Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Minister, as well as everybody else who's here. Thank you for your time.
My questions are about the environmental assessment agency cuts and first nations. The main estimates show a cut in financial resources for the agency, about 43%, and regardless of whether that's sunsetted funds or not, it's still a reduction.
The explanatory notes say that funding for the participant funding program will be cut by $1.1 million, and funding for aboriginal consultation will be cut by $1.1 million.
In a presentation prepared by the agency in November 2010, the agency was advising a committee of deputy ministers about risks related to the underfunding of aboriginal consultation in relation to the gateway. It says:
Lack of funding may limit the ability of aboriginal groups to reasonably and meaningfully participate in the consultation and environmental assessment process. If aboriginal groups cannot consult meaningfully due to a lack of resources and capacities, and if the Crown fails to provide adequate funding, [there is a] moderate to high risk that the courts would find the consultation process to be unreasonable.
Has the department done any analysis of the costs that might be incurred by delays due to court actions concerning the gateway, but also other projects like this?