Evidence of meeting #39 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 estimates.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Michael Wernick  Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Thank you for the question. I think you could get quite a bit of it out of my speaking notes.

The key initiatives are $150 million for specific claim settlements, $3.4 million for the renewal and implementation of self-government financial transfer agreements with three Yukon first nations, $2.6 million for first nations school net youth initiatives, $2 million for the first nations child and family services program information management system, $1.6 million for the implementation and self-government costs of Sechelt Indian Band self-government, $1.4 million to support regulatory reviews and to modernize the regulatory system for major resource projects—this is part of the major project management office initiative—and $0.2 million for the compensation related to the transfer of provincial crown land pursuant to the McLeod Lake Indian Band Treaty No. 8 adhesion and settlement agreement.

I think you'll find that adds up, more or less, to $161.2 million.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Thank you very much.

Further to that, under supplementary estimates (A), it also includes $3.4 million in funding for the renewal, as you just mentioned, and implementation of self-government financial transfer agreements.

I wonder if you could explain why this expenditure is necessary.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Treasury Board approved the newly negotiated self-government financial transfer agreements for the three self-governing Yukon first nations that I mentioned in my speech—Kluane, Kwanlin Dun, Ta'an Kwach'an Council—as well as the transfer of responsibility for delivery of the departmental post-secondary education program to a fourth self-governing Yukon first nation, and that's the Selkirk First Nation.

This included an increase in spending of $3.34 million in 2011-12, and this was included in the supplementary estimates (C) for 2011-12. The inclusion of the $3.4 million in the supplementary estimates (A) 2012-13, which we're talking about today, is to provide ongoing funds to the departmental budget for both the increase in the new self-governing financial transfer agreement and the post-secondary education transfer increase to be funded for 2012-13. They should be more straightforward next year. Presumably it will be in the main estimates, not in the supplementaries.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Thank you very much.

I wonder if you could explain to the committee the purpose of increasing the funding to support self-government implications in Sechelt and in the Yukon first nations, as outlined in the supplementaries.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

The money in the supplementary estimates for the implementation of the self-government acts is on a one-time basis to be available to support the development of fiscal and financial policies and procedures, human resource policies and procedures, a land code, registry of laws, system upgrades to track own-source revenue and training and transition, and then on an ongoing basis to be available to support enhanced financial management, implementation of fiscal and financial policies and procedures, insurance, implementation of a comprehensive human resources management regime, legal and accounting services, community-based planning, and ongoing system maintenance.

5 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Thank you.

Mr. Chair, I don't have any further questions. If I have any time left I will allot it to anyone on our side.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

There's limited time left, so maybe we'll catch them on the next stage.

We'll turn it over to Ms. Bennett for seven minutes.

June 6th, 2012 / 5 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

I think the chair understands that the purpose of supplementary estimates (A) is the opportunity for the minister to request additional funds for issues that do not have sufficient funding through the existing mechanisms. So I think Ms. Hughes's point is correct, that the thinking around what the minister asked for, or hasn't asked for, is within the mandate of what is in the supplementary estimates, or is not.

With respect to the survey that was released over a year ago, in terms of the massive investments needed to improve first nations wastewater systems, your government then supported a Liberal motion on the right of every first nation to claim safe drinking water. Mr. Minister, why is there no additional funding in supplementary estimates (A) to address this appalling crisis in water and wastewater capacity, and when do we expect 100% of first nations families to be properly housed with safe drinking water?

5 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

A point of order, Mr. Chair.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Mr. Seeback.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

There's a logical fallacy in the argument being put forward by the other side. To suggest that supplementary estimates (A) allows you to ask questions about what's not there leads to the logical conclusion that you can ask any question under the sun, because lots of things aren't going to be in the supplementary (A)s. We could ask why Aboriginal Affairs isn't funding programs in downtown Toronto for non-aboriginal youth. It makes absolutely no sense.

We're here to ask questions of the supplementary (A)s. Many of us have questions on the supplementary (A)s, and I think we should be moving toward those questions.

Thirty minutes of the committee time has elapsed in three rounds of questioning because people won't ask supplementary (A) questions.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

I know that members want some latitude with regard to this, and it's an opportunity today to have the minister before us to ask questions. Now I think it's important that we undertake a study of the supplementary estimates (A). It's something that Parliament has been allotted to do by a lot of people, and I think it's important that we stick to it.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Chair, with due respect—

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Ms. Bennett, you referred to Ms. Hughes's intervention. She kept referring to page 61. In fact, supplementary estimates (A) are found on page 66, so I would ask that members—

5 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

No, just about what's in and what's not in—