I call the meeting to order. Welcome to meeting number eight 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 Haudenisaunee, 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 entirety of the committee.
In order to facilitate the work of our interpreters and ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules.
As you are speaking, if you plan to alternate from one language to the other, then you will need to also 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. It's found on the icon at the bottom centre of your screen.
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 hold down the space bar while you are speaking. When you release the bar, your mike will mute itself, similar to a walkie-talkie.
I offer a reminder that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. Should members need to request the floor outside of 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. 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 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 any technical challenges arise—for example, in relation to interpretation or if you are accidentally disconnected—please advise the chair or clerk immediately. The technical team will work to resolve them. 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 that they are on gallery view? With this view, you should be able to see all of the participants in a grid view to ensure that all video participants can see one another.
During this meeting, we will follow the same rules that usually apply to the opening.
It's time for me to welcome our witnesses: from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, National Chief Robert Bertrand; from the National Association of Friendship Centres, Christopher Sheppard-Buote, president, and Jocelyn Formsma, executive director; from the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council, Larry Frost, president, and Lindsay Swooping Hawk Kretschmer, executive director; and from the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre, Edith Cloutier, executive director.
Chief Bertrand, we are ready to hear your opening statement. You have five minutes, please.