeting #26 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 first.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Robert Louie  Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board
  • Austin Bear  Chair, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Graham Powell  Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Elizabeth Childs  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Patti Wight  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Ruth Nahanee  Senior Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Daniel Millette  Manager, Strategic Planning, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Maybe I can't read my own writing. It could be 37.

4:15 p.m.

Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

I will just add that the operationals have been using it since January 2010. They have been in and we've been getting their feedback. Much of their feedback has been, “This is great. Give us more and more detail.”

That's where we have had to adjust, and that's where we would really like to get the lands governance courses up and online. They're extremely detailed and very rich with templates and samples. As of yet, they're not online.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

There are just a few seconds left, unless you have a very short question.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

I do not. Thank you very much.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Seeback.

Mr. Cotler, you have seven minutes.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As I understand it, there's a growing interest in first nations joining the land management regime. There are some 56 first nations that have joined or are about to join. In the previous testimony before this committee, the regional chief from Ontario made the point that it's almost like being a victim of your own success. As more join, this places existing pressures on those that are in it in terms of their capacity to engage in the proper training.

Do you find there are more pressures with respect to being able to provide appropriate capacity training as more and more first nations join? Are there enough resources for that purpose?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

As far as the training is concerned, once the land governance courses are designed, or the courselets, or the meeting place, it wouldn't matter if there were just the current 58 signatories, or the next 18, or the next 100. They would still access the same material.

Where the strain would be on resources would be with our staff going out and helping 100 new first nations through the community voting process. The strain would be there, and not so much on capacity-building. They would all get access to the capacity-building strategy sites.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

I'm just referencing some of the testimony that came from Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse, who made some reference to the fact that the existing communities that are part of the regime have greater stress to maintain their capacity needs, because the regime is becoming more and more extended by reason of the fact that more and more communities are joining it and the resources available are more strained.

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

I guess one way of answering this would be that perhaps he was thinking less along the lines of capacity, and more on how the government would deal with operational funding and developmental funding.

There once was a concern that as more first nations were added the funding level to the successful ones would be reduced, but we're not encountering that. Chief Louie and Chief Bear signed a memorandum of understanding with the minister back in October that identified what the operational and the developmental funding would be, and that is fixed. So it's not going to be going down just because a first nation is successful in economic development. They're not going to be penalized for being successful in creating jobs and revenues for their members—

4:20 p.m.

Chair, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Chief Austin Bear

Or the number of new entrants.

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

Or the number of new entrants, as Chief Bear said.

I'm just wondering, Mr. Cotler, if perhaps that's what the chief from Ontario was referencing.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Cotler,

Mr. Rickford for seven minutes.

March 1st, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Thank you, and thank you to the witnesses.

It's nice to see Chief Louie here again. I hope we have the opportunity to visit your community.

This is an outstanding deck, by the way. My questions are going to focus almost pre-entry here, because I want some of this information not just for myself but I think for the benefit of the committee. I've got a really recent example that will help me go through this.

We're focusing on development, and I think, as the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board has said, building opportunity-ready communities. The context in which you're here, and so many other witnesses, is this idea of land use and land-use planning, and the focus in terms of one of its ultimate or superordinate goals would, of course, be economic development. They don't just cross-fertilize. They're essential, not just to what we're studying but to what we hear from the communities.

I had a meeting last week in Sioux Lookout with the Lac Seul First Nation, and this is a wonderful, progressive community that has embarked on a number of initiatives, moving ever more closely to working with, and needing, the capacity around land-use planning. So I wonder if you would take me through this, because there's a lot of literature on the framework agreement signatories, but there's not enough messaging out there, and perhaps it's a question of resources as well, about getting these communities in position to actually be entrants.

I want to have that frank discussion because I've got a community that I think is ready, certainly in terms of my own preliminary analysis in the work that I've done in my role as parliamentary secretary in understanding this, Chief Bear. This is a chief coming to me and saying, Greg, I think we're ready to embark on this. What are the steps to be one of these opportunity-ready communities? What, if any, resources are available?

So much of what we have here in the literature talks about the signatories. Can you take me through those steps and make comments along the way?

I'm turning the rest of my time over to you folks in the hope that you'll do that.

4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

There was a letter that just recently went out from the ADM to the unsuccessful first nations at this point in time. The minister wrote to the 18 that were admitted, and the ADM of lands and environment wrote to the others. In that letter the indication was to contact the regional departmental officials, and they would work through with each of the first nations what it would take for those first nations to become ready.

Part of the department's analysis of the applications was on the readiness of the first nation. That was a process done entirely by the department. In fact, they're meeting nationally right now out in Winnipeg, as you know, to discuss how to organize for each of the first nations coming to the regions asking the question, how do I get ready? Each of the regions will be identifying the contact person to respond to that.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Is there, Graham, a mentoring process here, best-practice communities that are signatories? I realize the resources to a certain extent guide or direct your mandate for actual signatories to the framework agreement, but I'm concerned about the department being the only place available for the communities to become entrants.

Elizabeth, you look like you're ready. Go for it. This is exciting. I need to help this community.