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Results: 1 - 15 of 34
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 23:56 [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 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
2019-06-04 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 20:40 [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.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-11-26 11:22 [p.23887]
Mr. Speaker, because of his great experience, I am sure the member has a lot more to say, so I will let him say it.
I will not ask a question, but I do want to make a comment on the constitutionality aspect that came up twice now. Just so members and the public know, when a government bill comes before Parliament, there are constitutional experts who have reviewed it and determined, in their opinion, whether they believe it is constitutional. It is not a shot in the dark, whether things that come before Parliament are constitutional.
With private members' bills, hopefully private members will take their bills to a constitutional expert before they present their it to Parliament, so we do not have this discussion on motions and bills so often because they have already been reviewed for constitutionality.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-11-26 16:36 [p.23934]
Mr. Speaker, basically, it looks like we are in agreement in a lot of areas.
The member mentioned that there were a lot of poor people in the country. As I mentioned in my speech in detail, we have contributed to virtually all of those groups. First, for the working poor, we have helped over two million people. We have increased the amount of money for low-income students. We have increased the GIS for low-income seniors, bringing thousands of them out of poverty. There is the new Canada child benefit, which brings thousands of children out of poverty.
I am delighted the member raised the boiled water advisories. I do not have the exact figures, but a record number have been dealt with, I think 60 out of 120. We are well on schedule to eliminate them all. It is very important, and I am glad it is important for the NDP.
Finally, on Internet for rural areas, there is a special program. As an example, in my area, the federal government is investing millions to put a line up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik. Therefore, we will have redundancy with our line from the south from Alberta as it goes down whenever someone breaks a line from Alberta. I am very appreciative of that. I appreciate the fact that the member supports those types of initiatives.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-06-18 11:15 [p.21119]
Madam Speaker, I want to applaud the member for adding indigenous representation to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, and I would ask him to talk more about the importance of that to Canada's history. There is only one group of people who have been here for millennia, so I think it is a tremendous initiative.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:16 [p.17237]
Mr. Chair, I would like to ask the member what his suggestions are with respect to changes that could be made in the criminal justice system or other systems to reduce the percentage of aboriginal people who are incarcerated. As was mentioned in many previous speeches, it is much higher than the population at large.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:25 [p.17238]
Mr. Chair, mahsi cho.
[Member spoke in Gwich'in]
As with all my speeches in the parliamentary precinct on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people, I would like to thank them: gunalchéesh for the spiritual, uplifting ceremonies that I have attended with them.
We too have stories of horrible, dark events, not only in the justice system but in many other aspects of life as well. However, I would like to spend my limited time tonight offering some possible routes forward to hope, based on some of the successful initiatives created and implemented by Yukon first nations.
For thousands of years, indigenous Canadians have lived and survived here just fine. They governed themselves. They had their own justice system. They had their own traditional laws. Their traditional way of life was successful. Now look at indigenous people in today's justice system. Is that working well? Clearly, from previous speeches, no.
Do members think that putting indigenous people in touch with traditional laws and processes that have served them successfully for thousands of years might help? Many in Yukon first nations feel they will.
I will give some successful examples now, and it is important to note that these successful initiatives did not come from governments but from the Yukon people themselves. They were created by Yukon first nations.
As the Prime Minister said today in his speech, which I think will be one of the most historic speeches in this House of Commons on indigenous people, self-determination is foundational. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the ways that Yukon first nation governments, in partnership with other levels of governments, are moving forward with reconciliation and creating a more inclusive system when it comes to indigenous people in Canada's justice system.
It is fitting I should speak today, as today we mark the 45th anniversary of Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow. On February 14, 1973, a delegation of Yukon first nation chiefs presented Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau with the historic document “Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow”. This was one of the first land claims accepted for negotiation in Canada, and it became the basis for negotiating the Umbrella Final Agreement signed in 1993, followed by 11 Yukon first nation land claim and self-governing agreements that are in place today.
These modern treaties are viewed across Canada and around the world as the leading model for new relationships with indigenous people. As part of the self-government agreements, first nations have gained the authority to administer justice. While these provisions are still being negotiated with a number of Yukon first nation governments, we are seeing some interesting developments as they move forward.
The Teslin Tlingit Council signed its Administration of Justice Agreement with the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon in 2011, the first of its kind in Yukon. Through this, they have enacted their own Peacemaker Court, an important step in allowing the Teslin Tlingit Council to administer its own laws and govern its citizens.
Not unlike federal, territorial, and provincial governments, many Yukon first nation governments have justice departments. These departments deal less with punishment and more with child welfare, healing, and restorative justice through traditional knowledge and traditional processes of justice.
The Kwanlin Dün First Nation in Whitehorse has also implemented a unique, successful community safety officer program. The first nation administers its own officers to patrol and respond to incidents within the McIntyre subdivision, while working with RCMP, Whitehorse bylaw officers, or Yukon conservation officers. The program has seen police calls in the area drop by an unprecedented 40%.
Yukon first nations are also working on expanding the capacity of Gladue reports production in the justice system. In the fall, the Council of Yukon First Nations, with funding from Yukon's Department of Justice, hosted a workshop on writing Gladue reports, the first step in building a reserve for the much-needed service in the community, building on the success of the many that have been used in the courts and reducing the rate of incarceration of indigenous people.
As members can see, when we work hand in hand with first nation governments, we begin to build a system that is more inclusive and better accommodates the experience of indigenous people in Canada.
To conclude, what are possible avenues to reach exits back into the light?
First, consider consensual and existing customary practices. Second, consider peacemaker courts, like in Teslin. Third, consider indigenous traditional processes for resolving disputes. Fourth, consider wilderness, land-based treatment, such as the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and other Yukon first nations have used for decades.
Fifth, and the next three are three items that if anyone, officials in provincial, federal, or territorial governments, is watching, these are things that could reduce huge numbers of people in the justice system, that could save millions upon millions of dollars, and reduce massive amounts of human suffering. The first one is that it has to be remembered that over half the people in the justice system are either on a substance or getting the money to get that substance. That has to be dealt with first.
Sixth, huge numbers of people who should not be in the justice system have mental illnesses. That has to be deal with first. Seventh, the third one, a huge percentage of the people in the criminal justice system who should not be there have FASD. If that is dealt with, it would reduce immense human suffering.
Eighth, consider the successful wellness courts that occur in the Yukon and have been there now for a number of years. Ninth, consider the Teslin Tlingit Council justice diversion program based on traditional Tlingit justice. Tenth, consider the Kwanlin Dün First Nation justice program that promotes awareness, understanding, prevention, empowerment, and healing. Eleventh, consider Kwanlin Dün's outpatient drug treatment program and youth land-based, wilderness-based, and adventure-based treatment.
Twelfth, consider alternative sentencing, such as circle sentencing practised by youth justice programs. Some people suggest that circle sentencing is an easy route out of jail, and that is totally untrue. Just imagine having to face a circle of family and friends to apologize, to explain what had been done, and to take a punishment from them. It is much harder for these offenders, much more successful but much harder for these offenders to do that. Some of them do not want to do that, but it has been proven time and time again. Vern White, a former police chief in Whitehorse, a former police chief in Ottawa, and a Conservative senator was a big supporter of these diversion programs, of alternative restorative justice.
On the recidivism of people, I gave three big ways to take a lot of people out of the system. The other is dealing with recidivism. It is 60%, 70%, 80% of people who come out of jail and go back in, under normal circumstances. In one instance of this circle sentencing, this restorative justice, the alternative sentencing that I just talked about, in the Dawson City youth program told me that recidivism was zero. That is an incredible success story, compared with 60%, 70%, 80% of people going back into the jails.
The member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou said that the definition of hope, given by Nelson Mandela was that when there was darkness all around, there is still a point of light.
I hope that tonight I have given 12 possible avenues to move towards that point of light.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:35 [p.17240]
Mr. Chair, I hope that if we implemented some of these 12 examples I gave, they would start to reduce the tensions, as they have in my area. I was careful to try not to boast or talk about what the government has done, but for all these programs I just mentioned, I could have mentioned the dollar figures the government came in with to support the first nation initiatives. Some were $300,000; some were $700,00.
The self-government agreements that allowed these justice agreements that I read out were all signed. Four of them were signed while I was a member of Parliament. I think this is an example of the way forward, the way to reduce those tensions.
As I said, it is not perfect. We are taking far too long to negotiate justice agreements, but they are not easy.
I think they are an advantage over some areas. People around the world are looking at these agreements as a way of moving forward with indigenous peoples in their nations.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:38 [p.17240]
Mr. Chair, I love that question, because it allows me to say something I wanted to say in my speech, but I did not have time.
The parliamentary secretary was just in the Yukon to meet with aboriginal peoples and discuss how we are going to implement our new language program, to do exactly that.
However, I want to tell a story about a young woman. We had a circle, a couple of months ago, of young indigenous women. This woman had spoken at the United Nations. She said some people say the way out of this misery, the poverty of first nations people, or of any people, is to give them a job. She said it is all backward. It is exactly as the member said: what they need first is the revitalization of their culture, of their language. Then they have pride in themselves. Then they will have no problem getting the education we talked about tonight. They will have no problem getting the jobs we talked about tonight.
It is that cultural revitalization that gives them the same pride that everyone else has in their historical culture, and they can move ahead like everyone else.
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Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:40 [p.17240]
Mr. Chair, the justice system has a provision that in sentencing we have to take into account the history of aboriginal people. Other than that, when someone comes before a judge, they do not have that much time. The judge does not know them as a person. Most judges, until we get more first nation judges, do not know the entire different background of the residential schools or the intergenerational problems or the different cultures people come from. A Gladue report paints this all out. It describes the person. The judge gets to know the person as an individual, not just as an entity in front of him.
With that detailed information about how that person is different from all the other people who have appeared before the court, the judge can then follow the justice system's rule of being sensitive in sentencing.
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Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:42 [p.17241]
Mr. Chair, I want to thank the member for his support of my bill on FASD and people not being treated appropriately in the justice system. I really appreciated his support. He and I tried to collect further support, and we certainly moved the goalposts.
When I go into schools, I talk about the independence of the judiciary and the importance of that. I use a pie chart. If they look at all the boxes, the one box that is not connected to anything else in government is the judiciary. That is what separates us as a modern and free democratic society. Politicians do not interfere in the justice system. We can get put in jail just like anyone else. The Prime Minister follows the same laws as everyone else, and that is important.
From what I have heard, everyone in the House understands that concept. We make the laws and the judiciary implements them. That is an important concept in our democracy.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-14 21:54 [p.17242]
Mr. Chair, the member's speech was positive and thoughtful. It was very compelling because we have all identified a major problem and it is great when we all work through it together.
The member raised a very interesting point. I am not a lawyer, but I heard a lawyer mention the other day that justice needs not only to be done but it needs to be seen to be done. He raised that very interesting point. I am curious. People read the paper and say that the judge should have done this or that, but they were not in the court. They do not know what all the evidence was. Just using the example of the average person, not with aboriginal people involved, how does the member think we can deal with that problem where justice needs to be seen to be done as well? How can we educate people better? It is a very interesting idea.
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