Evidence of meeting #7 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 development.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Mitch Bloom  Vice-President, Policy and Planning, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Janet King  Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
  • Sara Filbee  Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

4:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Sara Filbee

I don't know specifically with respect to that particular mine. I can get an answer for you. Consultation accommodation is handled in another part of the department, but I'm happy to get an answer for you.

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Can we make sure she gets that answer for us?

My next question, again, is this. Did I understand your testimony earlier to say that if another arm of the government, like CEAA, was not following consultation obligations you would not intervene to fight for that?

4:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Sara Filbee

The responsibility for consultation accommodation for governments lies with respect to those who are doing particular regulatory activity. If we're not doing that regulatory activity, our role is limited to advising on them. As I said, we're not the enforcers. There are a number of mechanisms for that, such as the courts and so on. That's not our role and not our mandate.

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

If another arm of the government was violating the intent, you would not intervene? You would not advise?

4:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Sara Filbee

Our role is to advise only, and the determination of the facts of a case as to whether something was being violated or missing or whatever is not our role at all.

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Okay, thank you.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Ms. Day, go ahead.

October 17th, 2011 / 4:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

It is said that, in the oil and gas industry, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs is working with the aboriginal governments and communities. Could you tell us how the roles, the terms, the rules, and the tasks are divided between your department and the communities?

Did you understand my question?

4:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Janet King

Do you mean between communities specifically?

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

I'm talking about aboriginal communities.

4:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Janet King

In every region, we have a consultation framework for discussions with all the aboriginal communities.

So embedded in the regulatory framework is the requirement to consult. As Sara was saying, there's a requirement to consult with first nations communities.

On many aspects we consult directly with the first nations communities on their broad interests in both the regulatory process and the environmental and social impacts. One example, as I mentioned earlier, is BREA, our current regional environmental assessment work. We're working quite closely and in full partnership with the Inuvialuit communities, in this case to elaborate gaps, priorities, and interests so that we can pursue and invest in knowledge acquisition to assist in answering some of their questions and issues pertaining to oil and gas development.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

If a community does not agree with the outcome, who has the right of veto?

4:55 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Janet King

What do you mean by “right of veto”?

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Who decides? If an aboriginal community does not agree with the outcome, who decides? Which side carries more weight? Do aboriginal communities ever disagree?

4:55 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Janet King

First, we try to conclude an agreement. If we can't come to an agreement,

the responsible minister for the different acts would have the final decision-making authority on a proposal moving forward in the appropriate regulatory regime. There are many mechanisms along the way for appropriate engagements with the first nations communities.