Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as Members may be aware, the federal government is presently conducting an environmental review into the impact of low-level flights in the Goose Bay/Labrador area. Apparently, a leading anthropologist from the Arctic Institute of North America, Ms. Carol Brice-Bennett was commissioned to study the potential impact of these flights and present them to the review panel at the public hearings.
It is my understanding that during her presentation, she was attempting to comment on the review process itself, the nature of the panel and the scope of the issues being addressed in order to put her findings into context. Again, as I understand it, the chair of the panel didn't allow Ms. Brice-Bennett to continue in this manner and, in effect, ruled that her presentation would not be heard.
This disturbed me greatly, Madam Speaker. As we all know, the north has been the centre of such environmental reviews in the past and will be again in the near future. In fact, a similar occurrence was experienced not long ago during the scoping hearings in Sanikiluaq for the Great Whale hydro project. Apparently, the chair of the federal panel cut the meeting short because of bad weather approaching and they did not want to get weathered in. At that point, a number of residents had still not had the opportunity to make a presentation to the panel. They were advised to submit their views to the panel in writing. This is unfortunate, Madam Speaker, because as Members know, the way we do business and address our concerns in the north is face to face, in person. This is especially true of our elders who do not have the formal education to express themselves in writing. Needless to say, those written submissions, if they were sent, could not have had the same impact or been given the same consideration as oral presentations.
There is another concern that I have, Madam Speaker. This has to do with the environmental assessment and the review process itself. It concerns me that the process seems to be set up so that it allows the federal environmental assessment review...