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

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you, Mr. Young.

If you could make a recommendation to the committee, what would the recommendation be on this? Be as clear as you can, so we can get it in the report.

4:15 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Let's talk about an envelope for the aboriginal forest sector. Let's discuss that and let's move that forward. It is important for first nations aboriginal communities to be prosperous in the rural hinterland of Canada and be contributing to the lifeblood of the country, as opposed to being perceived as a drag.

Let's get on with joint prosperity. That's what I would say.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you.

Then you talked about article 8 on biological diversity, and you talked about needing involvement and consent of aboriginal peoples. Can you talk about the current state and what you would like to see going forward?

Again, the more specific you can be in making recommendations to this committee, the more helpful that is.

4:20 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

I checked up as far as I could because our shop is a small technical shop here in Ottawa, but we were monitoring the fact that Canada was going to ratify and sign the convention on biological diversity. There are articles underneath the convention that are internationally binding and have a very direct implication for a national conservation plan, given that consent, given that involvement, given that equitable sharing of benefits is explicitly in the text of the treaty.

I think you need a really good technical platform and a due diligence design in terms of making sure that platform is built into the national conservation plan and doesn't get missed. You can't get around it because it is a binding international covenant. I don't think folks have to be alarmed by that. By and large, in terms of what Monte has shared there, that when you start dealing with indigenous folks and first nations people you'll often get beyond the positioning very quickly, if it's a respectful relationship and there is some parity in terms of resources.... You'll get down to mutual interest and mutual development, and you'll just get moving forward.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Sorry, Mr. Young. I don't want to interrupt.

What would be the very specific recommendation to the committee?

4:20 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Be very specific.

4:20 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Please design a resource and a technical package that can look into paragraphs (a) and (j) of article 8 as they apply to the national conservation program.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

You talked about conservation refugees. Can you talk about what has happened in the past and what you want to ensure in the future?

Again, I'm asking for a very specific recommendation.

4:20 p.m.

Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

Bradley Young

Boy oh boy, that's a huge topic. It's not a really well-known portion of history that a lot of Canadians are in regular contact with. I happen to be lucky in the sense that I have done some advanced graduate work and have lived, worked, played, and prayed—done everything—in the mountains of Alberta.

The creation of the national parks in the latter part of the 19th century was a tremendously contentious event with the confederacies of the northern plains—I'm talking Treaty 6, Treaty 7, and Treaty 8 territory, as well as the present-day B.C. first nations. When you have a situation where a land base was once used for medicinal gathering, for hunting, for traditional uses, for spiritual uses, and the next day the walls are up and you're actively excluded, and you could be legally, and were legally, prosecuted for going into those areas, there is an emotional pain at the minimum.

What has happened over the years is that there have been various legal challenges to that, various activism. I think of Jasper, in particular, of the national parks because I had some professional engagements there. They are working busily at repairing that relationship.

It takes an awareness of that history first. It takes good discussions, and then eventually, as things move forward, it takes investment of resources and a willingness to do things differently there.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Thank you.

Your time has expired. We're now going to begin our first second round of questioning, and it's five minutes each. We'll begin with Ms. Leslie.

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to both the witnesses. This has been very interesting. It has been really interesting to listen to your testimony.

My first question goes to Mr. Hummel. When you talked about sharing the leadership, that struck me. You said that NGOs have great and innovative ideas. I'm just wondering if you could just share with us a bit more about how we tap into that, this sort of innovation that's happening on the ground.

How would we support that? Is it a matter of supporting programs with groups that maybe are trying out different things? Some will work and some won't. Is it sort of like the cream rises to the top? What's the best way to support that innovation?

4:25 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

You can do that. I guess I would suggest that the actual drafting and development of the plan itself be a joint effort, that you bring a diversity of people to the table here. It doesn't have to be a throng of thousands.

The people who cobble this together should be representative of the dozen interests that come to the table, and not just be orchestrated by government. I think you need a committee—I hate to say it—a group of people to put this together. It needs to be the product of a mind greater than just the government, in my view.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Both of you talked about consultation in different ways. I hear people dismiss consultation and say that they have to do it to make sure they've dotted their i's and crossed their t's. But there's a big difference between that kind of consultation and meaningful consultation, which actually draws out the best of what's happening on the ground.

4:25 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

I'm sure Bradley will speak to this. Consultation, involvement, seeking support—these are all passive ideas.

I've been very busy in the Mackenzie Valley. You'd never hear me say that the conservationists want to protect the ramparts. You'd hear that the conservationists support the chief of Fort Good Hope, who wants to protect the ramparts. The leadership for these initiatives needs to come from the people who are going to be experiencing the consequences of them. It's a matter of sharing the fashioning of it, the creation of it. It's not a matter of just cobbling something together and then working with...by then, it's often too late. You sort of say, “If we'd been involved in putting this together, we would have put it together differently.”

There are people outside government who are capable of bringing real, positive energy. They can fashion this thing with you and work with you to pull it together and write it and help you with all the folks who need to be involved to make it successful. That's really what I have in mind. It's not consultation. It's not involving.... It's not going to people after the fact. It's getting people in on the ground floor to actually put it together.