Evidence of meeting #12 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was money.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Hélène Laurendeau  Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

4 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

That makes sense. You have 94 recommendations, and you gave an example. That kind of chart would be very helpful for us as a committee in regard to seeing what's happening. If you're willing to share with us any of the work you've done around the calls to action and how they're moving forward, I would appreciate it. That would be very helpful.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Great. Thanks.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thanks to both of you. The next question comes from Charlie Angus.

Charlie, please.

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you, Madam Minister. It's a pleasure to have you here. The last time we spoke on these issues it was in a plane on the James Bay lowlands, but we don't have a two-hour flight and I only have seven minutes, so you'll excuse me if I seem curt.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

It's a bit bigger than that King Air.

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Yes.

I could ask questions for days on these issues, as you well know. You talked about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement sunsetting. I believe it's this year. When does it officially sunset?

4 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

As I understand, it says each of the cases gets resolved that is within that settlement. There are only a few. We're targeting 2020 in order to have it all done.

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Okay.

Has the Indian residential schools health support program already been sunsetted? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

The...?

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

The mental health support that was in the Indian residential schools health support program, has it been sunsetted?

4 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Let me check.

4 p.m.

Hélène Laurendeau Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

The main estimates identified that the residential schools program had sunsetted, but it's planned to be renewed until 2020 to finish all the work that needs to be done on the IAP, including the support until the end.

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Okay. That's good to know.

We have survivors going to court on Wednesday, where their evidence was suppressed by the justice department, as you well know, in the St. Anne's case. They are going to have their case reopened, which would be certainly a milestone in the IAP.

We have a thousand cases in the administrative split that seem to have been unfairly adjudicated. Are they part of the numbers of what you're looking at? You said that you had “a few” cases that still had to be.... Is the government going to continue to oppose these cases in court or is there a settlement process?

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Working with the Minister of Justice, we want to see as many of these cases out of court as soon as we can. This is really hard on people. I think we're close in the case in Newfoundland and Labrador. We're getting there, in that.... Harm was done, and we have to sort this out.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

I appreciate that. I would urge you to meet with Rebecca Friday and Edmund Metatawabin, because the trauma in those communities is directly linked to what's happening to these cases. If we can get these out of the judicial system, we would go a long way, so I appreciate that.

On the child welfare decision and the Human Rights Tribunal ruling, it was pretty damning last week. They raised a question about the insufficient funds. You have $126 million starting this year, but by year five, we still haven't reached the $200 million. Cindy Blackstock says it has to be $200 million now. The Human Rights Tribunal has called on the government and it's called on your department, and no offence, but it seems to be under a sort of third party management. They're wanting plans and priorities and stuff, which I think is a helpful thing, you know. How are we going to get that shortfall dealt with?

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

We had a very good meeting with Dr. Blackstock and the AFN last week. There are some programs in her estimates that I think are quite good and that we will consider.

The money that we put in the budget was the money that was absolutely necessary to make it fair across the country. The enhanced prevention dollars were pilots, and they weren't in B.C., Yukon, parts of Ontario, New Brunswick, or Newfoundland. What we chose to do was to put those enhanced prevention dollars right across the country as we work on changing the system.

We know the system has to be overhauled, and we're working with the AFN and Dr. Blackstock to put that advisory committee back together, which will advise us on the reforms. Then we will get the money as it's required to be able to fund a better system that will wrap services around kids and keep them with their families and in their cultures.

As you know, Charlie, there are more kids in foster care now than at the height of residential schools. It's a disgrace and it has to stop.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

I appreciate that. One of the things the tribunal has said, though, is that action has to happen now, because this has been nine years of fighting in the tribunal, so we're going to have to see that moved up.

I just want to ask you a few questions about the estimates and the main estimates. I have to admit that I only got 52% in grade 10 math, so I'm always challenged on these basic things. I'm looking at the nutrition north program and I see that you're putting—

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I knew you would.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

—$13 million a year into the program. That sounds great, but then when I look at the supplementaries, there was $68.5 million last year, but now it's down to $54 million this year. That reads to me like a cut in the nature of $1.5 million. Now, I don't want to do that twice because I'll probably trip on my numbers, but can you explain it to me? It seems like we've cut the program and then we're adding money, but it doesn't add up to what was there last year.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I got 97% in grade 13 math, and I asked exactly the same question, so I don't think your teacher was fair, Charlie.

This is important. What this doesn't show is that there is $18 million that's sitting there. The money you see there as the $10.2 million is actually money added to what's there to run the program. There is $18 million that is there but hasn't gone through the Treasury Board process yet, so we'll be back in the supplementaries. The $10.2 million is for the additional communities.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Okay.

Very quickly, then, when the Prime Minister was running for the job, he promised $50 million in post-secondary education, but I don't see any of that in the budget. What happened to that money?

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Post-secondary?

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

That's $50 million in additional spending a year, but I didn't see any in the budget.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Well, post-secondary, again, is a.... The assets money is in Minister Mihychuk's budget. For post-secondary, we are really needing to sit down with first nations to sort out the best way to go forward. As you know, the money for grants in the budget was doubled, so we are very interested in eliminating the wait lists in all the first nations by trying to get those kids to qualify for those grants.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thanks, Minister.