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Evidence of meeting #42 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was community.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Peter Jenkins  Mayor, City of Dawson
Pujjuut Kusugak  Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet
Peter Tapatai  Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

It's more than just a financial question. It's really a social and self-determination question as well, is it not?

10:25 a.m.

Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet

Pujjuut Kusugak

I believe so. It can't just be about finances. There are so many things attached to this issue.

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

For instance, on a tangent, Mr. Tapatai, I understand that the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization recently voiced concerns about the Kiggavik mine project's potential effects on caribou. A problem was raised concerning how the English documents weren't effectively read by or translated for elders. Is that accurate? Has that been rectified?

10:25 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

I am not aware of it. The process is just starting.

For the record, I'd like to say that we have a gold mine. Caribou do migrate through that area. You know, a blast can be quite a loud thing. We see caribou sitting along the side, right at the mine, after an explosion. I think something can be done to ask what the effects of mining on the caribou are. I have not seen anything change. I'm not a caribou, but you know—

10:25 a.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

10:25 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

—if I could, I would share it with you. I think there is a lot that can be shared. If you'll take a look at what is happening in Baker Lake with the mine, with the wildlife and stuff, a very big migration of caribou goes through there.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Nicholls. Your time is up.

We'll go to Mr. Allen.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to our witnesses for being here today. I appreciate the testimony. We've heard a lot of varied thoughts and opinions.

Mr. Jenkins, I'd like to start with you. I just want to make sure that I'm very clear on the process for the environmental reviews and assessments. Under that framework agreement, does that mean, for want of a better word, that there's an equivalency at the local level in the territory for the environmental assessment of any major project?

10:25 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

Yes. There are regional boards in all of the major communities. There are basically three and sometimes four. Dawson has a regional office for YESAB, and their recommendations go forward to the main office in Whitehorse.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Okay. So you each have one, and they're all within the territory, basically. That, presumably, would be approved at a higher level after that.

10:25 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Okay. Thank you.

I want to talk to you folks a little bit about resource development, people resource development, actually.

Mayor Kusugak, I found your comments interesting, with respect to how the education system has changed a lot to maybe being more of a southern type of delivery.

Back in New Brunswick a number of years ago, we made a huge mistake when the provincial government took trades education out of our schools. We lost a generation of tradespeople. It's been a major concern to us as we're trying to catch up now.

Can you, and Mr. Tapatai as well, talk to me about the profile of the education system in the territories? How broad is the delivery and the nature of the programming delivered to the students at the junior high and high school levels in terms of the basics or in terms of trades?

Second, have you gotten together with the companies to try to develop a long-term resource plan so that the territory can actually develop the education system so that these students are coming out at least at the preliminary stages of their trades education?

10:30 a.m.

Mayor, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet

Pujjuut Kusugak

On the long-term resource plan, as I mentioned earlier, Agnico-Eagle Mines does have an agreement and a partnership working towards skills in the mining sector. I think the education system in Nunavut is pretty good, having worked there, having had some of the best colleagues I've ever worked with there, but there are some improvements that do need to be made. In reality, not everybody is made to be a university student. There are some people who are more skilled with their hands, in things like the trades. There does need to be some kind of streaming towards the trades area, and also for students who are more interested in the technical areas, such as engineering, surveying, things of that sort. So there really need to be improvements there.

I don't know if that answers your question.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Partially. I guess the improvements would be picked up in this trade school and the trades training as well.

Mr. Tapatai, are you seeing the same thing in your area, that some of the students are getting the opportunity to at least get started in the trades? I'm thinking that as we start to get into post-secondary education and further training in the trades, there at least has to be that base in the school system.

10:30 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

I would like to use myself as an example. I went to a residential school in Churchill, Churchill Vocational Centre. There's a school there focused on what sorts of skills the Inuit people had. One of the things that made it interesting is that we were able to look at being a mechanic, a drafter, or a welder, and at the same time we still did the other in-class math and reading.

I think Inuit are capable of working very well with their hands, and maybe more vocational-type classes can be put into schools, so that you utilize.... There is a big difference in percentage in people who will take academic...probably a bigger portion will be doing vocational, practical things that will make them.... But there is no money allocated for those things. I think those things are very valuable. Academics seem to be pushed in schools. As Mayor Kusugak said, we're not all going to be doctors and lawyers; some are going towards a vocational end, and we should have homegrown vocational right in the high schools.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Thank you, Mr. Allen. You're out of time.

We will finally go to Ms. Liu, for five minutes.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you.

May I ask the committee for unanimous consent to continue after the bells start for the vote?

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

You've heard the question. Ms. Liu is asking for unanimous consent to finish her round of questioning if the bells start. Is that agreed?

These gentlemen have come a long way, and we certainly want to get in as many questions as possible.

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Go ahead, please. That's agreed.

June 7th, 2012 / 10:35 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

I appreciate that. Thanks to the committee.

Also, thanks to the witnesses for coming down here. I'd like to reiterate my colleagues' welcome to the south.

I'd like to start my line of questioning with Mr. Jenkins. I was reading the Yukon energy strategy last night with great interest. I see that there is, as a goal, increasing energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. What is the progress that's been made on that so far?

10:35 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

Actually, our demand for electrical energy is ever increasing because of the high cost of fossil fuels, and more and more are converting to electric heat, which is hydro-generated. So all of our new condos and residences, primarily in Whitehorse, are electrically heated. Even in rural Yukon, in our community, which is now on hydro, electric heat is more in place than fossil fuel heat.

It's probably an opportunity for Canada to look at a multitude of areas. The one that everybody is afraid to look at, which is being looked at in Alaska, is a lot of the small nuclear reactors that come in a sea-can and that you bury in the ground. They run unattended for 30 years, and then you dig them up and take them out. But because of the consequences of what happened in Japan, with nuclear energy and nuclear reactors, everyone is afraid to even consider it or look at it. But I believe it's an opportune time, because the demands for energy are going to ever increase, and it might be an opportunity to get off fossil fuel, use nuclear energy for generating electricity, and use electricity to heat our various residences.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Right. Do you have any information on the specific progress that has been made on this and on the follow-up or...?

10:35 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

I'm not aware of the results of the follow-up.