Yes, you have a number of elements there.
In terms of the negotiators, it's a mix. We have full-time public servants who are hired as negotiators and work on specific files. Sometimes they leave the negotiations at tables. In other cases, the minister names a chief federal negotiator--somebody under contract--and quite often it's for the higher-profile, more difficult tables. Sometimes it's towards the later part of the process, when we need a closer, in some cases, somebody with a lot of private sector experience.
We have a mix of the two and we provide direction to both. They work under our direction. They work under the same kind of mandate that's approved by cabinet. So that's a little bit of the mix.
In the case of the north, yes, it is a bit of a challenge to find qualified negotiators. We had a negotiator on the Dehcho process for many years; you know who he is. We were sorry to see him leave for personal reasons--nothing to do with frustration over the process--but we've picked up with staff negotiators since then. Actually, I'm quite surprised at the progress that we've been able to make, because I was worried also about that table.
So yes, that is an issue in terms of continuity when we're using contracted negotiators.
On the issue of the overall cost, yes, we do insist on seeing work plans--and realistic work plans--on what can be achieved: how many meetings; what can be done between meetings by technical working groups; and how we can reduce costs associated with travel by doing more video conferencing--which is a little bit difficult, sometimes, to accept, but sometimes the logical thing to do is to quickly touch base.
We are looking at ways to reduce that cost for us, as well as for our partners, first nations, or territorial and provincial governments.