Evidence of meeting #5 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 centres.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Natan Obed  President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Clément Chartier  President, Métis National Council
Christopher Sheppard  Vice-President, National Association of Friendship Centres
Dwight Dorey  National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Jeffrey Cyr  Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres

March 8th, 2016 / 3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

I'll call the meeting to order.

I'm going to welcome our guests in a moment, but first, I want to go through a couple of quick things. The first is to apologize to everyone for the late start. It was business of the House that kept all committee members until just now.

I wanted to outline the time that we have today. We've lost half an hour because of this. I've heard a number of committee members and others express a desire to finish on time at 5:30, so we're going to have to absorb the loss of time within our allotted period.

I don't want to take any time away from the presentations from our guests. The way that the afternoon was intended to roll out was that the first group would present for 10 minutes, followed immediately by the second group for 10 minutes, leaving 40 minutes for the committee members to ask questions. That would be an hour, and we would have repeated that again for the second two groups.

Because we've lost half an hour, we're going to have to remove 15 minutes from each of the 40-minute question periods, leaving 25 minutes for questions. I'll ask the committee's preference on this. Last week, I tried to accommodate time loss by shaving minutes, and that didn't seem to go over very well, so it's my intention to stick to the minute allotments that we adopted in the routine motions until we run out of time. In other words, we'd let that run for 25 minutes and then simply stop, and move on to the next group of presentations.

Does that sound okay to folks? Okay, thank you. That's what we'll do.

I'm also going to get a little stricter about timekeeping. For the benefit of our guests, the committee members agreed ahead of time on seven minutes per question for the first four questions, followed by five minutes per question. This is a way to maintain fairness among all members. I will be letting you know when you have a minute left in the seven-minute period, and then again when there are about five or 10 seconds left, so you can finish up. I'm really going to keep it to those seven- and five-minute segments.

I would invite committee members to try to keep the opening soliloquies prior to the questions as short as possible and get right to the question so we can hear the most that we can from our guests.

With that throat clearing and introductory comments, I'm very pleased to welcome our first presenters, who are from the ITK.

Thank you very much for being with us. I guess it's Natan Obed, the president, who will be presenting to us today. At your pleasure, please, we'd love to hear from you.

3:55 p.m.

Natan Obed President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for having the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami here this afternoon. I look forward to the discussion later. I want to thank you for the invitation.

ITK is the national representational organization for Canada's 60,000 Inuit. We are spread across Canada's Arctic or as we call it Inuit Nunangat: Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador; Nunavik in northern Quebec; Nunavut, which is its territory and also has a land claim body within that territory; and then Inuvialuit region in the western Arctic.

The foundation of our relationship with the federal government is our land claim agreements. The first was signed in 1975 and the last was signed in Nunatsiavut in 2006. The relationship we have is one that is based on the Constitution. The organization that I represent represents a very defined link between each one of our beneficiaries, the members of each one of our four land claim agreements, and the regional bodies that represent them to the regional bodies that elect the national Inuit leader, which is me. Those regional bodies also elect an international leader on the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.

We have a very tight governance structure. Also, Inuit on the board that I'm president of have the insight and perspective of our women with the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and also the National Inuit Youth Council.

In these days of debate and discussion about who represents whom and the way in which indigenous peoples of Canada choose to represent themselves, I present you with a very clear model from the individual Inuit who live in Canada to the national body that is an unbroken chain of representation, an Inuit democracy, if you will.

Our rights stem from the Constitution. We also draw from international law through UN declarations and UN conventions. We also have the shared space, as I mentioned before, through our comprehensive land claim agreements.

We have a shared space that sometimes is focused on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and often Indigenous and Northern Affairs is the place where everyone goes for the direction on the Inuit perspective. I'm always worried about that, because so many different government departments play a role in the way that Inuit services are delivered, the way that policies and programs are developed, and then the way the overarching relationship that Inuit have with the crown is actualized. While the lead per se always in land claim implementation has been INAC in its many different iterations, I think moving forward it would be safe to say that we would hope that this is expanding out and onward beyond just one department, because while the nuts and bolts of land claims may happen here within Indigenous and Northern Affairs, they spread out across the entire federal government.

Our population is unique. Our median age is 23 and that is a very different median age from the rest of Canada. Our population has grown 26% between 1996 and 2006. We have a very young and rapidly expanding population.

We also are unique in that many of us didn't live in settlements prior to World War II and so many of our people grew up on the land or were born in igloos or sod houses. The story that you often hear about, the very romantic version of Inuit, does exist still in our land, even though the reality for us of the younger generations is very different.

The challenge of our organization is to respect the relationship we have with the land and our traditions, the fact that over 60% of our population still cites as its mother tongue Inuktitut, which is the Inuit language in its many dialects, and the fact that we still feel like we live with the environment and are still coming to terms with this new reality of melding southern Canadian values and southern Canadian governance concepts with the way in which we've always lived our lives.

At the national level, our organization works with each of the four regions to understand what our national concerns are. We released our strategic plan today. In that strategic plan, we talk about seven different objectives and priority areas that we'd like to move at the national level.

Before I get into those seven objectives, I'd like to pause on the relationship piece. Politics may change very rapidly, but bureaucracies, programs, policies, and the implementation of indigenous rights move at a very different pace. We are very encouraged by the recent change of events that has allowed indigenous peoples to participate in events such as the climate change discussions last week in Vancouver, or the fact that the Prime Minister came and participated with us and our board at a meeting at our offices in January.

These changes are all welcome, and hopefully these are all signs of things to come, but we know there are systemic problems that we need to overcome with regard to the way in which we interact with the Government of Canada, and the way in which programs, services, and terms and conditions from Treasury Board all roll out in different ways for Inuit than they might for first nations, without consideration of the Inuit when those different programs, services, or terms and conditions are being drafted.

We think there should be a broad standard across each one of the federal government departments to ensure that whenever we go to talk to a minister, or to a deputy, or down at the program level, there is a structural relationship, and that it doesn't vary from person to person or from department to department. Our rights don't fluctuate that way, and therefore our engagement with the federal government should not be at the whim of a public servant, or at the whim of a particular minister, or be limited by the lack of understanding about the realities of Inuit who don't live on reserves, whose relationship is dictated by land claim agreements and public governments. There is a self-government in Nunatsiavut, but still, the way in which we interact with Canada should be at the forefront of the federal system as a whole.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Mr. Obed, I have to let you know that there's about a minute and a half left in your time.

4:05 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

I will now speak very quickly about the strategic objectives that we are laying out as we move forward for the next three years.

Suicide prevention is our first objective. To take action on suicide prevention, we will be releasing a national Inuit suicide prevention strategy this summer. We have a great belief that this particular strategy and accompanying action plan will create a new path and direction, one that denormalizes suicide in our communities and reduces the rate of suicide for Inuit as a whole.

We also have a housing crisis. Our second objective is to improve access to appropriate housing for Inuit.

Our third objective is to work toward reconciliation and that's reconciliation in the lens of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action, but also reconciliation amongst ourselves. Not all the things that we do as a national organization are outward-focused and lobbying for others to do things. We can do things as Inuit to bring ourselves together and to reconcile for the things that may have gone wrong within our families, within our communities, or across our regions.

Our fourth objective is self-determination in education. We have a national strategy on Inuit education and we have a long way to go to implement its recommendations. We look forward in the next three years to making substantial increases to student attainment, to curriculum development, and to the way in which our language and culture is infused in all that we do.

Our fifth objective is protecting the Inuit Nunangat environment and that links in with climate change. It also links in with the protection of our wildlife. We are a land-based people. We are of the environment. We want to be a part of the Canadian conversation on climate change, not just as a people but as a core component of all the work that happens.

Our sixth objective is strengthening Inuit self-determination in research. Evidence drives decision-making, but evidence also drives the creative process in which we solve our issues. We still have massive gaps in how we understand key components of our lives, which we want to improve. We have a fundamental disconnect with the academic community and also, sometimes, the federal government system for research in relation to how it functions versus how we want it to function. We want to improve those relationships.

Our seventh objective is to enhance the health and well-being of Inuit families and communities. We are working with Health Canada. We're working across different departments to work on these issues already.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you in improving the well-being, health, and economic status of Inuit in Nunangat.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thank you very much, Mr. Obed. That's much appreciated.

We're also very pleased to hear today from the Métis National Council. Speaking will be Mr. Chartier, the president, and Mr. Weinstein, the chief of staff.

Mr. Chartier.

4:05 p.m.

Clément Chartier President, Métis National Council

Thank you for the invitation. I assume there are a number of people here who are new to the Parliament and possibly new to the Métis nation.

Very quickly, we're an indigenous people who evolved into a new and distinct nation in primarily western Canada. Our traditional homeland is now encompassed by the three prairie provinces and extends into a contiguous part of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and the northern United States.

Basically, the Métis National Council is the governmental body mandated to represent the Métis nation, and we do so at national and international levels. We engage in intergovernmental processes in Canada, such as the first ministers' meeting on climate change that took place last week.

We have a lot of challenges. We were dispossessed from our lands and resources in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The exception is, of course, in Alberta. The provincial government in 1938 established Métis settlements. There are currently eight Métis settlements in Alberta. That's an exception, but that's a provincial government initiative.

After 1870, with the fall of the Métis nation in defending itself against Canada, we were treated as individuals and no longer as a collective, and we were dealt with through a scrip process in contradistinction to treaties entered into with first nations as collectivities. We were dealt with as individuals, and the federal government's scrip process was meant to extinguish our aboriginal title.

We are challenging that. We filed a case in 1994, the Morin case in northwest Saskatchewan. It's sitting there because we don't have the money to take it forward, but nevertheless the challenge is there.

In Blais, unasked, the Supreme Court of Canada in 2003 stated that scrip speculation and devaluation were part of a sorry chapter in Canada's history. In Powley on the same day, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that Métis are full-fledged rights-bearing aboriginal peoples, and their rights are no less than those of first nations or other aboriginal peoples. In Cunningham in 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the Métis have the right to determine their own citizenship.

In Daniels, which is currently before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court appeal division stated that the Métis fall under number 24 of section 91, which is “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians”, and therefore the federal Parliament has the necessary constitutional authority and responsibility or jurisdiction to enter into a government-to-government relationship with the Métis nation.

Of course, that appeal was argued on October 8 of last year, and we're currently awaiting a decision unless of course the current government withdraws its cross-appeal. CAP appealed it to expand the ruling. Canada counter-appealed to say neither the Métis nor non-status Indians fit within that term. I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in November asking that the cross-appeal be withdrawn. I have not heard to date whether it will or will not be.

With regard to exclusions, the Métis nation is no stranger to exclusion. The only veterans in Canada from World War II who haven't been dealt with are the Métis nation veterans. Métis residential schools are excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, excluded from the June 2008 apology in Parliament, and excluded from the mandate, and hence, also the recommendations or calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

We're excluded from the majority of federal programs such as those of the first nations and inuit health branch, and post-secondary education assistance. We would invite a cap if we had something to cap. In any event, we're also excluded from the various land claims processes, again our only recourse being the courts, and as I say the 1994 statement of claim is just sitting there because there is no way we can afford to move forward.

I'll now talk about priorities on the positive side and about embracing the change in government.

During the campaign, the Liberal Party stated that Canada must complete the unfinished work of Confederation by establishing a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with the Métis nation. The platform or the policy put out by the party is in your kit. Of course we're looking to the government now to act on it.

There are a number of commitments, and it was unprecedented, and we have been working with the Trudeau government to put it into action.

The most critical test of the policy will be whether the federal government is willing to negotiate and reach just and lasting settlements of the unique rights and claims of the Métis nation. As its Métis nation policy rightly recognizes, it is essential to how reconciliation with the Métis people will finally be meaningfully advanced and achieved. The policy committed to by the current government is to immediately establish a negotiations process between Canada and the Manitoba Métis Federation, to settle the outstanding land claim of the Manitoba Métis community, as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. v. Canada, decided in 2013. In fact, the government is acting quickly to engage the Manitoba Métis Federation in this process, and we look forward to the results.

This government also committed to establishing a federal claims process that sets out a framework to address Métis rights, protected by section 35 of the Constitution, which recognizes Métis self-government and would resolve outstanding Métis claims against the crown.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Mr. Chartier, I should tell you that we're at about seven minutes now.

4:15 p.m.

President, Métis National Council

Clément Chartier

Yes, and I would have finished on time, but I'll still try.

It extended the mandate of the ministerial special representative on Métis engagement, Mr. Tom Isaac, who had been appointed by the previous government to explore the development of a Métis section 35 rights reconciliation framework. Given the commitment of the present government to move on the settlement of our rights and claims, and advancing Métis nation self-government, we are keenly anticipating the upcoming report of Mr. Isaac.

The Métis nation policy also contained a number of important commitments to us that we trust will be addressed in the upcoming federal budget. It committed to invest $25 million over five years in the Métis economic development strategy, which will identify strategic federal investments in Métis nation financial institutions to enhance Métis entrepreneurship and Métis participation in business development and economic growth.

It committed to renew the aboriginal strategic employment and training strategy, ASETS, including nation-to-nation and distinctions-based approaches that respect the unique realities of first nations, Inuit, and the Métis nation in the delivery of these programs and services to our respective communities. With the renewal, the government has committed to add $50 million per year to ASETS.

It committed to fulfill the commitment in the Kelowna accord to enhance existing scholarships and bursaries available to Métis students at various colleges and universities across Canada, in partnership with the Métis nation. It also committed to convert the year-to-year program funding for our Métis nation registries into a permanent program.

The Prime Minister invited the Métis National Council to a meeting with him and a number of his ministers in December 2015 to elaborate on how these commitments could be implemented in the most meaningful way.

We are definitely looking to the budget for the confirmation of these important investments in our social and economic development. The Prime Minister and his ministers have also engaged the Métis National Council, together with the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, in meetings with the provincial health ministers on a health accord, and with first ministers on climate change and clean growth. We appreciate the spirit of partnership surrounding this engagement, which is consistent with the new nation-to-nation relationship sought by the Prime Minister. Moreover, inviting only these three indigenous governments, or representatives of indigenous governments of the three constitutionally recognized indigenous peoples to participate in these intergovernmental forums is consistent with a nation-to-nation approach and the inherent right of self-government.

In closing, the Prime Minister has stated on a number of occasions since coming to office, “There is no relationship more important to me—and to Canada—than the one with First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit.” It is our hope to continue working with the government in that spirit to achieve rapid progress.

Mahsi. Merci. Thank you.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thank you very much, Mr. Chartier. I very much appreciate your comments on behalf of the committee. Sir, I wasn't clear if you were going to be splitting time with Mr. Weinstein, but I think we're out of time in any case.

Let's roll right into the questioning. We have some eager folks with good questions. The question order will begin with Rémi, please.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank the witnesses for participating in this meeting. It is greatly appreciated.

If that's okay, I will ask my questions in French. It will be easier for me to express myself clearly. Mr. Obed, my first question is for you.

You listed seven challenges and the associated actions. I would like to hear your thoughts on the way the government could support you in a more concrete manner as you carry out this action plan.

4:20 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

Thank you very much for that question. I won't go list by list, but I think there are a number of key departments that can play meaningful and substantive roles in helping us achieve success in our strategic plan, and I think that we're very practical and focused in the way that we would ask for that support.

We recognize that the federal space is limited in what it could do for, say, K through 12 education or any other situation in which provincial and territorial jurisdiction is the sole jurisdiction of the issue.

But there are many things that we can do to overcome gaps and outcomes. I will take Health Canada as an example, where there are a number of different programs and services that are designed to close gaps in health outcomes specifically for first nations and Inuit. A lot of those programs could be improved, and there has to be a discussion with Inuit about the things that are the biggest priority to us.

I'll focus on suicide prevention. There are very few dollars that are available for overarching suicide prevention measures for Canadian Inuit. In the past, we have had small pots of funding that have been rolled out to different territories or provinces, but when we are looking at 11 times the national average for our suicide rates and we're thinking of it as a crisis in jurisdictions such as Nunavut, more action needs to be taken. Sometimes I've asked the question, when is a crisis actually a crisis? When is the federal government going to help us when we call out for that help? How bad does it need to be?

Our tuberculosis rates are about 140 times the national average. Suicide prevention rates I've already mentioned. These are human challenges that do have solutions, and we can use evidence and we can use best practices to be able to design interventions that get us to the place that we need to be.

Sometimes federal investment is secondary to restructuring the way in which you help, but sometimes investment is needed. In the case of housing, I think there is a role for the Government of Canada to play as a significant driver in changing the way that our housing happens across the Arctic. Inuit Nunangat has a housing crisis. As I said, our communities were created mostly after the 1950s. We have huge infrastructure deficits and housing is one of the biggest. How are we going to create a sustainable housing structure in Inuit Nunangat? How are we going to go beyond just social housing? Are we going to create new solutions, whether it's private housing or whether it's a combination of social housing to home ownership or housing design? I think we can be innovative and I think we can find ways to make it cheaper to ensure that this problem, this crisis, doesn't persist.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thank you. There are a few minutes left. We're at 4:25, if you have another question.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

I have another question for Mr. Obed.

I would like to hear what you have to say about the education strategy. I would also like to hear your comments on the main principles or objectives. Once again, how could the government support you when it comes to education?

4:20 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

Thank you again for the question.

It's a lifelong-learning holistic approach to increase the educational attainment for Inuit. In the early years, we focused on bridging the gap between parents and students, and the education system. With the legacy of residential schools and the newness of formal education as a whole, we still have to create a path where parents feel as though it is in their own and their children's best interests for there to be a strong bond between parents and children, and the education system. We've done quite a bit of work on that.

I think the work that is really going to change our society for the better would be in early childhood, and creating the best possible early childhood education program in Canada, or even in the world, for Inuit children. I talked a bit about our population growth. I talked about the socio-economic challenges that we have. We have an educational attainment rate for graduation of high school that is probably between 25% and 40% depending upon which region we look at. If you look at the majority of our children that aren't reaching grade 12 and try to understand why that happens, there has to be a focus on early learning and learning in our language and in our culture, such as curriculum development and accreditation issues for teachers ensuring that our language is the primary language of instruction. All these things play significant roles in the way in which we want to address attainment for education.

Post-secondary education is another area that we focus on as well. The lifelong-learning model is the one that we've ascribed to in the way in which we've developed our strategy and the way we want to implement it.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

That was perfectly timed, Mr. Obed. Thank you.

The next question is from David Yurdiga.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My first round of questions will go to Mr. Obed.

Resource development in the Arctic has brought many benefits, but with any development comes environmental concerns. Can you tell us what benefits resource development has brought to the Inuit along with some of the environmental challenges?

4:25 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

The way that our land claims agreements are structured is that we have a very clear path towards the very beginning of the discussion about whether or not Inuit would like to see development on our lands, the environmental assessment process, the development of impact and benefits agreements, and overarching financial and other considerations for training and employment. Throughout the process, our land claim agreements and our overarching indigenous rights play a very central role in the way in which any development happens across Inuit Nunangat. There are examples of great successes for our people in co-management, the business development sector, and also individually for jobs and prosperity.

There are also huge challenges that have come with the boom and bust cycle of the natural resource economy, and the transition for communities that haven't had any experience with major projects to the reality of having a mine in their backyard.

I would say that the way forward must include natural resource extraction, because our land claims are structured so that we are partners in development and so that we benefit from it. It then benefits our self-determination. It builds our assets, which we're then able to use to run programs in our communities, to build our language, to do any number of things that we wish for our society, just as the funds from natural resource extraction projects help fund the government and the way in which the government can spend money on the priorities that it sets for its people.

We're partners in this with you. I think that is a good thing for Canada, but I also think there are a lot of challenges that come from natural resource extraction in the Canadian Arctic. It's such a fragile landscape, especially in the face of climate change, but we have the bodies in place to be able to work through all of those problems. It's just a question of ensuring that there's respect for the co-management process and for the Inuit processes that started with the land claims that, at the end of the day, should be the ones that are respected by all.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

With development, there are always benefits as far as jobs go. What role does the ITK play, if any, in supporting Inuit businesses in our resource and service sectors?

4:30 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

ITK is a representational organization. We also advocate for Inuit interests. In our advocacy efforts to the federal government, we play a role in ensuring that any economic development or business development programs or initiatives are conceptualized and implemented so that Inuit can benefit from them, and Inuit businesses or organizations can make the most of them.

That is the limited but essential role that we play, whether it's ensuring that there are funds for human resource development or within INAC so that some of our businesses can access different programs that allow for major projects to happen, or down to individual businesses. That is the role that ITK plays.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

The Species at Risk Act came into effect in 2003. Can you give us some insight on who sits on the National Aboriginal Council on Species At Risk, how members are selected, and whether this is a term appointment?

4:30 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

Sorry, I don't have that information for you. I can get that information for you.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

That would be good, if you can.

Going back to the education component, we understand that we all want our children and grandchildren to do better. What is the major hurdle for getting further education? It's one thing to get high school education, but another to go further with post-secondary education to obtain the jobs that are better paying. It also encourages their children to do the same.

What is a major hurdle or stumbling block for the youth today?

4:30 p.m.

President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Natan Obed

You can start in any number of places. I'll give the example of Nunavut, where many Inuit speak Inuktitut at home and will always identify Inuktitut as their first language. They go to school from K to 3 or K to 4 in their language, but then transition in grades 4 or 5 to English. There is no real structure of language instruction in their own language beyond language arts at that time.

We need to be able to create a system across Inuit Nunangat, across our 53 communities, where our language is respected in the same way that French and English are respected in southern Canada as languages of instruction, to reach the same outcome and the same goal.

We have an immense amount of other challenges, such as small communities with limited capacity for specific biology, chemistry, or math when they get to grades 10, 11, and 12. We hope we can overcome those through distance education and access to online or satellite-based learning.

We can overcome these challenges, but there are some fundamental problems with our education system that don't allow our children at the end of grade 12 to have the same level of credentials.

I don't think we can say that the way we've provided education is fair. We expect our children to learn through curriculum that wasn't designed for them. We expect them to learn in a southern-based environment without having that balance between learning about a new culture and a new way of learning, and having the foundation of their own language, their own culture, and their own community in the classroom with them from K to 12.

There are a number of things that I think we can improve to ensure that our children have a fair chance of getting a high-quality education that is transferrable anywhere in Canada.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Thank you so much.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Andy Fillmore

Thanks for that. Mr. Obed. I was just told by our wonderful research staff here that they'll find the answer for us about who sits on the species at risk committee, so you can cross that off your to-do list. We'll take care of that and let David know. Thank you.

The next question comes from Charlie Angus.