Ethel Dorothy BLONDIN-ANDREW

BLONDIN-ANDREW, The Hon. Ethel Dorothy, P.C., B.Ed.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
Birth Date
March 25, 1951
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethel_Blondin-Andrew
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=48d581ee-d2d4-46ff-9f50-6934e122298f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
educator, public servant

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
  • Secretary of State (Training and Youth) (November 4, 1993 - June 10, 1997)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
  • Secretary of State (Training and Youth) (November 4, 1993 - June 10, 1997)
  • Secretary of State (Children and Youth) (June 11, 1997 - December 11, 2003)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
  • Secretary of State (Children and Youth) (June 11, 1997 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of State (Children and Youth) (December 12, 2003 - July 19, 2004)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)
  • Minister of State (Children and Youth) (December 12, 2003 - July 19, 2004)
  • Minister of State (Northern Development) (July 20, 2004 - February 5, 2006)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 119)


February 24, 2005

Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows that budgets are unique creatures. They cannot have everything in them but we have a tendency to focus on a number of issues. We do not like to have to pick and choose, but choices have to be made. In this instance we focused on child care and early learning with $5 billion. That is a lot of money.

Also, the hon. member should know that education is a provincial jurisdiction. We do not have control over that. We could not do anything about tuition fees directly. That is the responsibility of the institutions. We do not control that.

The Minister of Finance said on television this morning that there were two areas he would do more work on. One of them is the aboriginal issues and directly, probably the healing foundation and other issues like that, and the other is post-secondary education.

We have made a number of measures in previous budgets to deal with tax incentives and to deal with other provisions for students who are at risk, who go to university and other post-secondary institutions. We have undertaken those. The member should review those. There are some provisions which probably are not enough, but we will work on it along with the Minister of Finance.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 24, 2005

Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew (Minister of State (Northern Development), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have my hon. colleagues here to support me. I could not do this without them.

It is a great pleasure to rise in support of budget 2005. I have witnessed in my tenure of almost 17 years approximately 15 budgets. Of course this budget makes it eight consecutive balanced budgets, the longest run since Confederation.

I am very impressed with the strong fiscal message the government is putting forward. The prudence and contingencies that are built into this budget are basically shock absorbers to meet all the economic tests of time for our country. We live in a very tenuous world, where things happen that we do not anticipate, as has been witnessed lately. These have to be built into the budget.

I am very proud of the Minister of Finance. He has done his country proud. We are very pleased with this budget. It represents a plan to continue and accelerate our government's agenda for promoting meaningful and positive change. We have taken steps to renew the partnership with aboriginal people and with northerners to ensure that they are partners in the prosperity we build. Budget 2005 confirms this but also commits to this in the longer term.

Where I come from, the north is so well positioned in terms of all forms of development, be it social development, political development, economic development or resource development, and the government has honoured the work that has been undertaken over decades by different leadership and community groups and all stakeholders in the north.

We have put into the north $24 million in training to meet the needs of resource development, $14 million for mines training, I believe, and $9.9 million for oil and gas training under the aboriginal skills employment partnership moneys. Out of concern for the environment, we also have earmarked $9 million for protected areas strategy. In the last three years we have also spent $108 million for pipeline development. It is a huge undertaking and it requires that money.

In recent months we have invested $40 million for each of the territories, to the tune of $120 million, for the northern strategy, which is a major strategy for the government. In the last month we have put forward strategic infrastructure money, which is $90 million, for the Northwest Territories, and municipal infrastructure funding of $32 million.

Further to that, because we are right in the throes of looking at the whole pipeline development issue, the needs of the various regions are being met by a fund of $4 million, which was put together collectively by the stakeholders, that is, the federal government, the territorial government and also industry, to negotiate access and benefits agreements. There has to be a sort of clearance of the right of way. I will also mention the crime prevention moneys we have put forward, as well as the money for literacy and for women's groups, and the various other amounts of moneys that have been put forward to assist with different community needs.

We have taken the significant step, as I said, of renewing the relationship. There is increased support for the Canada-aboriginal peoples roundtable which we are undertaking. In this budget we are investing at this time $735 million over the next five years in priorities identified through this process. This is in addition to the $700 million over five years for aboriginal health programs announced in September 2004.

These investments include $345 million over the next five years for first nations early learning and child care, special education and family services and $340 million over the next five years for first nations housing on reserve. Aboriginal languages and culture and the healing foundation are all included in this. This additional investment reinforces our partnership with aboriginal people to strengthen our communities.

It is quite evident that aboriginal people did not get everything they wanted in the budget process, but there is an extra territorial process, if I might put it that way. We have a round table process which will end up in a policy retreat. That speaks to a number of areas, including housing, education, health, economic development, negotiations and accountability. These will probably all eventually roll out into more commitments.

There is concern about the amount of money for the healing foundation. The $40 million that we have put in will give us time to develop, collectively along with the aboriginal people, not presuming on their behalf but collaboratively with them, a self-sustaining healing program for the longer term. It will also allow us the time to work out the process by which the residential school issue will be dealt with. That will be done collaboratively as well.

The current generation of aboriginal children represents a tremendous opportunity for progress, but we have to close the gap in life chances that exist between aboriginal and non-aboriginal children. Budget 2005 will help us close that gap with a commitment of $100 million specifically for aboriginal children from the $5 billion national child care initiative.

I am very happy with the national child care initiative. I have been here for years on both sides of the House, in opposition as well as government, and I am glad it is the government of which I am a member that is initiating this $5 billion national child care initiative. It is much needed, believe me.

The budget also addresses the growing needs of Canada's seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement benefits for low income seniors by $2.7 billion over five years. Funding for the new horizons program is also benefiting from an increase of $10 million to $25 million a year to promote voluntary sector activities by and in support of seniors. I think this is very important for seniors.

We often talk about how important it is to preserve culture and promote the arts in Canada. It is truly exciting to see the investment made by budget 2005 in support for our culture and its arts communities in committing an additional $688 million for the Tomorrow Starts Today arts and culture package. That effectively extends the program for a full five years. This brings the total new funding for Tomorrow Starts Today to a total of $860 million over five years. This is very welcome.

I also want to speak on health care support, which is so critical. In my riding and throughout the three territories our needs are unique and challenging, in that access to timely health care services can be limited in the more remote communities of our territories. Recognizing this as part of the 10 year plan to strengthen health care, budget 2005 provides an additional $150 million over five years to the territories to support this need. This will include assistance with medical travel, a territorial health access fund and the establishment of a territorial working group and operational secretariat.

Specifically on aboriginal health, last fall we committed $700 million toward that end for an aboriginal health human resources initiative, the aboriginal diabetes initiative and an aboriginal youth suicide prevention strategy.

Budget 2005 also provides something that was very much sought after and needed by the Inuit, and that is an Inuit secretariat, which will receive $10 million over the next five years.

On December 14, the Prime Minister and territorial leaders released a policy framework laying out the vision, principles and possible goals of a northern strategy. The announcement included, as I have indicated, $120 million in a trust fund for Canada's three aboriginal territories. This is a joint initiative with the Government of Canada. It includes seven pillars in improving the quality of life for northerners.

In addition to the $108 million we got, we have received the balance of that, $150 million over four years, for the pipeline development. Our priority quite clearly now is to get a resource revenue sharing agreement with the federal government, the territorial government, and the aboriginal governments for my territory.

It is critical that we deal with the issue of net fiscal benefits and we will be engaging the Department of Finance, officials and ministers. A lot of work has transpired thus far. We are looking forward to that. Under devolution we want to complete that. We are changing or amending it; we do not have one.

We are very grateful that we have finally dealt with the defence issue with the defence policy we are promoting as a government. The $12.8 billion is much needed. It speaks to the issue of sovereignty and security in the north. It speaks to the issue of search and rescue. These are very important. The $4 billion for the environment speaks loudly to the issue of northern environmental concerns. This speaks to the whole issue of climate change and global warming. It hugely affects the north.

I am very happy with the initiatives we have undertaken. I will probably get a chance to speak to other things as we move along. I would have liked to have said more about the environment, but I am sharing my time with my colleague the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 24, 2005

Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew

Mr. Speaker, the phasing out of the excise tax on jewellery is very important for my riding. We have three diamond mines. We are major suppliers of diamonds to retailers in the south and around the world. We have made major partnerships with the jeweller Harry Winston. All of the jewellers across Canada are affected. We feel the value added connection to these other parts of the industry. Also, we felt strongly that it should happen. I personally felt the right way and the fiscally responsible way of doing this was through the budget. That is the way it was done. It was phased out.

On the equipment for compression and dealing with the pipeline, I think that is very critical. I think we are pre-emptive. We know that certain undertakings will happen and that we need to be prepared. It will be good news for the industry, good news for the north and good news for Canada.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 23, 2005

Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew (for the Minister of Finance)

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2004, No. 2
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February 23, 2005

Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew (for the Minister of Finance)

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2004, No. 2
Full View Permalink