I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 18 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
I'd 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 and the proceedings will be available via the House of Commons website. During the meeting the webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entire committee.
To facilitate the work of our interpreters and ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules.
Interpretation in the video conference will work very much like in a regular committee. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of either floor, English, or French. To resolve the sound issues, we ask those who wish to speak during the meeting to set your interpretation language as follows. If speaking in English, please ensure you are on the English channel. If speaking in French, please ensure you are on the French channel. As you are speaking, if you plan to alternate from one language to the other, you will need to switch the interpretation channel to align with the language you are speaking. You may wish 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. As you release the bar it will mute itself, like a walkie-talkie.
I remind members and witnesses that all comments should be addressed through the chair. Should members need to request the floor outside their designated time for questions, they should activate their mike and state that they have a point of order. If a member wishes to intervene on a point of order that has been raised by another member, they should use the “raise hand” function. This will signal to the chair your interest to speak, and to do so, click “participants” at the bottom of the screen. When the list comes up, you'll see, next to your name, that you can click “raise hand”. I'll watch for that icon.
When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute.
The use of headsets is strongly encouraged. If you have earbuds with a microphone, please hold the microphone near your mouth when you are speaking to boost the sound quality for our interpreters.
Should technical challenges arise, please advise the chair or clerk immediately and the technical team will work to resolve them. 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 the top right corner of their screen and ensure they are on gallery view. With this view you should be able to see all participants in a grid. It will ensure that all video participants can see each other.
During the meeting we'll follow the same rules that usually apply to the opening statements and the rounds of questioning. Witnesses have up to 10 minutes for an opening statement, which is what we will be offering Ms. Bennett.
If everyone is in order and in place, I'd like to welcome our first witness for this hour, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Minister Bennett, welcome, and I am giving you 10 minutes for your opening presentation.