Evidence of meeting #42 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was community.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

9:40 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

A good training program is not a loss. If you train heavy equipment operators in work geared towards a mine, they can put that training to use for things like municipal services. So when training is pushed by a community, it has already planned the sort of training it wants.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Do the other two gentlemen want to take that one?

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Go ahead, Mayor Kusugak.

9:40 a.m.

Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet

Pujjuut Kusugak

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would say start the training now, because 2017 isn't very far away. In our community, we have 30 to 40 graduates a year. Some communities have an even smaller population, meaning fewer graduates. The dropout rate is 75%. We need to be able to take advantage of the ones who are graduating and promote the completion of high school. What I have found is that in southern culture, high school is not the finish line. It's almost implanted in you to further your education, to get your university degree or college degree, and to go past that. For many people back home, high school is the biggest accomplishment that will happen within their family, because they can't leave home due to sickness, family obligations, or things like that.

To be able to do the training Mr. Tapatai is talking about at home would be a huge advantage. But training would need to start now, not just for heavy equipment operators but for other things, such as engineers, surveyors, and tradespeople. I mentioned earlier about having to branch off from just the small positions, such as janitors or helpers in the kitchen and things like that. There really does need to be a supported effort all around by all levels of government, and by our regional and territorial Inuit organizations, to promote that.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Trost.

Mr. Jenkins, we don't have time for you to answer that question now. I hope somebody will give you an opportunity with a question soon.

Mr. Julian, you have up to seven minutes, please.

June 7th, 2012 / 9:40 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Thanks to our witnesses as well.

We've had very interesting witnesses today. We had very interesting witnesses on Tuesday as well, including Melissa Blake, who's the mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the area of Fort MacMurray.

Ms. Blake talked about cutbacks in federal funding for infrastructure. One of the things she has just let this committee know about is that the federal government cut funding in the amount of $334,000 that was going to the Fort Chipewyan airport, in the area north of the oil sands.

I'm very interested in learning from each of you to what extent the federal government is walking the talk. We certainly heard from Ms. Blake that there are huge shortages in infrastructure and problems in health care funding and getting doctors. There are issues around infrastructure funding and the airports, of course, a whole range of problems, where the federal government isn't present, isn't providing funding, or has, in the case of the airport, cut back on funding.

To what extent do you see the federal government providing the infrastructure and funding that is important both for quality of life and economic development?

I direct the question to all three witnesses. Could I have brief responses? I have some follow-up questions.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

We'll start with Mr. Jenkins.

9:45 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

To respond to your question directly, I don't believe Yukon has anything but praise for the federal government, its existing programs, and the moneys that come into Yukon.

That said, if you want to look at doctors in Yukon, we have one of the highest ratios of doctors to population of any jurisdiction in Canada, and it's because of the quality of life and the infrastructure that's in place. If you want to look at—

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Yes, thank you. Because I have a number of other questions, I'll ask Mr. Kusugak and Mr. Tapatai to respond as well.

9:45 a.m.

Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet

Pujjuut Kusugak

Thank you.

We can have up to 11 planes at our airport at one time. As I mentioned, it's the hub. The apron and terminal will be expanded, which is great to hear. We will also be receiving funding for the business case for a possible port facility. Receiving this kind of funding shows how feasible it is, but also these types of infrastructure are extremely important for development, to be able to accommodate the growth in our communities.

If you have something you want to follow up on, I can try to answer that also.

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

More specifically, is funding available for the airport expansion?

9:45 a.m.

Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet

Pujjuut Kusugak

It was awarded to us last spring. Because we have to ship everything by barge, now we have to wait for the construction season. So if you miss the boat, you've missed the boat.

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Thank you.

Mr. Tapatai.

9:45 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

I'm not aware of any federal funding for our community, but Baker Lake is a hotbed for exploration. We have a mine, and they have an offloading facility. We don't even have proper infrastructure for a port to offload our barges. A floating barge offloads all their materials. Companies are expected to take this out of their existing budgets. If we are to become independent, we need to have better docking facilities. We need better airports so we can keep attracting exploration companies to continue to work in our region.

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Have you applied to the federal government to fund any of those projects?