Evidence of meeting #29 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was conservation.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Monte Hummel  Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement
  • Bradley Young  Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Young, is that what you were touching on? You used the word “consultation”, but maybe we need to find a new word for that.

4:25 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Yes and no. I think the general intent and the general working dynamic Monte shared with us is generally correct. The legality that comes into international conventions and treaties, the establishment of free prior informed consent, and consent within the Convention on Biological Diversity are going to kick things up another gear in terms of some of the formality and some of the early initial design and engagement that should go into this.

I know that first nations across the land, whether it's at the community level or all the way up to the PTOs and into the national first nations governmental organizations, take the international conventions quite seriously. Things like the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—well, it's not draft anymore, because it's been ratified by the General Assembly—and different conventions are watched. There's an expression and there's a waiting and a willingness from all the parties to finally say to the Government of Canada, “Let's treat with each other.” That's the hope.

The other way of doing it is to look at each community. Chiefs in these communities are the signatories for these rights. They're going to have their unique spin on it as well. That will all have to be taken into consideration, and there will have to be a high level of rigour.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Thank you.

Ms. Rempel, you have five minutes.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Just to pick up on the theme of consultation, Mr. Hummel, I'm interested in hearing briefly about some of the guiding principles you used to bring together what you referred to as two warring factions in the development of the agreement. Could you speak briefly to some of those principles and how they could potentially be leveraged to develop a national conservation plan?

4:30 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

I'll try.

One of the things that brought us together was that the status quo was no longer sustainable. I mean, it was exhausting. It was resulting in the worst of both worlds for both of us. You kind of say that you can't continue like this.

On the more positive side, I think we stood back and realized that there was a fit. You could actually cut portions of the boreal forest and provide for economic development and provide for conservation. You could bring them together. You had statesmen-like people on both sides who said it was time to put away the weapons of war and see if we could work something out together. I can't really be much more specific than that.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

So an acknowledgement of that need for balance is there, between the strong environmental stewardship component and the economic growth.

4:30 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

It's an accommodation of each other's interests.

The good negotiator is the one who listens to the other person's position and manages to accommodate as much of it as he or she possibly can, rather than the one who folds their arms and says all he knows is that this is his position. So if people put themselves in the other's shoes....

I went through exercises where all the conservationists had to make the economic development proposals and all the economic development interests had to make all the conservation proposals.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

That's very cool.

My question for Mr. Young is this. We've talked a little to some of the other witnesses, and you spoke briefly about that urban connectivity component. This is something I think we're all very interested in. You spoke a bit about the need for first nations living in urban areas, and that there is a gap there for that connectivity back to nature and that needs to be part of the NCP.

I want to give you a little more time to expand some thoughts you might have around that, and maybe give us some examples of some programs that are working within that community. Perhaps some principles in those programs could be broadened to a larger scale for a diverse set of urban audiences.

4:30 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

The one main program that comes to mind would be the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres initiative, UMAYC. I sat on one of the adjudication committees in Alberta for this. It was managed out of the Department of Canadian Heritage. As a youth board we would give advice on the delegation of funds for urban cultural programming.

One of the major challenges we had was that connectivity piece, because the programming is meant to be deployed in the urban area, but what you wanted to connect these young people to in various ways was back to nature, back to their traditional roots, and back to their traditional culture.

That's where the gap is, in terms of program design and delivery. It's getting that connectivity in terms of the energy of youth directed back in a positive fashion out onto what I would see as a working landscape. That also has tremendous spiritual and cultural and historical resonance for those youth in the urban centres of Canada.

Is that a new program? I don't know. We've tried, to a limited degree over the years in NAFA, to work on the professional end of things with foresters and different natural resource texts to connect them back in terms of the operational side, the professional side.

But there is the whole cultural side as well that has to fit in there too. To build it into programming for national parks, again, there is no programming for a national park that I'm aware of that says we're going to pluck kids from the urban centre and bring them out to, say, Jasper.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Briefly, you spoke of that gap. What are some of the bullet-point issues that you think are some of the challenges that we need to address to overcome that gap?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Your time has expired.

4:35 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Resources, people who do it, and a longer-term timeframe because the youth have been subjected to an intergenerational traumatic experience. So turning that around and connecting it back to the land base is going to take some time. It can't just be a one-year or a two-year thing. It should be built right into the long-term goals.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Good. Thank you.

Mr. Pilon, you have five minutes.

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon Laval—Les Îles, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for your presentation.

Mr. Young, could you tell us about the efforts and progress made by first nations so far in terms of the national conservation plan? The national association mentioned by phone a map explaining their progress. Could you tell us more about that?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Specific technical work on the national conservation plan has not really happened yet. We've heard about it before, leading up to the throne speech. It was in the throne speech, and here we are now at the environment and sustainability committee to talk about it. The land base is kind of the one grounding influence for all of the policy design that happens here in Ottawa for Canada. If you have something happening, it's going to happen on the land.

Our thinking in terms of how we want to engage with this has been that we did some really solid technical work in the mid-2000s around mapping out and providing metrics for first nations lands under management—mainly provincial or territorial forestry concessions—and we said, look, here is where first nations are actually working on the land base, and they're doing all kinds of neat things here. Yes, they're logging, they're doing silviculture, but they're also doing other things there too.

At this point we're saying, well, now look at all the conservation that has happened here. So here's the Great Bear rainforest. Here is Pimachiowin Aki. Here is a regional park that has a conservation initiative with these first nations, but here are also some of the potential mining developments that are happening. Here are some of the oil and gas developments that are happening. Here are some of the other developments that are happening across the land base and creating a national story, because the national conservation plan will potentially affect all of that across the sectors.

From a first nations perspective, we want to show the first nations footprint in conjunction with all the other footprints that are on the land base, and then let the various parties work with that technical knowledge in the best manner.

That's two and a half minutes. You have time for one more.