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View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-19 15:53 [p.29399]
Mr. Speaker, last time, I mentioned the great work of the committee clerk and the researcher. As this may be my last time up on these reports, I would like to congratulate all the committee members. I think we had a number of free spirits on our committee. I congratulate them for always making their decisions with integrity and based on what they believed. As can be seen, there has been a large volume of work.
I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 99th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled “Advice for the Consideration of the Procedure and House Affairs Committee in the 43rd Parliament”.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-19 15:55 [p.29399]
Mr. Speaker, November 10, 1995, was the last time any committee reported 100 reports. Peter Milliken was the chair of PROC at the time.
I have the honour to present, in both official languages, at this historic moment, the 100th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled “Advice for the Consideration of Committees of the House of Commons in the 43rd Parliament”. This references procedures related to in-camera meetings and the Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame procedure.
The committee wanted to dedicate this report to a former member of Parliament, who we all had great fondness for. I will read the dedication:
The Committee dedicates its one hundredth report to the memory of the late Arnold Chan, who was the member for Scarborough—Agincourt, and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As a colleague and friend, he was widely respected for his sharp legal mind, willingness to listen and pursuit of fairness. Mr. Chan was a driving force behind the motion to establish rules on the use of in camera meetings for the Committee. The rules were established in close collaboration with his fellow Committee members.
To Arnold Chan.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-19 22:21 [p.29449]
Mr. Speaker, because we are near the end of the session, I want to thank my staff, Brad, Erica, Susan, Ellen, Alisha and formerly Denis Sabourin for their great work.
Also, anyone in the House who has questioned the existence of the Senate, which we call the other place here, this is a great example of where it has provided a number of suggested amendments and the government is accepting a number of them. This has happened since Confederation, where laws in Canada have been approved like this.
With the structured intervention, there would be significantly more time away from the cell and more time for programming, etc. Does the bill direct Correctional Service Canada to record these times to ensure they are followed. If it does not, are there penalties in the bill for CSC?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-19 23:17 [p.29456]
Mr. Speaker, I have two questions. I think the member answered one at the end of his speech.
I think the Conservatives will vote against this bill, this concept, because they think it makes the prisons and people more dangerous. The member is making the case that because of the effect of solitary confinement on a person's mental and social situation, it makes it more dangerous not to deal with it.
The member wants improvements to the bill, which could come with a new Parliament in the fall, or at the five-year review or through the court challenge that he mentioned. However, if the votes of the New Democrats cause the bill to be defeated so nothing happens, does the member not think some inmates could have poorer treatment this summer? There are some improvements in the bill, obviously not enough, but there is more time out of cell, more rehabilitation services, etc.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-19 23:49 [p.29460]
Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank the member for all her hard work on this file at committee and her very good amendments, which make this bill much better. I am sure she has more to say, so I will leave her time to do that, instead of asking a question.
However, I want to make one comment for the next Parliament. A number of people in solitary have FASD, and those people are not treated appropriately in the correctional system because of their affliction. I presented a bill earlier this year, which almost passed. Hopefully, some parliamentarians here will pick that up in the next Parliament.
I will let the member continue on the topic she was doing so well on.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-18 10:08 [p.29264]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 98th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled “A Parallel Debating Chamber for Canada’s House of Commons”.
This may be a very historic report, because it may lead to the discussion of having a second House of Commons, a second parallel chamber similar to the ones in Britain and Australia.
As mentioned by you, Mr. Speaker, and a previous Conservative member, we would like to thank all the clerks and researchers in our committee, and in particular the clerk and researcher who have been with us since the beginning, and I think members would find are the best clerk and the best researcher in the House, maybe on division, Andrew Lauzon, the clerk, and Andre Barnes, our parliamentary researcher, for their great work.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 22:18 [p.28969]
Mr. Speaker, a lot of the debate has been technical, but I want to ask a more spiritual question.
When you make a treaty with first nations, like the treaties with the Sahtu, the Deh Cho and the Gwich'in, there is a trust there. They trust that the government will at least follow the treaty and it will keep its word.
Then, how does it feel when we pass a law in this Parliament that breaks the treaty, that is unlawful, that does not follow the rules of a treaty? This is not the first time it has happened in our history, obviously. I certainly think you would have strong feelings on this.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:07 [p.28975]
Mr. Speaker, briefly, the member is a real champion of rural Canada. His constituents are very lucky. He is always standing up for the rural small communities. How does he think small communities felt when the Conservatives overrode something they had constitutional protection for and that they had negotiated over the years?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:26 [p.28977]
Mr. Speaker, first I want to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
I have a speech, but I think I will start by trying to answer questions and concerns that have been brought up. If I do that, then members could vote unanimously for this bill.
The first thing members have been asking is why there are only five more hours to debate this bill. For a lot of bills, that would be a valid question, but at this particular time we have had Conservative after Conservative getting up and not talking about the bill. We heard a lot about Bill C-48, Bill S-6, a letter from premiers not related to this bill, Bill C-15 and a northern moratorium.
I have been here awhile, and last night I witnessed an amazing situation. One of the Conservative speakers, in a 10-minute slot to speak on this bill, spent nine and a half minutes talking before they got to the bill, and then answering three questions by not referring to anything in the bill.
If the public wonders why Parliament has decided to call time allocation on this bill, it is obviously because the Conservatives have nothing more to say. We have heard the same arguments over and over again, and they are not valid. I will go through them one by one right now.
I am not sure why a party would want to stretch out a debate on a terrible injustice that it has caused, and it has done this a number of times. It is strange. Why would they want to put that in the light? Why would they not want to fix that injustice by supporting this bill? One of the members mentioned that he was not here at the time that it happened, so in good justice, he could support the bill.
People have asked what we have been doing for the last four years and why we did not debate this bill earlier. Some of the people in the House now have actually asked this question. This Liberal government has passed something like 85 bills. I think some members' constituents would like to ask them where they have been while these very important 85 bills were being discussed and debated.
One bill in particular was in the exact same situation as this one. It was Bill C-17. Again, the previous government had unlawfully, either technically or in spirit, abrogated a modern treaty, a constitutionally protected treaty, and tried to pass a law that got around it. That was certainly disrespectful.
Some may ask why Liberals did not get more things done, and a good example was what happened when Bill C-17, related to the treaty, was ready to pass. There was a grand chief, chiefs and aboriginal people here in the galleries. It cost thousands of dollars for them to get here from the Yukon. What did the Conservatives do at that time? They called a dilatory motion that the next speaker be allowed to speak, and then the bill could not be done. Some members ask why things are not done, yet they continue to do tricks like that.
This particular bill broke a constitutionally protected treaty, as I said earlier, a land claim. The members opposite have asked—and it is a good question for the ones who were not here before—why Liberals voted for that bill. This question has been brought up a number of times. The reason is that the part of the bill in which the law was broken in spirit or in technicality was snuck in in a much larger devolution bill.
The devolution bill transferred the remaining federal powers to the territorial government. That was a tremendous move, and that is why the party supported that initiative. Unfortunately, even though the people affected by this wanted this taken out and some parliamentarians tried to get it out, the Conservatives pushed ahead with the bill, and that is why the other parties voted for it.
Another concern the Conservatives have noted a number of times is that there are two parts to the bill. I think the member for Northwest Territories corrected them and said there are three parts. Nevertheless, they said there is part 1 and part 2, and there was no consultation regarding part 2. That is not true at all. When we consulted, we consulted with all the local governments involved regarding the entire bill, both part 1 and part 2. Shortly, I will read to members some of the things they said, because the opposition has suggested they did not support both parts of the bill.
The bill concerns the Sahtu, the Gwich’in and the Tlicho. When the Tlicho signed its constitutionally protected land claim and its self-government agreement, I was parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. At that time, unfortunately, we had to fight against the Conservatives to get that agreement signed. At least the Conservatives can now make peace with that wrongdoing of the past and support the bill.
I will read some comments of support, because the Conservatives have said that indigenous groups did not support part 2 or the bill.
Grand Chief George Mackenzie, from the Tlicho Government, said, “We urge the community to move swiftly and decisively to ensure that Bill C-88 comes into force during the current session of Parliament.”
David Wright is legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council. I say to David, drin gwiinzih shalakat. He said the following at the INAN committee:
If Bill C-88 is not passed, not only will Canada not have fulfilled its commitment to Northwest Territories indigenous communities, but these communities will be forced back into time-consuming, expensive, acrimonious litigation, all adversely affecting that treaty relationship and the broader reconciliation project. Further, this would generate regulatory uncertainty that benefits no one....
I know the Conservatives have spoken against uncertainty in the past, so that is another reason for them to support the bill.
Premier McLeod and Grand Chief George Mackenzie, in a joint letter, said:
[W]e are hopeful that Bill C-88 will proceed expeditiously through the legislative process and receive Royal Assent [in this Parliament].... The negative implications of the status quo are significant.
Mervin Gruben was also quoted as supporting the bill, as well as Duane Smith from Inuvialuit. It was suggested he was not allowed to come to committee, but he was actually invited. He did provide a written submission, and it was nice to have that information added to the record.
A Conservative member talked about not listening to indigenous people and indigenous voices. The member said that not listening to the people of the north is arrogance. I just read that the four governments involved, the Sahtu, the Gwich’in, the Tlicho and the GNWT, all support the bill. Conservatives are right; we should listen to those people. They should listen to those people as well, along with the rest of the parties supporting the bill, and support the bill.
Another thing the Conservatives have talked about a lot is support for resource development. I am sure all other parties agree with sustainable development. It is another reason the Conservatives should vote for the bill. I will read some comments about how the bill promotes and ensures this.
Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, from the Tlicho Government, said:
[F]ailure to resolve this matter co-operatively would damage our treaty relationship and undermine the process of reconciliation as directed by the courts. Long-term regulatory uncertainty for any reason will damage the economy of the Northwest Territories, including within the Tlicho community. This is all avoidable with the passage of Bill C-88.
David Wright, legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council, said, “Bill C-88 is a step toward certainty in the Mackenzie Valley, and that is a step that should be taken at this time”.
Finally, Premier McLeod said:
The proposed amendments to the MVRMA in Bill C-88 would increase certainty around responsible resource development in the Northwest Territories. That certainty is something our territory needs as we continue to work with the indigenous governments in the territory to attract responsible resource development.
Conservatives, to be true to the values they so eloquently put forward on resource development, can support those values by supporting this bill.
I support Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. Although the debate so far has focused on the content of the proposed act, I want to talk about what is not in Bill C-88 and why it would be a mistake to make major amendments at this stage.
Amending Bill C-88 at this stage of the process would defeat its overall purpose, which is to resolve a court challenge arising from the previous government's decision to merge the land and water boards without holding appropriate consultations.
The Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15, was assented to in March 2014. The act transferred the administration and control of public lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories and amended the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The act includes provisions restructuring the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards.
The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated challenged the changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act that would have dissolved their regional land and water boards. They argued that theses changes violated their land claims agreements and infringed on the honour of the Crown. They added that the consultations had been inadequate. On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction that suspended the proposed board restructuring, along with the coming into force of other regulatory amendments.
I would like to point out that those regulatory amendments, which included the addition of a regulation-making authority for cost recovery, administrative monetary penalties, development certificates and other provisions related to regional studies, all passed through the parliamentary process in 2014. Those same provisions are being presented today. However, they were rewritten to ensure that they could apply under the existing four-board structure. They were not part of the court challenge. Bill C-88 responds to the court challenge by reversing the provisions to merge the boards and re-introducing some regulatory elements that are applicable under the existing four-board structure.
On September 23, 2016, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations sent a letter to indigenous governments, organizations and stakeholders to launch the consultation process on Bill C-88.
Consultations were held with indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley, transboundary indigenous governments and organizations, resource co-management boards, organizations from the mining, oil and gas sectors, and the territorial government. To ensure that the indigenous governments and organizations were able to fully participate in the process, the Government of Canada provided funding to these groups and to the resource co-management boards that took part in the consultations.
Representatives from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, or CIRNAC, held a teleconference with stakeholders to consider next steps and to discuss the consultation plan. A legislative proposal to repeal the board restructuring provisions was drafted and submitted to the groups for review. During the review period, the groups had the opportunity to meet with CIRNAC representatives in Yellowknife to talk about the content of the proposal and to ask questions. This was also an opportunity for CIRNAC representatives to determine whether any part of the proposal was unclear or could be improved, based on the feedback they received.
I will not have time to finish, but I do not want to miss this particular point. The only other questions someone could ask that I have not already answered are whether the consultation that was done was serious and, although they were in agreement at the end, whether any changes were made. The answer is yes. I will give an example of two of the changes that were made.
The first was that because of the consultations with the people involved, a court jurisdiction related to a judicial review of administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, was modified in order to ensure consistency with the exclusive jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court under section 32 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
A second change was that consultation obligations related to the AMPs were added to the bill to ensure consistency with the comprehensive land claim agreements.
The only other thing I think someone might ask is related to the position of national interest and whether this is the only case of that. The answer is no; it is a clause, an idea, that comes up in different legislation. I will give members some examples from the north: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Act, Statutes of Canada 1998, chapter 25, section 130, and the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, Statutes of Canada 2013, chapter 14, section 2.
Section 94 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act provides for the federal minister to refer a proposed project to the Minister of Environment for the purpose of a joint review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act if it is in the national interest to do so.
The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act also provides for the responsible minister to reject a board decision or to reject or vary recommended terms or conditions if it is in the national interest to do so.
A few close references can also be found in section 51 of the Yukon Act, Statutes of Canada 2002, chapter 7, and in section 57 of the Northwest Territories Act, Statutes of Canada 2014, chapter 2, section 2.
To boil it all down, basically an act was passed that abrogated the land claim and went against a constitutionally protected law of Canada, which we cannot change by just doing another law. Of course, the court found that out and would not let it go ahead. All this bill would do is to put into law what the court had ordered.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:48 [p.28980]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. She made two of the points that I had in my speech.
First of all, the member mentioned my constituents. The bill that relates to my constituents where the Conservatives have abrogated the land claim was passed a couple of years ago.
Then there are the 85 other good bills. I hope the member will go back and see all the good things that were done. I thank those members for asking these questions and saying all the good things we have done in four years with those 85 or so bills.
The second question she asked, and it has been mentioned a number of times, is why did the Liberals vote for it? I gave a whole paragraph in my speech as to why we voted for it. I was not there, but the Liberals did vote for it, and all the parties. The reason was that this part was snuck into a bill. The bill was very good and gave powers to the Northwest Territories that all the provinces in Canada had. It was generally a very good bill, but the Conservatives would not take out this bad part of the bill, the illegal part of the bill, and so we have had to take it out now.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:50 [p.28980]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member asked that question, because he explained a very simple bill that the opposition spent all sorts of time on, and it slowed down the important bills.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:50 [p.28980]
Mr. Speaker, the member is drawing to our attention how far forward first nations and governments in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and the north are because we have these co-management boards. On those boards, with good representation, are the indigenous governments, Inuit governments, the territorial governments and the federal government. In our particular case on the environmental assessment board, it is two, two and two. However, it is because everyone feels that they are part of it and has a say that we have been so successful in getting projects moved forward. They may not have been able to go forward in southern Canada as easily because they did not have buy-in from all the important groups.
The problem with the previous bill, in putting all of those boards into one big board, as someone referenced, is that the Tlicho would have had only one seat, instead of a significant portion of the board that affects their area. I know that everyone in this House wants governments affecting their area to have control. That is why I think that everyone in this House, if they want to respect the north and the local people, all of whom are in favour of this, should vote for the bill.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:53 [p.28980]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Northwest Territories has worked so hard on this bill for his people.
Yes, regarding certainty, if we get this out of the courts, the illegal situation it is in, it would give certainty to development again. I think everyone in this House has spoken in favour of sustainable development.
Second, we do not have a choice. We have to make it legal again. Whether we want to or not, we have to. Third, that is why development has gone ahead so well. When indigenous peoples are involved with the territorial governments and the federal government as partners at the table, it removes a lot of roadblocks for sustainable development projects. There is great consultation with environmental groups as part of this. When everyone is involved, as the Chamber of Commerce has seen in the north, a lot of great projects go ahead. In Yukon, there is now a Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce. They all get along with the various stakeholders, and that is why the projects proceed so smoothly.
That is exactly right. We should leave it when it is working. Let us get it back to where it was negotiated. Some of the land claims took 30 years to negotiate.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:56 [p.28981]
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted when the indigenous affairs critic asks questions supporting things that were in my speech. All 86 bills are very important. The member for Northwest Territories already answered that question when he said that we have to rebuild the trust that was broken by the Conservatives.
The member also made the point I started out with, which is that all the Conservatives who have spoken to this bill have talked about other bills, other things not related to the bill. It is no wonder Parliament has put time allocation on this bill, when Conservatives repeat over and over again things that are not even related to the bill we are debating.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 15:25 [p.28818]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 97th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, dealing with regulations respecting the non-attendance of members by reason of maternity or care for a new-born or newly-adopted child.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 22:01 [p.28866]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if, unlike the last several minutes, we could talk about this bill.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 22:10 [p.28867]
Mr. Speaker, we are primarily here because the previous Conservative government proposed a bill that undermined the constitutional protection of land claims. It is not the first time the Conservatives did this. Of course, they did it with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, which we had to to fix through Bill C-17. It occurred numerous times, and it is a symptom of a larger issue on which I would like the member to comment.
The Harper government decided to bypass the branch of the justice department, which does constitutional checks on bills. This is very expensive for the taxpayers of Canada, because they pay for that branch of the justice department and its constitutional experts. Of course, these checks resulted in a number of Conservatives' bills being challenged and they lost most of those cases.
How does the member justify the Harper government's decision to bypass the constitutional checks of the Department of Justice?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 22:37 [p.28871]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated some of the member's comments. First of all, for her recognition of the permafrost thawing because of climate change, I thank her very much. The member asked what we were doing, and I have had a press conference where I announced some research money for exactly that, to deal with how that is affecting our highways. We also have a program for the adaptation of infrastructure. I thought it was very forward-thinking of the finance minister to put into our infrastructure plan that prevention and adaptation to climate change in infrastructure be eligible.
However, it was music to my ears to hear that concern for climate change. The indigenous affairs critic mentioned that she felt that everyone knew that we need to cut greenhouse gases. Therefore, it was music to my ears when the member said that we need a comprehensive plan. I am curious as to what she thinks will be part of the Conservatives' comprehensive plan.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 22:44 [p.28872]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member said it was important to have reconciliation with this bill, and the fact that the three first nations affected, the Sahtu, the Gwich'in and the Tlicho, are all in support of this bill. Therefore, I could hardly imagine that reconciliation would be voting against those three first nations. I hope that when the member says that she thinks it should be reconciliation, she means that she will vote for the bill, which is for all the first nations that this affects.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 23:06 [p.28875]
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I note that you just notified the member that he only had several minutes left. However, his entire speech has not made even the vaguest reference to Bill C-88. Hopefully, in the last couple of minutes, he will refer to the bill we are discussing.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 23:11 [p.28875]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the member for being able to get away with spending nine minutes and 30 seconds of a 10-minute speech not talking about the bill at all. Therefore, because he only got to speak to the bill for 30 seconds, I am going to give him lots of time now to talk more about this particular bill, Bill C-88.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 23:37 [p.28878]
Mr. Speaker, it was very interesting to hear all that detail, most of it not about the bill at all. It was great to hear a letter about two other bills.
For a lot of his speech and the speech before, the Conservatives were able to go through nine minutes and 30 seconds of not talking about the bill, just talking about it for the last 30 seconds. In answers to all the questions, they did not talk about the bill. No wonder, to save the taxpayers' money, the government is going to shut this down so that people can get on to debating things where they actually have an opinion.
I would like to ask the member a question. What does he have against the governments of the Northwest Territories? The three first nations governments that would be affected and the Government of Northwest Territories are all in support of this bill. Is the member going to vote against all of those governments?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-06 10:25 [p.28663]
Mr. Speaker, on the member's last point about the media, the Conservatives proposed a motion to do exactly what he said and they could get only 32 of their members to vote for it.
Last night, around midnight, the member made a good point. He said that Liberals had solved every problem with a program. I thank him very much for the congratulations. Just as a doctor or airplane mechanic solves every problem, we are happy we have done it.
We solved the problem for low-income seniors by increasing the GIS and the amount they could keep. We doubled the student jobs program and reduced the interest on student loans. We created programs for people with disabilities. The child tax credit helped families. A million unemployed people now have jobs, so they are paying taxes to help pay down the debt. There was a problem with housing for the homeless. We made investments in housing. We lowered taxes for small businesses. We created the working person tax credit for low-income people and the training benefit for all Canadians.
The total for all of this is $20 billion in unexpected increased revenue to help pay down the large deficit the Conservatives left us.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-05 16:51 [p.28596]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 96th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding amendments to the Standing Orders concerning the mandate of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and oversight of the Centre Block rehabilitation project, as well as the long-term vision and plan.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 19:54 [p.28538]
Mr. Speaker, I know the member spent a long time preparing his speech and could not finish it. Therefore, I will not ask a question so can finish it. However, I will make a comment.
Some members heard me the other day in question period. I had a long list of things that the Minister of Finance had done for us in previous years. I want to add some of the things he has done in this budget, particularly for the north, on top of all of those things.
There were an additional $75 million for CanNor; an additional $50 million for the Yukon territorial government, which has to provide health care and education; $400 million out of the trade corridor fund just for the north, which is a higher percentage than the rest of Canada, sorry to the other members for that; and $26 million for the science building at Yukon College to help make it the first university in Canada north of 60. We are the only country in the world that did not have a university north of 60, but we now will. Finally, something no one in the House would have mentioned, but there was increased money for polar continental shelf project to do research in the arctic.
Finally, in the north, we benefited from a whole bunch of things as did everyone in Canada: the mineral exploration tax credit, extended for five years; increases for student loans; $150 million for cancer; $60 million for tourism; and increases in indigenous languages and new horizons for seniors.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 20:06 [p.28540]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for taking up this topic, which is very important. It has always been a pet project of mine, and I totally agree with him that it needs to be studied and worked on.
The minister for science and industry has outlined in question period a number of steps that the government is working on and taking related to this. However, the member has obviously given more thought to this than most people. Obviously, a study would be great and we would get all those opinions.
Could he give one or two ideas of his own, which he has already thought of because he has thought so much about this, that might help us in a program to help protect the pensions of existing pensioners?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 20:27 [p.28544]
Mr. Speaker, I want to go over some things in this budget that would benefit Yukon, in particular, and then some general things that would help the Yukon, as well as all Canadians.
First, as I said earlier tonight, Canada is the only Arctic country in the world, of the eight Arctic nations, that does not have a university north of 60. This budget is historic for Canada because of the $26 million going to Yukon College to build a science building, one of the key items that are needed. Next year, Yukon College will become Yukon university and Canada will be in line with the rest of the nations. The first course, which is not offered anywhere else and is also historic, will be a bachelor of indigenous governance. Because there are over 600 first nations in Canada, and Inuit, there will be a huge take-up on that particular course alone.
The territorial government has to deliver on education, health care, all of the things that provinces have to deliver, and there are great increases: $47.2 million for territorial financing, $2.3 million for health transfer and $0.6 million for social transfer, for a total of $50 million. Just to put that in perspective, Yukon is 1/1000th of the population, so if that were the same across the country, that would be $50 billion. It shows strong support for the territorial government. From what I remember, the other two territories will receive even more than that.
Before I go any further, I meant to start with something unrelated to the north. I am also the chair of the Northern and Prairie Caucus, and I want to mention another very innovative thing in the budget, the money for a water institution or program in the Prairies, which is hugely forward-thinking because it affects so much. The PFRA, one of the most popular institutions in Canada, was closed a number of years ago. The Liberal member from Saskatchewan brought this idea forward, and the Minister of Finance is financing a study to look at water, which is so important in the Prairies, including flooding, drought, the glaciers being reduced, water supply, irrigation, all of those things. This is a very forward-thinking item in the budget, and I thank the member from Saskatchewan.
I also have an ask for a women's centre in Watson Lake. I know those members are in Ottawa today.
In the north, the equivalent of western diversification or the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is called CanNor. Once again, it is receiving a great increase. We lobbied hard for this. It will receive $75 million over five years for a diversification program. There was an increase for tourism in the north of $5.1 million over two years. Tourism is Yukon's biggest private sector employer. The two biggest industries are tourism and mining. I treat tourism like a lost sector in Ottawa. It is much bigger than many other sectors, but over the decades, it has not nearly gotten the attention or support that it should have. We have a tremendous tourism minister now, with a new tourism strategy and great funding. I will mention more later in my speech.
I will talk about the northern trade corridors. I talked about how big $50 million was, but the north has been assigned $400 million in the trade corridors program, which is a massive amount. It is far more than in other parts of Canada. I apologize to other MPs here, but, as everyone in the House knows, that infrastructure is needed in the north for a small population that is spread out over more than third of Canada.
There is another huge win in the budget for the north. As I said, the biggest sector for Yukon's GDP is mining, and the mineral exploration tax credit was increased for the first time ever for five years, which everyone in rural Canada will appreciate. It has always been yearly, which made it hard for exploration companies to plan. This is so instrumental in their programs because the vast majority of them need this tax credit to do their work, as there is no good reason to invest otherwise.
Another huge item that affects us more in the north than others, but also affects a number of areas in Canada, is loan repayments for the negotiations of first nations self-government and land claim agreements for modern treaties. The way it used to work in the Yukon was they took 30 years to negotiate. The first nations that were negotiating did not have the money to hire lawyers and negotiators so we loaned them the money. By the time they got their land claims, they already owed a good percentage back because we had loaned them the money for the negotiators. Therefore, this budget has made a historic move of committing to reimburse the first nations that have already paid the money or pay that money for the first nations that have not yet done so. Hopefully, that will encourage more first nations in Canada to become the success stories of the modern treaties. There are a number of them across Canada, but the biggest number is in the Yukon, in my riding.
There is one other thing with respect to the north, which I do not think anyone in this House would know. In fact, very few people in my riding would know this, only scientists, but it shows the finance minister's attention to value. There is no political gain in this. Very few people know about it, but it is very important. It is called the polar continental shelf program. When people research in the north, like other university researchers, they can get the money to do the research. However, to get to the north, it costs a huge amount of money. I remember going a small distance, approximately the distance most members would travel to get here to Ottawa, which would perhaps take a couple of hours, and it cost $5,000. Therefore, these researchers need the money to get to their location and cover what other scientists do. That is what the polar continental shelf program does. I give big kudos to the minister for that because very few people know about it.
The general items that would help Yukoners the way they help everyone else are as follows.
The first is more money for homes and businesses to be more energy efficient. A lot of people have suggested that. It would be done through the FCM program.
Another is the increase for seniors. We have seniors projects right across Yukon and in the rural communities in Whitehorse, and we have press conferences that are so moving. The seniors benefit so much and have so much fun. It keeps them healthy and reduces the costs to government.
I said I was going to get back to tourism. For years, there has not been nearly enough money for tourism in Canada in the lost sectors. There is an increase of $60 million this year in this budget for tourism marketing, added to the increases in previous years. That is great for me because, other than P.E.I., which is a little ahead of us, the biggest private sector proportion of our economy in the north is tourism. Therefore, that helps us more than everywhere else, but of course everywhere else in the country would benefit.
Another item a lot of people might not know about is that we can make Canada bigger. Most people think we are set at where we are at. However, we can expand the area of the continental shelf we are responsible for, but we have to do a lot of geological explorations and discovery, as well as scientific work, to determine that, which costs money. Canada, Denmark and Russia are all doing this in the same area, so we will have competition. If we did not have the science, we would not be able to compete or increase the area we have responsibility over.
In closing, because I am running out of time, there is a big increase in indigenous languages. In 2017, I think it was somewhere around $5 million and it has been increasing every year. By 2023 or 2024, it will be up to $116 million. Therefore, the increase from $5 million to $116 million really shows our commitment to how important that is to the life, strength and foundation of the culture of first nations people.
I am sorry I could not get to the environment and the 50 programs we have there, but I will leave that for the next speech.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 20:38 [p.28545]
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to get that question.
First of all, I would like to say that I really appreciate the member. I have been on committee with him. He has a very positive input and I like that. I also love it when the Conservatives ask about debt, because for a majority of the years they were in power, they increased that national debt. I do not know why Conservatives keep asking about things in Parliament that they did such a terrible job at. If they are against debt, hopefully they will start convincing themselves.
The other thing the member did not mention was that because of all these investments, and the finance minister always calls them investments, there is $20 billion more to pay down that debt from revenues, because the economy is booming.
I am being cut off, so I cannot talk about more good news and things we have done. I have a long list.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 20:40 [p.28545]
Mr. Speaker, obviously I cannot speak to specifics, but I really thank the member for that. He expressed very well the need for this and the support for this.
I want to say two things, and the member will really appreciate this. We had a group of aboriginal youth, and the idea was that if they do well in school and everything, then they could spend time to build their culture with our investments, doing that later. Of course that is what a lot of people said to the youth.
However, a tremendous young aboriginal lady said, “No, it is the foundation, the language, the culture. When you have confidence in yourself built from the support for our own language, our own culture, that is what catapults you into success in your life.”
I appreciate the member's support for that.
The other thing is congratulations to everyone in this House. In this Parliament, we passed the motion from our committee to have simultaneous translation of aboriginal language in this House and in committees, which is historic. It shows young aboriginal people, who see their language in the centre of democracy for Canada, that they can go anywhere with their language and they should be proud of it.
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