I have the honour of calling this meeting to order. Welcome to meeting number 15 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
I would like to start by acknowledging that I am joining you today from the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabe and Chonnonton nations.
Pursuant to the order of reference of April 20, 2020, the committee is meeting for the purpose of receiving evidence concerning matters related to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today's meeting is taking place by video conference. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. During this meeting the webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entire committee.
In order to facilitate the work of our interpreters and ensure an orderly meeting, I'd like to outline a few rules to follow.
Interpretation in this video conference will work very much as it does in a regular committee meeting. You have the choice, at the bottom of your screen, of either floor, English or French. In order to resolve the sound issues raised in recent virtual committee meetings and to ensure clear audio transmission, we ask that when you are speaking, you set your interpretation language as follows. If speaking in English, please ensure that you are on the English channel. If speaking in French, please ensure that you are on the French channel. As you are speaking, if you plan to alternate from one language to the other, you will also need to switch the interpretation channel so that it aligns with the language you are speaking. You may want to allow for a short pause when switching languages.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can either click on the microphone icon to activate your mike, or you can hold down the space bar while you are speaking, and when you release the bar the mike will mute itself, just like a walkie-talkie. I will remind everyone that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair.
Should you need to request the floor outside of your designated time for questions, you should activate your mike and state that you have a point of order. If you wish to intervene on a point of order that has been raised by another member, you should use the “raise hand” function. This will signal to the chair your interest in speaking. In order to do so, you should click on “participants” at the bottom of the screen. When the list pops up, you will see next to your name that you can click “raise hand”.
When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. When you're not speaking, your mike should be muted.
The use of headphones is strongly encouraged. If you have earbuds with a microphone, please hold the microphone near your mouth when you're speaking to boost the sound quality for our interpreters.
Should any technical challenges arise, for example in relation to interpretation or if you accidentally are disconnected, please advise the chair or the clerk immediately, and the technical team will work to resolve the issue. Please note that we may need to suspend during these times as we need to ensure that all members are able to participate fully.
Before we get started, can everyone click on their screen in the top right-hand corner and ensure they are on gallery view? With this view, you should be able to see all the participants in a grid view so that all video participants can see each other.
During this meeting we'll follow the same rules that usually apply to opening statements and the rounds for questioning of witnesses during our regular meetings. Each witness will have up to five minutes for an opening statement, followed by the usual rounds of questions from members.
Now let me introduce our witnesses. Representing their views as individuals we have Éric Cardinal and Ellen Gabriel; from the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, we have Robert Watt, president; and from Sheridan College, we have Elijah Williams, director of indigenous engagement for the Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support.
Mr. Cardinal, you have five minutes for your opening remarks. Please go ahead.