Thank you so much, Minister.
I want to get to the brunt, then, of my questioning around funding. As everyone knows, I've put forward a motion—or I will be—to look specifically at funding, because I really do see it as one of the key short-term things that we can try to deal with to lead towards more self-determination and self-government.
Under the grant process today, as you know, it really is a very short and narrow window of funding that is very specifically geared to a particular area. To me, once again, it's that whole paternalistic notion that we know how best to spend their money rather than indigenous communities setting their own priorities.
My own personal view is that if we can change the grant structure so that it's operational and moves more towards self-determination, then it also gives that responsibility of establishing priorities, which then leads to accountability, which then leads to a true nation-to-nation relationship. As long as they are beholden to us for the purse strings, how do you have a nation-to-nation relationship?
I point out to you today that we had a group in our environment committee, the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, which has established the Thaidene Nëné Park up in the Northwest Territories. One of the key factors in them being very close to reaching this agreement was the trust fund that was set up that gave them very long-term and secure funding. They had the trust, and based on that trust, we're able to build on the relationship. It once again reconfirmed my whole view of that.
I want you now to just speak to that. Is the department looking in the same direction? We've have to really start looking at the whole funding mechanism to lead toward self-determination and self-government.