The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P. – Minister of Finance

April 11, 2017

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Thank you, minister. My region of Nunavut unfortunately suffers from very high unemployment, particularly on the part of its big Aboriginal majority.

I’d like to ask you specifically about the ASETS program, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, that was announced in your 2017-18 budget, with a pledge to renew and improve the ASETS program. I’d like to draw your attention to concerns about that program. I do want to say that it has been very effective in training people in fisheries and marine skills and in the mining sector, but there are some concerns.

A senior manager at Arctic Co-operatives Limited, which is one of the bigger employers in the North, with 1,000 people in 32 stores, told me that they were hoping to employ the ASETS program to train Aboriginal people to take over as managers, creating new opportunities for entry-level employees; but the program, as presently designed, is limited only to unemployed persons.

I know it’s in your mandate to work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to improve the job-training system in Canada. I’d like to know if you will consider this issue and how you might engage with stakeholders to enhance the program so that it can more effectively lead to better-paying jobs for Canadians, including in management.

Hon. Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Finance: I’d like to thank you for that question and come back to part of what you said in your comments, which is that this program was having some positive impact.

We looked at this ASETS program and saw that it was actually having a positive impact. For that reason, we decided that we wanted to continue to focus on how it can do more and more. I will certainly take away and try to better understand the issue that you identified, which is its ability to help employment in managerial positions. I’m not familiar with that issue, so I will take it away.

But I will tell you that this is part of a broader context for us in thinking about how we can ensure that Canadians are able to successfully deal with what is a very dynamic economy. ASETS is but one measure that we put in place in this budget.

In this budget, we are thinking about how we help Canadians to get the skills over the long term that are going to make them resilient as they consider whether the job they’re in is maybe not the final job for them. We’re starting to think about children learning basic coding skills, because we know that’s important for their long-term ability to be successful. We’re thinking about things like how to put more money into cooperative education programs across the country. We’ve seen significant success stories in co-op education in universities, so we’ve expanded that through the Mitacs program for universities and colleges.

We have looked at how we make sure that people who get into the Employment Insurance system have access to the kind of training that we need. We put in an increase in the funding there. We’re working together with the provinces, respecting provincial jurisdictions, to make sure that we are able to actually have an important impact there as well. Then we’ll be thinking about specific programs, like ASETS, where we can actually have a targeted impact on communities across our country dealing with changing and dynamic situations.

I will take that away and speak with my colleague. I want you to know that that’s part of a broader agenda of trying to ensure that Canadians have access to great jobs and the ability to move from one job to another, if that’s what they choose, with the kind of training they require to get there.

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

March 28, 2017

Arctic Fisheries

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: My question is to the Government Representative in the Senate. I was pleased to note that Budget 2017 talks about creating jobs in the fishery and coastal and remote indigenous communities, and it proposes $250 million over five years and $62.2 million ongoing to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, among other things, to augment indigenous collaborative management programming.

My question is about whether these welcome initiatives to support opportunities for developing the indigenous fishery will finally be accessible to Inuit in developing their growing fishery along Canada’s largest coastline.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and his ongoing interest in this matter. We’ve had discussions outside of this chamber. I will make inquiries with respect to the precise question that you are asking and be happy to report back.

Senator Patterson: Thank you. I appreciate that commitment. I’d like to note that the budget document talks about renewing and expanding the successful Pacific and Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiatives for indigenous persons.

I would like to ask the Government Representative if he would also acknowledge that there is also, in addition to a Pacific and Atlantic coast, an Arctic coast, which is actually longer than the Pacific and Atlantic coasts combined.

Senator Harder: I will indeed confirm my understanding of geography and that we do move sea to sea to sea and, of course, in the context of my earlier commitment, I will raise that with the minister.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P. – Minister of Foreign Affairs

March 7, 2017

Satellite Licensing Framework

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Welcome, minister. I wrote you a letter outlining an issue with the operation of a remote sensing satellite ground station in Inuvik.

As a quick explanation, because of our unique geography, our northern territories are a great destination for remote-sensing infrastructure. We have attracted interest in this world-class facility from leading edge commercial agencies, Norway, USA, Germany and the European Space Agency. But they are expressing frustration, and Canadian companies are expressing continued frustration with Canada’s licensing process.

Your department issues licenses for these companies to operate in Canada and access data from satellites. The licensing process is — respectfully — slow, complex, the legislation is probably outdated. There are real frustrations, which we fear will risk foreign investment going to other more receptive jurisdictions in this fast-moving technological field.

I wonder if you could tell me, please, if you’re aware of the satellite industry’s frustrations, and are you intending to address this issue?

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P, Minister of Foreign Affairs: Thank you for the question. I am very much aware of this issue. I am aware of the role that global affairs play in licensing and I’m aware of the Senate’s focus on it.

It would obviously be inappropriate for me to comment on specific licensing applications, so I won’t do that, but let me say that I am a big believer that we need to get rid of unnecessary red tape. That doesn’t help anybody. Actually, speaking about the Canada-U.S. relationship, one of the most effective areas of cooperation we have with the United States is a joint Canada- U.S. group that works on bringing our regulations together and not having duplicate of regulations. It’s something that I’m very focused on. I think we can always do a better job at cutting red tape at home.

I also very much agree with your point, senator, that this is a fast-moving sector where a lot of innovation is happening and where, by virtue both of our technological prowess and our geography, there is a real opportunity for Canada to play a leading role. When it comes to stand-alone foreign applications, to have a presence in this area, there are obviously particular national interest concerns that need to be carefully taken into account.

I am sure everyone in this chamber would agree with that, but let me just conclude by saying I am very aware of the issue in general. I’m aware of the specific cases to which you have alluded. I am aware of the desire by many parties to get things going.

The Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains, P.C., M.P. – Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

January 31, 2017

Remote Access to Digital Connectivity

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Minister, I’m sure you’re well aware of how digital technologies and tools have vastly improved our quality of life in Canada, in every field of human endeavour. From medicine to education, digital technology is helping Canadians live better, more productive and healthier lives.

This is especially important in my region of Nunavut, which I think is arguably the most remote region of Canada. Despite the importance of Internet and digital technologies in a region that isn’t even connected by roads, we have, sadly, on average, the highest rates and the lowest service levels of any jurisdiction in Canada.

We were quite thrilled on December 22 when the CRTC responded to many appeals from the North and declared that broadband Internet is an essential service.

Here is the question and challenge I’d like to ask you about, minister: We are appreciative, of course, of the $500 million over 5 years that was announced for the Connecting Canadians program that is money meant for all of Canada. But this amount does fall short of addressing the infrastructure gap in Nunavut, which has been estimated to cost $1 billion to remedy.

Recognizing that government funding alone will not help to close that gap, is your government willing to enter into longer- term commitments of, say, 10 years or more, which I believe will encourage the private sector to invest in and further develop the much-needed communications infrastructure in the Far North?

Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains, P.C., M.P., Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development: I’d like to thank the honourable senator for that question. As the senator knows, I’ve spoken about this issue on numerous occasions, around two key areas of access and affordability when it comes to Internet connectivity.

Taking a step back and talking about, as you said, the new digital economy. I don’t say “the economy” anymore; I always say “the digital economy.” We’re in the fourth Industrial Revolution. Our supply chains, our businesses and way of life have become more digitized than ever before, and every company is a tech company. The importance and prevalence of technology, especially digital technology, the speed and scope, is phenomenal compared to what we’ve seen with some of the industrial revolutions of the past.

When it comes to Canada, one of the challenges we deal with on access is the digital divide between urban and rural and some of our remote communities. To that effect, in the last budget, as I talked about, we made some down payments when it comes to innovation. One was the cluster initiative that I talked about a few moments ago. The other was the Connect to Innovate $500 million allocation. The program is designed based on extensive consultations with stakeholders. We think we can leverage up to $1 billion, because it is a true partnership that we want to have with others as well. That is important to note.

As you also mentioned, CRTC made a ruling with regard to this, and they also put forward a proposal of $750 million that the telecommunication companies should assist with in terms of dealing with this issue of access in rural and remote communities.

We feel that initiative, coupled with our program, is definitely a very positive step. It does not deal with the entire gap. I’m currently working with my colleagues and others to determine how to deal with those additional challenges going forward. But we wanted to act immediately, hence why we put forward the Connect to Innovate program, to provide high-speed Internet connectivity in some of these rural and remote communities.

This is coupled with the CRTC and the work I’m doing with my provincial and territorial counterparts. I’ve set a table around innovation and economic development, and this is one area as well. When you look at the combined dollar value, it could be over $2 billion to deal with the issues of Internet connectivity in rural and remote communities. That is a significant step, but it doesn’t address all of the issues.

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

December 15, 2016

Vacancies on Co-Management Boards

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Leader, Institutions of Public Government, or IPGs as we fondly know them, are co- management boards established under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which ensure that Inuit are involved with governments in the regulation of development review and impacts, water, wildlife management and land use planning. The effectiveness of these IPGs are critical to an effective and efficient regulatory regime and welcoming investment climate in Nunavut.

The problem is that Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Governor-in-Council have not appointed new members to boards that are now facing serious challenges achieving quorum. Some of the boards have as many as six open seats. Some have been vacant for a number of years.

There are five IPGs dealing with vacancies or bare quorums: the Nunavut Planning Commission, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Nunavut Water Board, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal.

My question is — I don’t expect an answer at this moment — when will the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Governor-in-Council begin appointing members so these boards can continue their good work effectively and efficiently?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): In responding, I will meet your expectations and not provide an answer, but I will take notice of the question and ensure a response is forthcoming from the appropriate authorities.

Obviously, appointments to these bodies are important for the conduct of the business of these organizations, as is the issue of appropriate representation and diversity on all of these boards, agencies and commissions, and the government is diligently pursuing both objectives.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Vacancies on Co-Management Boards

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on December 15, 2016)

On February 25, 2016, the Prime Minister announced changes for Governor in Council appointments to support open, transparent and merit-based selection processes.

Under the new process, merit is assessed through rigorous selection methods. Qualifications and criteria are designed to align with the mandate of each Institution of Public Government (IPG). It is anticipated that this new approach will create a pool of qualified, vetted candidates for each organization from which nominees can quickly be drawn.

I remain committed to working closely with my senior officials and counterparts to implement the Government’s approach to appointments in the most timely and effective manner possible. This includes appointments to fill vacancies on the Nunavut Planning Commission, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Nunavut Water Board, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal.

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

November 2, 2016

Inuit Fishing Enterprises

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Mr. Government Leader, I had hoped to ask this question of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans yesterday, and to begin by thanking him for his recent decision on the 2016-17 shrimp increase in Davis Straits West, allocating 90 per cent to Nunavut and 10 per cent to Nunavik.

The minister’s decision clearly respects the adjacency principles set out in the Nunavut and Nunavik land claims agreements, and I give the minister credit for that. I also thank you for intervening with the minister in that respect.

But my question is about the federal government’s Aboriginal fisheries strategy established in 1992, in response to the Supreme Court R. v. Sparrow decision. The Government of Nunavut, Nunavik Tunngavik Incorporated and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board recently looked at options available to help support the development of our important and growing fishery in Nunavut. The study noted that from that fund $671 million has been utilized by First Nations Aboriginal groups on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to buy fishing licences and fishing enterprises, just the kind of support we need in Nunavut.

However, Nunavut, which I don’t need to remind you has the longest coastline in Canada, has no access to this fund. Nunavut fishing enterprises desperately need access to quotas in the south to operate year round and therefore make their enterprises more economically viable.

I realize you may not be prepared to answer this, but can you tell me if, as requested by Nunavut stakeholders, a program is being developed for the Inuit of Nunavut to allow them to also grow their fishing enterprises?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Let me begin by thanking the honourable senator for his ongoing interest in Nunavut. Given the nature of his question, I would be more than pleased to seek an answer from the minister. I regret that you didn’t have time to ask it yesterday.

Senator Patterson: Thank you.

Fisheries and Oceans

Inuit Fishing Enterprises

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on November 2, 2016)

Introduced in 1992, in response to the 1990 Sparrow decision and other objectives, the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy program (AFS) provides a framework for the management of fishing by Indigenous groups for food, social, and ceremonial purposes and provides a small amount of support for commercial fisheries opportunities (through the Allocation Transfer Program part of AFS introduced in 1994). The AFS program serves, in part as a “bridge to treaty” and is applicable in areas where the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) manages the fishery and where land claims settlements have not already put in place a fisheries management framework.

DFO’s investments in Nunavut have focused on commercial scientific research. The federal government contributed $40.5 million towards the construction of Nunavut’s first commercial fishing harbour in Pangnirtung, which opened in 2013. Between 2009 and January 2016, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency also committed over $8.6 million in support of commercial fisheries projects in Nunavut.

DFO has begun working with its Federal partners, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, and the Government of Nunavut to explore the needs and opportunities of Inuit of Nunavut with respect to commercial fisheries.

The Honourable Judy Foote, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Services and Procurement

October 18, 2016

Nunavut-Specific Procurement Policy

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Thank you and welcome, minister. As I’m sure you know, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement signed April 1, 1999, and the major lawsuit settlement agreement between the Government of Canada and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated signed May 4, 2015, among other things, committed Canada to a Nunavut-specific federal procurement policy. That policy recognized the right of Inuit-owned companies to have access to federal procurement contracts and, in certain circumstances, to have preference on procurement contracts with the aim of creating Inuit employment and business opportunities.

When can we expect that policy to finally be put in place? How is your government going to implement this important policy across all federal departments?

Hon. Judy Foote, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Services and Procurement: Thank you for the question. We are indeed committed to ensuring that opportunities are available to indigenous groups. Certainly, through PSPC, we’re working closely with Treasury Board and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and other government departments to develop a Nunavut-specific procurement policy. It’s my hope and expectation that this work will result in enhanced Inuit opportunities.

We are working in close consultation, by the way, with the Nunavut Tunngavik and expect to implement the Nunavut- specific procurement policy early in 2017.

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

June 22, 2016

Shrimp Quotas
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, it seems that northern shrimp are migrating north to colder waters off Nunavut in response to warming waters further south. This is happening at the same time as DFO is reviewing its policies around reducing shrimp quotas. My conviction is that the policy being reviewed by DFO which is fondly known as LIFO, Last In, First Out — I am not really fond of it — is contrary to Canada’s solemn obligations under the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement to respect the principle of adjacency in allocating shrimp and other fisheries resources.

Very quickly: Will you advance my concerns expressed in my statement last week to the Minister of Fisheries?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Indeed, I will.

The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry, honourable senators; the time for Question Period has expired.

Fisheries and Oceans

Shrimp Quotas

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on June 22, 2016)

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is aware of Canada’s obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement as it relates to the principle of adjacency. He is cognizant that he must take into account treaty rights and requirements under the Land Claims Agreements in his decision-making with respect to the fishery.

In addition to the recent process of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on the Last In First Out (LIFO) policy, the Department engaged separately with Indigenous Groups and land claimants, including Nunavut stakeholders, seeking views on LIFO.

The Minister publically stated on July 6, 2016, “Proportional Sharing is consistent with the approach used in most other Canadian fisheries with respect to stock and allocation management. Applying this principled approach of Proportional Sharing means that the inshore and offshore fleets as well as Indigenous Peoples will continue to share in the economic benefits of this precious resource. Sharing arrangements must also respect land claims agreements and the interests of Indigenous groups as well as the interests of adjacent coastal communities.”

The Government of Canada will continue to seek to respect land claims agreements in our fisheries management decisions.

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

June 9, 2016

Russia—Dumping of Toxic Chemicals—Arctic Sovereignty
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the Government Representative in the Senate.

Last week I expressed my concerns and those of my constituents in Nunavut about a Russian rocket launch last Saturday which was expected to result in debris, including toxic hydrazine fuel from a rocket stage from the launch, falling into Canadian waters. I did appreciate the Government Representative’s assurance that the Government Operations Centre would carefully monitor this launch.

Earlier this week we heard from Ms. Mylène Croteau, a spokesperson for Public Safety Canada, who told Nunatsiaq News that the government operations centre had been monitoring the rocket launch and that “Nothing has landed in our territory.”

My question is this: First, where did the rocket launch debris fall if not in what was described as our territory, please?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and for his ongoing interest in this important question.

I would like to report, as the honourable senator’s question confirmed, that the rocket was launched on June 4. As his question last week indicated, there was concern with respect to the potential for the rocket to land in Canadian soil.

I am left to understand from authorities that Public Safety Canada, the Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment and Climate Change Canada monitored the launch and reentry. Transport Canada issued a noticed to airmen to restrict air traffic for the time surrounding the launch. The precise entry point has not yet been made available, but current information expects that the physical debris landed in open water and sank.

The environmental concerns that the honourable senator raised with respect to hydrazine are taken seriously, but at this point there appears to be no evidence of that. Experts in Canada’s Department of National Defence have assessed that there is a high likelihood that the hydrazine fuel used to boost this rocket phase would be either completely expended prior to separation or burned up in the atmosphere upon reentry, and therefore minimal environmental damage or risk is believed to have taken place. However, we are not yet able to confirm that. Authorities are continuing to monitor.

I should also indicate to the house that, as I indicated last week, this has been an area of active conversation and, indeed, deliberate engagement with the Russians to express our concerns and our frustration with the lack of clarification at various times.

We’ve used the occasion since the launch to remind the Russians of advance warning being required, and we’ve also urged the Russian government to make every effort in future both to give us advance warning and to ensure that nothing falls within our exclusive economic zone.

Senator Patterson: Well, I’m pleased that so many federal departments were involved in monitoring this situation, which has caused great concern in Nunavut, particularly to the residents of the area where the second stage was slated to land somewhere between southern Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

I would like to reiterate that although the debris was not planned to fall within Canadian territorial waters, it was projected to possibly fall on Canada’s exclusive economic zone. Canada enforces its jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone through the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and has a remedy for the dumping of pollutants, including from the air, in those waters even though they’re outside so-called “territorial waters.”

I would ask the Government Representative in the Senate this: Since it seems that we are not really sure yet where the debris fell, would Canada keep the people of Nunavut informed about what more is learned and also about what remedies might be pursued to prevent this kind of thing from happening in future?

Senator Harder: I would be pleased to ensure that the appropriate information is provided to the people of Nunavut and elsewhere.

With respect to the future, the kind of cooperation we are asking of the Russians cannot necessarily be guaranteed, so we’ll have to continue to be vigilant.

Foreign Affairs

Russia—Dumping of Toxic Chemicals—Arctic Sovereignty

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on June 9, 2016)

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping provinces and territories, including Nunavut, informed of potential hazards to the safety of their people and the environment. The Government closely monitors the trajectory and re-entry of rocket launches and space debris through the Canadian Space Operations Centre (via NORAD), the Government Operations Centre, NAV Canada and Transport Canada.

When made aware of the planned launch, the Government of Canada demarched the Russian ambassador and asked Russia why Canada did not receive more notice. In doing so, Canada stressed to the Government of Russia the importance of taking necessary precautions to protect the environment, as well as the need for greater advance notice of planned launches to ensure that all potential risks, particularly those relating to environmental impacts in the Arctic, can be appropriately addressed. Canada has also informed the Russian government that we expect them to make every effort to ensure that debris does not land within Canadian territory.

With the prevalence of satellite launches and cooperation in space, it is not uncommon for there to be space debris. This issue is governed by a number of international treaties, which require member states to refrain from intentionally causing damage to other countries when conducting outer space activities. Canada expects Russia to fully comply with its obligations in this regard.

In the hypothetical scenario of space debris landing within Canadian territory, the Government of Canada would engage with the appropriate Province or Territory to explore options for recovery.

The Honourable Senator Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

June 2, 2016

Russia—Dumping of Toxic Chemicals—Arctic Sovereignty
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator, in a May 18, 2016, article in the National Post, Dr. Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, drew Canadians’ attention to the imminent launch of a Russian hydrazine-fuelled missile with debris from this rocket stage projected to land in Baffin Bay in the High Arctic two days from now.

Honourable senators, the negative effects of hydrazine are well documented. More recently, articles were published yesterday reporting the outrage Canadians feel about the chemical pollution of a Canadian exclusive economic zone subject to protection under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.

Marty Kuluguktuk, the senior administrative officer of Grise Fiord in Nunavut, told me, “Polar bears, seals, whales, birds and indeed all wildlife utilize this area in Baffin Bay, and, in turn, we harvest these animals for food. We feel the North is pristine, and dumping of these extreme toxins will go up the food chain and affect our health in the High Arctic.”

The missile debris is set to fall into Baffin Bay this Saturday.

Just a last bit of background before I ask my question. Canada’s new approach is to re-engage with Russia. I’m aware that all Global Affairs Canada has done on this issue is to give a moderate statement saying they have “. . . sought clarification from the Government of Russia regarding the lack of sufficient notification of this rocket launch,” and they have “. . . stressed to the Government of Russia the need for greater advance warning of planned launches to ensure that all precautions, relating both to the safety and security of our airspace and any potential environmental concerns, can be appropriately addressed.”

What more will Canada do to protest this violation of Canadian law and reinforce its sovereignty in the Arctic? Is Canada prepared to pursue legal options it has to recover the cost of environmental cleanup in Baffin Bay as they’re entitled to do under the 1972 Space Liability Convention?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I want to thank the honourable senator for his question and for the courtesy of giving me notice of the question. I appreciate that and can inform the Senate, as he has referenced, that the Government of Canada has conveyed directly to the Government of Russia its concern about this launch and has protested its displeasure in not receiving earlier notice of the launch and has stressed to the Government of Russia the need for greater advance warning of launches in order to take necessary precautions with respect to our safety, environment and security.

We have also informed the Government of Russia that we expect them to make every effort to ensure that the debris does not land on Canadian territory.

These messages were strongly conveyed, and the Government of Canada is reflecting on its next steps when, and if, this launch takes place with the consequences that the honourable senator has referenced.

Senator Patterson: Senator, my understanding is that the debris will land in Canadian waters. It will land on the North Water Polynya, an 85,000 square kilometre ice-free area. Canada knows that because a NOTAM has been issued precisely defining an area in which that debris will fall, and information about the launch, the type of rocket and fuel and the likely location of the debris field was publicly available in early May.

I think Canada has had some significant notice of this. I believe that blaming Russia for a lack of notification might seem, to some, to be a bit of a diversion, because the government has known about this for some time.

Will Canada be deploying search and recovery teams with the necessary equipment, helicopters, haz-mat suits, to Grise Fiord in anticipation of this debris falling into Canadian waters this Saturday?

Senator Harder: I can assure the honourable senator that the Government Operations Centre is monitoring the situation closely to ensure that in the event of any requirement, response is available as quickly as possible.

Senator Patterson: Hydrazine is an extremely toxic substance, so toxic that pressurized haz-mat suits are required by technicians who work with it. The United States ended their Titan missile program 10 years ago due to health and environmental risks after one of their last U.S. missile stages dumped two tonnes of hydrazine into the environment.

Greenpeace — and I don’t usually, or maybe never, align with Greenpeace — has stated that dumping these chemicals from a ship would be a clear violation of international and Canadian law, and it is no more acceptable when it is dumped from the air.

In light of this outrage, will Canada lead an effort to push for an international ban on hydrazine-fuelled rockets?

Senator Harder: Again, I welcome the senator’s question and would like to convey that the Government of Canada is reviewing all its options. I will particularly make reference to your suggestion.

The Honourable Senator Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

May 11, 2016

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Leader in the Senate.

This week, the Government of Canada removed its objections to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and signalled, in the words of Minister Carr, that it is planning to implement a “Canadian definition” of the treaty.

While the federal government has jurisdiction to regulate some resource development projects in Canada, most resource development projects are regulated by the provinces and territories and through processes established in modern treaties.

What is the government’s plan to implement a Canadian definition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will this plan include consultations with provincial and territorial governments?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. I can assure him that is the practice of governments of Canada past and present, namely that in implementing international treaties there is appropriate consultation with relevant jurisdictions to ensure both proper understanding of and alignment to the commitments Canada has made.

Senator Patterson: There are concerns about this new step making it more complex if not more difficult to get things built in Canada. The government leader in the Senate has indicated there will be the start of a consultation process. Could the leader comment on the time frame for this consultation process, which hopefully will lead to clarity on the meaning of this step by Canada?

Senator Harder: Honourable senators, I would be happy to undertake to inquire with respect to time frame and report back.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on May 11, 2016)

The Government of Canada is now a full supporter, without qualification, of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, advancing the vital work of reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada. The Government is committed to adopting and implementing the Declaration.

The Government of Canada will engage with and work alongside First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, as well as with provinces and territories on how to develop an Action Plan to implement the Declaration. Existing federal/ provincial/territorial fora will be used to engage provinces and territories.

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

May 10, 2016

Nunavut—Northern Infrastructure
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Mr. Minister, I come from the Nunavut territory, which has no highways between communities and no road link to Southern Canada. Infrastructure in Nunavut is sorely needed to boost the mining sector, and our economy relies on mining.

Your department and government has loudly identified municipal transit infrastructure as a priority. We hear a lot of talk about shortening commuter times in the major urban centres, which I do understand, but major infrastructure and transportation in the North are also severely lacking and hamper, I believe, Canadian economic growth and the assertion of sovereignty.

Is your government prepared to invest in the development of core infrastructure needs in the North?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you so much for your question, honourable senator. Yes, we are committed to supporting northern communities in their very diverse needs for road infrastructure, for making sure that we are untapping the potential in the North for resource development, as well as for housing needs, because there are different needs and the construction seasons are different in northern communities.

We have made changes, again, listening to our counterparts in territories and northern communities. The changes will allow them to use the existing Building Canada Fund, which they didn’t have access to for the last two construction seasons. Then, again, this few hundred million dollars has become available particularly for the territories to use.

In this budget, we have committed to providing additional resources to northern communities in the area of housing, as well as in some of the other areas, to enhance nutrition in Northern Canada, to support the isolated communities in the North, as well as the $177.7 million for the Affordable Housing Initiative; $8 million for Yukon; $12 million for Northwest Territories; and $76.7 million for Nunavut. So we are committed to doing so and the area that you have identified, sir, is very important, tapping the resource development. We are working with the leaders in those provinces, whether it’s the Ring of Fire issue, whether it’s the resource access in the territories. So we are working very closely with provinces in order to support them, but we will also engage the private sector, which will actually be investing money. So we are looking for private sector partnerships in the resource development.

Senator Patterson: Thank you for that answer, minister.

We also have needs like wastewater infrastructure, and I heard you say that you were aware of an important project in New Brunswick. I’m wondering, if I may dare to ask: Are you aware of the wastewater infrastructure proposal from the capital city of Iqaluit, in Nunavut?

Mr. Sohi: You are testing my memory. What I would say is that, recognizing the unique needs of smaller provinces and the territories, the way we are designing our infrastructure plan for water and wastewater is to ensure that each province and territory gets a base level of funding.

So for the first phase, the $2 billion is the overall allocation for Canada. Then, within that, each province and territory will get $50 million for the first two years. On top of that will be the allocation based on population.

So those provinces who would not have done well under the population allocation-based funding will do better under the allocation that we are proposing under water and wastewater. That $50 million will definitely allow smaller provinces and the territories to do the necessary work that they need to do in water and wastewater. On your particular project, we will get back to you if that project is under review. If it is not, we will ask the province what stage they are at in order to bring that forward to us, and we are moving ahead on signing bilateral agreements with all provinces and the territories.

Nunavut—Northern Infrastructure

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on May 10, 2016)

Our government just recently signed and announced a bilateral agreement with the Government of Nunavut on September 6, 2016 including a list of proposed projects under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF). Government of Nunavut officials worked with the City of Iqaluit on the project and it was included on the list of projects put forward for funding under CWWF. The project is valued at over $26 million, of which Canada is contributing almost $20 million.

The Honourable Senator Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

May 4, 2016

Iran—Weapons Sales

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: My question is to the Government Representative in the Senate, and it’s also about Iran. Not long after sanctions were lifted against Iran, Russia rushed in to sell fighter jets and missile systems to the regime in Tehran.

Senator Harder just spoke about Canada working with our allies. Our allies have rightly deemed that this weapons sale violates a UN arms ban, but our government seems to be warming up its relations with both Iran and Vladimir Putin.

Will the government condemn this massive weapons sale that threatens peace and stability in the region rather than turning its back on our allies and refusing to take a leadership role against this dangerous arms transaction?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I will certainly follow up on the question. It would not be for me to answer on behalf of the government directly.

However, I do want to reference my earlier point that the government does believe that engaging with Iran gives us an opportunity to raise, at the highest level, issues of human rights, and that we are in a close working relationship with our allies, particularly the P5+1, on issues around the nuclear arrangement.

In the context of Russia, the Prime Minister has expressed his views directly to the President of Russia. The diplomatic relationship is supportive of the ongoing concerns of the Government of Canada with respect to the actions taken by the Government of Russia on a wide range of issues.

Foreign Affairs

Iran—Weapons Sales

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on May 4, 2016)

Presently, Global Affairs Canada does not have any information which indicates that Russia has violated United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions or directives regarding the provision of military equipment or technology to Iran.

Any UN Member State wishing to sell, supply or transfer certain conventional weapons to Iran must have the permission in advance of the UN Security Council to do so, as provided for in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015). Russia has indicated that it transferred surface-to-air missile batteries to Iran in April 2016. The United States has indicated that this transfer was not a violation of UNSCR 2231. The UN Secretary-General’s first implementation report on UNSCR 2231, dated July 12, 2016 did not identify any breaches by Russia. The Government of Canada expects all UN Member States to adhere to the obligations of UNSCR 2231.

The Honourable Senator Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

April 14, 2016

Airport Capital Assistance Program—Northern and Remote Airports

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: I will ask a question that I was hoping to ask of Minister Garneau yesterday but maybe didn’t have time because of the verbosity of some of my honourable colleagues.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Senator Patterson: Air transportation is the only means of year- round access to most communities in the North. Indeed, in my home territory of Nunavut, there are no roads between communities or to Southern Canada. So the need to maintain safe and acceptable airports is vital to the well-being of northerners and the northern economy; yet the Airports Capital Assistance Program frankly has not provided significant funds for the territories.

The recently released Canada Transportation Act Review Report references a number of submissions to improve the safety of small northern and remote airports, yet no money was specifically promised to the North in the recent budget.

My questions are the following: Does the government plan to significantly increase funding for the Airports Capital Assistance Program, as recommended by the review? Will the department carve out a dedicated northern program with funding and eligibility criteria that recognize the unique challenges and exceptional needs of the North?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and assure him that I will ensure an appropriate response from Mr. Garneau and other appropriate government officials.

Transport

Airport Capital Assistance Program—Northern and Remote Airports

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on April 14, 2016)

The Government acknowledges the importance of small northern and remote airports for their communities. As such, we are actively looking at ways to address the current challenges in the context of the Canada Transportation Act Review.

Recently the Minister of Transport held a roundtable in Iqaluit on the “North” experience in order to hear from key industry players, systems users, academia and thinkers, and Indigenous groups on this important subject.

To date, over $81 million has been invested at territorial airports through the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP). This program provides federal funds to help eligible airports maintain and improve safety for the Canadian travelling public. Since the program’s inception in 1995, the ACAP has invested more than $736 million for 848 projects at 179 airports across the country.

The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

February 24, 2016

Canadian Rangers
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Minister, as a senator from Canada’s Arctic Coast, I am concerned with the steady and significant military infrastructure buildup in the Russian Arctic, which I’m sure you’re aware of. Your mandate letter echoes recommendations made by two Senate committees to expand the Canadian Rangers to protect Canadian Arctic sovereignty and assist in search and rescue.

When will we see the increase in the size of the Canadian Rangers and by how many?

Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, P.C., M.P., Minister of National Defence: Our government is committed to sovereignty in the Arctic. The Rangers play a critical role. It’s not just the number of the increase; we also need to equip them well. Even before the defence review, we are looking at increasing. Right now, I am going through an informal review of recruiting, of making sure that the recruiting system can support what we need. So the numbers will increase. I don’t have the exact number just yet because I want to make sure that I have the proper briefings from my staff on that. When I do, it will be part of the defence review. If not, I’m happy to provide the numbers as soon as I get them.

I also want to expand. When you look at the Arctic, it’s even beyond the Rangers. NORAD plays a very important role in this. I visited NORAD and spoke with the commander directly. As part of the defence review, we need to take a look at this unique binational relationship with the U.S, which is NORAD, and how we’re going to suit the needs 10, 20, 30 years from now. We need to look at what type of potential infrastructure we need, what type of equipment we need and how we support our personnel. Also, it’s not just defence. There are many other aspects of the Arctic. We need to be involved with the other departments, whether it’s Fisheries and Oceans or some of the other departments that will be operating with the Minister of Science as well.

We want to take a full approach to this so that we have a much more cohesive approach for the Arctic that is even beyond just military, but it is one of the aspects that our defence review will look at in detail.

Senator Patterson: A supplementary: Speaking of equipment, I wonder if the government will consider expanding the Rangers’ mandate to allow them to operate in the marine environment, rather than just on land, so that it will support the operation of the Arctic offshore patrol vessels and also assist in marine oil spill and search and rescue.

Mr. Sajjan: Your Honour, that’s a unique idea that has come up. I hope, as part of the defence review, you can actually put that in there so that we can do a much more thorough analysis on that. I can’t, obviously, say yes, but I think this will be something we can take a look at as part of the defence review and integrating some of our capability, whether it’s going to be working with the Coast Guard, with our military or even within the RCMP as well.