Evidence of meeting #146 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 services.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Isa Gros-Louis  Director General, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada
Jean-François Tremblay  Deputy Minister, Department of Indigenous Services Canada
Joanne Wilkinson  Assistant Deputy Minister, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada
Laurie Sargent  Assistant Deputy Minister, Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio, Department of Justice
Chief Robert Bertrand  Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Cindy Blackstock  Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
Jennifer Cox  Barrister and Solicitor and Project Lead, Enhanced Child Family Initiative, Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn
Paul Morris  Lead Counsel, Mi'kmaw Family and Children's Services of Nova Scotia
Duane Smith  Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

What are you going to do about it?

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Continue negotiating—

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

But you're not.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

—with the provinces that certainly want to.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Oh. Because there's nobody.... If Paul Merriman wanted a meeting with you personally, and you want other people in the room, you would not have a one-on-one meeting with him.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

I'll take his phone call any time he calls me.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

But you didn't last week.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

I spoke with him on several occasions last week.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

You see where I'm coming from. This is a bill that is coming forward—

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

You can see where I'm coming from—

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Yes, I know.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

I flew in from Saskatoon. I went to a meeting a day early because they didn't want to have me at the official meeting. So I went to the unofficial meeting. Then they refused to put me on the minutes as having existed at the meeting, nor did they want to put on the minutes the existence of the three other organizations that were with me.

I don't take anything too personally in all of this. These are all the kinds of games that we play in the short term. In the long term, do I think we'll get there? Yes, I do believe we'll get there. I think that all provinces will come onside, because it just makes too much sense. There will be games played. That's fine. That's politics.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

There are games played, and right now people are getting hurt by it.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

I'm sorry. The five minutes is up, and we're moving back to the Liberals.

MP Will Amos.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

The indigenous constituents in my riding of Pontiac have experienced many very disturbing situations with regard to their children. The lack of services affects our entire region, particularly the Gatineau valley. This will have serious consequences for the future of these children, families and communities.

I want to know how the new Government of Quebec reacted to this bill. Of course, the issues observed are recent, but they existed before the election of the CAQ.

9:25 a.m.

Director General, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Isa Gros-Louis

During the consultation period, we met with representatives of the provinces and territories. I can say that everyone supported the concept of the bill. Quebec and other provinces stated that it would take some time to prepare for the implementation of certain clauses of the bill. Even though Quebec supports the concept of the bill, it will need time to train the people who provide services in the field.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you for your response, Ms. Gros-Louis.

Apart from the time needed to implement completely new legislation based on a totally different concept that reflects the importance of communities and the paramount importance of the indigenous child, has the new government raised any constitutional or legal issues?

9:30 a.m.

Director General, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Isa Gros-Louis

The government representatives didn't raise these types of concerns at the meeting. However, they acknowledged that they didn't have time to conduct a full analysis of the jurisdictional and constitutional issues and that they needed to take another look at the issues and discuss them.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you for your responses, Ms. Gros-Louis. It's very interesting.

I know that the Gatineau valley is very affected, especially the Algonquin communities of Rapid Lake. I imagine that they've responded very positively, but it would be good to hear your comments on the reaction of the Algonquin communities.

April 30th, 2019 / 9:30 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Jean-François Tremblay

I don't necessarily have any comments regarding the Algonquin communities. However, I want to remind you that there are already very concrete and positive examples in Quebec. We've heard indigenous groups, in particular the Atikamekw Nation, describe their positive relationship with Quebec when it comes to issues such as early childhood.

We're using the results of the work that Quebec is already doing with indigenous people, particularly on the principles. We could end up with very positive approaches in Quebec, which wouldn't necessarily be changed by the legislation. The legislation doesn't call into question the positive aspects. Instead, it sets minimum standards. Moreover, in many cases, we have the impression that these standards are already being met or even exceeded.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Okay.

You seem satisfied with your intergovernmental relations with Quebec when it comes to this bill. There doesn't seem to be any of the games that are happening in other provinces and other sectors.

9:30 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Jean-François Tremblay

I'm very satisfied with our relations with all the provinces and territories.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

I'm glad to hear you say that.

Thank you, Mr. Tremblay.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

The questioning now moves to MP Arnold Viersen.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Thank you to the minister for being here today.

One of the things that's surprising to me, I guess, is that we do seem to have—and the provincial minister in Saskatchewan seemed surprised by this—a bunch of jurisdictional issues around who the indigenous governing body is. I know that in Alberta we have the Métis Nation of Alberta, but then we also have the Métis settlements of Alberta. Who is going to “stake claim”, I suppose, on these children?

The very fact that we're sitting here months away from the summer break, and in the last year of this Parliament—