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

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

I'll explain. There's a difference between funding for the friendship centres, which is secure. Over the past two years they have been administering the whole of the urban aboriginal strategy. At the moment, the National Association of Friendship Centres has the money booked. It's there, and they just have to sign their contribution agreement in order to get the money to flow.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

All right.

The next question I have is again with respect to my riding. We have an alarming first nations gang issue going on. We have asked a number of times on behalf of my riding that this government take its focus from the urban areas and come to the rural areas. Again, I'm glad that the cameras are on, Minister, because I think sometimes you do your best work—or the government does its best work—when the cameras are on. Unfortunately, when the cameras are off, and the media aren't watching, we still need help.

We have a first nations gang problem in Williams Lake. I'm imploring you to work with your colleagues and come out to my riding to help us address this. The chiefs from our area, the Tsilhqot'in chiefs, have implored government to try to help in finding a solution with our provincial government. We need your help.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

I think that on some of these issues around gangs.... The police chief in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, developed a HUB model that really began to work to prevent people going into gangs.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

We're trying to work on the same thing. Again, I talked with you during the pre-inquiry meeting in Prince George, and I told you that we are creating hope with no plan. This program, whether it's the violence, the first nations violence, was spoken of that day, too, but this is all part of our truth and reconciliation, and truth and reconciliation have to go beyond just words.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

As we know, hurt people hurt people. One of the problems is that people who have had childhood trauma have had no hope in their lives. That's a problem with addictions, with violence, and eventually with incarceration.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

What are we going to do?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

We are going.... That's why I think the crime prevention model coming out of public safety, Project Venture, and some of these things, that have been absolutely shown to work—

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

It's been cut.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

You won't have to do this alone. We'll be with you.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

It wasn't renewed, though.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Minister, I'm afraid we have to move on.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

What wasn't renewed?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

The project wasn't renewed for 2016.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Project Venture? We're working on it. We are working very hard on programs that work. I believe that one works, and we're going to try to find the money for it.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Because it wasn't renewed.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Okay, that—

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Pardon?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thank you for that.

The next question is from Rémi Massé, please.

May 5th, 2016 / 4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Hello, Madam Minister. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. I would also like to thank all your staff supporting you. I know that a lot of work goes into a meeting like this.

I would like you to talk to us about education. The budget provides approximately $3.7 billion for first nations' education. I am trying to compare the estimates wtih the budget presented.

Can you provide a breakdown of the funding in the budget?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

The budget provides $1 billion to build schools and $2.6 billion over five years for students in order to improve education and training, and in particular literacy.

That is the worst word in French: alphabétisation. Did I say that okay? Merci. For the literacy, numeracy, and special education, we've targeted

these matters in order to obtain results.

It's language and culture, but one of the things that's exciting right now is that there are a number of like-minded first nations coming together to build school systems. They will build their own training, professional development, accountability, and student success programs. There's some money in there to encourage anybody who wants to come together to develop their own school system, because we know that's what's going to work bottom up.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Thank you.

A number of witnesses who appeared in recent weeks told us that there is a significant gap as regards education in each province and education on first nations reserves.

I would like you to tell us about the supplementary estimates that have been allocated. Will these supplementary estimates help close the gap in education between first nations and the rest of the population?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Unfortunately, only 39% of students complete high school. This is a tragedy for them and for the rest of Canada.

Increasing accountability for students' success is therefore absolutely essential.

4:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Hélène Laurendeau

Perhaps I can add something.

The injection of $2.6 billion is specifically aimed at improving the on-reserve per child investment in education. The purpose of this funding is to reduce this gap. The goal is to invest, among other things, in languages, cultures and other methods to be determined with the first nations.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

I would like to draw your attention to a specific situation. I am of course from the Gaspé, and I represent Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia. There are three large aboriginal communities in the riding. They are Micmac communities. Since the majority of these people are anglophones, they have to go to New Brunswick for training. Since they live in reserves in Quebec, they receive a certain amount of funding to take courses in New Brunswick. There is nonetheless a gap between the funding provided by Quebec and the costs of receiving education in New Brunswick.

I wanted to point this out to see if there is any way of helping them out with this.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

That's a very interesting question. The members of first nations have to make choices. This is an issue we need to rectify.