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Results: 1 - 14 of 14
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-04-29 11:19 [p.27074]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member on speaking without notes. In the mother Parliament, the tradition was that members were not allowed to have notes or read speeches, so I would like to compliment him on staying with that precedent.
The member mentioned that other countries were planning, or have, legislation like this. I wonder if he could elaborate on that. That is part one of the question. The member said there was a law similar to his proposed law in the United States. Part two is, could the member mention a couple of the results of that law or cases, and how that law has been used?
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
2018-10-31 17:56 [p.23100]
Madam Speaker, I have a comment. A great congratulations. The biggest group in Canadian jails are people with mental illness and fetal alcohol syndrome, also a huge percentage in jails around the world. There is obviously a need in sentencing if they do not even know why they have committed a crime, or if the punishment is related to the crime, so why would there be the same punishment? It does not make any sense, so the bill would make apparent to the judge the condition of the person as to whether and how they should be sentenced based on their abilities.
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
2018-02-28 18:05 [p.17492]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for an excellent and very thoughtful speech, and for making the important point of uncoupling inappropriate actions from specific cultures.
The last member who spoke brought up the budget. I wonder if he could comment on the increase for multiculturalism to help promote groups with each other.
We just had a multiculturalism group meeting in my riding last year. They were all so excited to be together, and they want to do it again. They are part of the solution. I hope everyone in the House uses the various multicultural groups who want to work together and diffuse any tensions there might be in Canada. That is why it is such a great country.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-13 18:09 [p.17164]
Mr. Speaker, I have two comments. First, I would like to thank the member for referencing the north. We have a great Jewish community in the Yukon. I can think of Rick Carp and Arthur Mitchell offhand, and a number more.
Second, I want to thank him for his tribute to my former seatmate, who started this bill. Hon. Irwin Cotler is a great world citizen. He has done so much for human rights in the world. He has received accolades and many awards from around the world for that type of work. I really appreciate the member's reference to Mr. Cotler for the great contribution he has made to Canada and the world.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-12-13 17:52 [p.16398]
Mr. Speaker, just before I start, this being the end of the session, before the holidays, I too would like to add my best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Christmas and new year, and thank all Canadians for their generosity. Everyone at some time in their life faces difficult situations, and Canadians are very generous, and have been this season, in helping to increase that magic so that everyone, even those in need, experience it. I encourage all Canadians not to stop now. There is still lots of need before Christmas and Hanukkah, etc.
I want to talk about this wonderful bill. It is an excellent example of the reconciliation that everyone in this House wants to promote. I want to talk about two things. One is why it is so important to have indigenous people on the historic sites board. We might miss things without them.
The first thing I want to talk about is materials, including, for example, when Europeans came a few hundred years ago. I would also like to talk about the frequency of the sites. There are far more opportunities for sites, because the indigenous people have been here more than 10,000 years longer than Europeans. There were all those years to create historic sites. They have vastly more sites and, of course, we would want to make sure they have good representation, government-to-government representation, a specific spot on the board to ensure their presence, over and above other spots that could also be indigenous.
An example is that in the northern part of Yukon, we can see driftwood lying around. It could look like driftwood to any of us, but these are historic cariboo fences that were set up to guide the cariboo to spots where they could be hunted. The Europeans used materials that would last, cement, etc., not natural materials. The first nations people, indigenous people, use the land, natural materials, which are not as easy to distinguish.
Fish traps could perhaps be made out of willow. People would not necessarily know what these were, or bush camps that they used to live in, even at 40 below zero. Non-indigenous people on the board would not necessarily know what these are. They are much harder to detect because they are a part of nature. They always were part of nature.
There are a number of battle sites that, once again, non-indigenous people would have no idea where these might be. People would have to go to these sites to even be able to identify them.
There are far more frequent indigenous historical sites possible because of the 10,000-plus years of people living here. In my area alone, just one of the ridings in the country, there are six indigenous languages: Kutchin, Southern Tutchone, Northern Tutchone, Gwich'in, Kaska, and Hän, and maybe a few more.
It shows how bountiful the people were who lived on this land. There is a map in this month's National Geographic that shows all of the first nations and indigenous languages of Canada. It is so dense right across the country, we can imagine how many historic sites they must have. What people might not think of as indigenous sites in fact are. In my riding, for instance, we just had the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. It was first nations' guides who followed their trails and showed the army where to build the highway. There were also Tlingit traders. When the gold rush came, people might think that was the first gold rush, but of course people had lived there for thousands of years, indeed 10,000 years ago, in the Bluefish Caves in Yukon, for instance.
The Tlingit from the coast had what they called the grease trail, the eulachon trail, to bring eulachon oil into the centre of Yukon. Non-indigenous historians would think that the Chilkoot Trail and the White Pass trail that gold rushers came in on were the start, but these were the first nations' trails from time immemorial, where they traded into the interior and had interactions, both positive and conflictual, with other indigenous people, and with the whole trading system, the whole economic system in the interior.
Another item that people would not necessarily know about was a volcano, roughly 1,100 years ago. If people dig beneath the surface in most of Yukon, they will see a layer of white ash. A whole new culture started in Yukon at that time. It changed from atlatl weapons to a bow and arrow. These are all things that only the indigenous people might draw us to.
Other aspects of indigenous history in Yukon are tar sites, where there was caribou dung piled on a hill. People might not know what that was if they did not have the appropriate education. These were discovered only a few years ago, actually. In the summer, the caribou have to get away from the bugs and go on ice patches in the mountains, which last all summer. For thousands of years people hunted the caribou on those sites, and now historical weapons are being found where those patches existed.
There is such a prevalence of aboriginal sites all across Canada, hundreds of different first nations. If they come from Europe, people might think they are all the same, but, as I said, there are 14 separate first nations just in my area, one riding of the country. We can imagine how many first nations there are across Canada, how much history, and how many historic sites, for which we need the interpretation and wisdom of the elders.
Fortunately, they had an oral history, and these records are in the minds of the people. We all agree that this oral history is an important part of the historic record of Canada. That is why it is so important that this bill creates spots for Inuit, Métis, and first nations people on the board, so that far more of these sites will be recognized and recorded for the very important history of our nation.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-12-04 11:17 [p.15895]
Mr. Speaker, could the member comment about the people, either the leadership or the common people at the time and where they were, and take us back to those years?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-12-06 19:03 [p.7757]
Mr. Speaker, there we have it. We finally have before us a bill that reflects what the legal, medical, and psychological experts have been asking for years, a bill to make long overdue changes to the criminal justice system to more accurately effect the appropriate just treatment for thousands of victims of FASD and to save millions of dollars in courts and prison costs.
What do the legal experts say? The largest body of experts, the Canadian Bar Association, comprised of 36,000 prosecutors, defence lawyers, judges, etc., says the following:
People with FASD have a permanent organic brain injury caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. That brain injury results in a wide range of symptoms of varying severity, but is characterized by symptoms that often go against underlying principles of criminal law. These normative assumptions of criminal law infer that individuals are responsible for their own actions, that they can control their behaviors in keeping with societal expectations and that they can learn from and be deterred by previous experience.
Characteristics of FASD directly challenge these assumptions. Individuals with FASD may exhibit a lack of impulse control, impaired judgment, and an inability to control or modify their behavior. They may be susceptible to pressure from others and lack the ability to learn from past experiences or to understand the consequences of their own actions. Poor executive functioning skills mean that they may make the same mistakes over and over.
For these and other reasons, many people with FASD are in frequent contact with the criminal justice system. Often, the characteristics that made them susceptible to coming before the system are the very same characteristics that will keep them unreasonably enmeshed in the system over time...In June 2015, this reality was recognized in the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The current criminal justice framework does not give individuals with FASD adequate support, which in turn increases both the suffering of those involved and increases the costs to the criminal justice system. We believe that Bill C-235 is an important step in addressing some of the shortcomings of the current framework....Trial judges must have discretion to deal humanely with people who have FASD....We urge Parliament to adopt Bill C-235...
We heard some minor concerns raised earlier, but those have all been addressed in the first hour of debate and in the information I sent everyone today.
I am going to close with an excerpt from a long letter I will send everyone. It is from the mother of an FASD victim. She says:
“Your vote can slash the suicide rate in certain populations, save innocent people from destructive criminal records which ruin employment prospects in an already vulnerable group which are the invisibly disabled ...Those with both diagnosed and undiagnosed FASD end up in segregation, because they are at the bottom of the food chain among convicts...Send a disabled innocent person to jail to get punished and treated badly, and then wonder why they either kill themselves or come out of jail unable to function, and refuse help from anyone who offers it. Why would they trust us?
You can save lots of taxpayer money...by voting for this slight adjustment to our justice system ... [FASD suffering] is not due to anything they've done to themselves, but was rather done to them before they were born. Have you thought about the real meaning of mens rea? The same way someone with a developmental delay cannot form criminal intent, someone with poor executive functioning due to [FASD] cannot plan a crime. It's about time we allow science to inform some outdated concepts which do nothing to protect society and do inflict a lot of harm. The punishment must fit the crime.
In many cases for the person with FASD, the punishment has nothing to do with fairness, and everything to do with our inability to look at the real person behind the crime and what brought them into contact with law enforcement.... When we overlook the large number of cases in which FASD is a factor, we miss a chance to address the trauma of living with FASD, and instead, add to that trauma. We send the message that our children are not worth the effort it would take tell this population that they belong in the world. Please vote for Bill C-235.”
One day this long-standing injustice will be rectified. It is inevitable. As members of the 42nd Parliament, we could be the pioneers that forge this great accomplishment by eliminating the suffering of thousands of innocent victims. The choice is ours.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-11-03 17:38 [p.6575]
moved that Bill C-235, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (fetal alcohol disorder), be read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
I am moved today to start the debate on my bill, Bill C-235, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (fetal alcohol disorder).
We have all seen television episodes of someone wrongly imprisoned and how that devastates their lives and how heart breaking it is. I am sure that has moved many members to tears. We have it in our power with Bill C-235 to end a number of cases of needless suffering of innocents. It is not one, not two, not three, but potentially over 2,000 cases a year. In fact, for people alive in Canada today, it could potentially affect 180,000 Canadians. This is an immense challenge and humanitarian opportunity.
First, I will explain the bill briefly. FASD, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, is permanent brain damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. In a vast majority of cases, unlike other ailments, it is an invisible affliction. Among the symptoms of the resulting defects in the central nervous system are impaired mental functioning, poor executive functioning, memory problems, impaired judgment, inability to control compulsive behaviour, and impaired ability to understand the consequences of one's actions. These are a distinct set of attributes capably diagnosed by today's modern assessments. Through no fault of their own, the brain they were born with does not have the ability to keep them from committing crimes or understanding the consequences. Therefore, normal sentencing, normal incarceration, normal release do not make any logical sense in their regard, and do not fulfill the purposes for which they were created.
The bill comprises four recommendations from the Canadian Bar Association, which represents the thousands of lawyers and judges who deal with this affliction every day. First, it would allow the court to order assessments of an offender to see if they have FASD. Second, if they have FASD, it would allow them to use that as a mitigating factor in sentencing. Third, when a person with FASD is in custody, the bill directs that they be treated specially for that. It would be added to a list of other conditions and groups of people treated specially in the correctional system. Fourth, when a person with FASD is released they would have an external support plan so they do not miss probation, for example, and end up, as judges say, through the revolving door and back in prison.
While prima facie, it is a simple bill, many bills can be improved in committee and I would welcome any logical amendments to it.
My goal is to reduce unnecessary, tragic human suffering, but some may want to know the financial savings. Assessments cost in the order of $5,000. If Ontario were to keep one-half of the early potential 840 FASD offenders out of jail for just one year, at $100,000 a year, it would provide the province with over $40 million a year for more logical, just, humane, effective ways of dealing with these offenders and their afflictions.
It is important to note that in the last Parliament, similar bills to this were twice before the Parliament. One was Conservative and one was Liberal. However, there was not enough time for them to complete the legislative cycle. We will shortly hear some of the excerpts from that debate. Speakers from all parties supported and spoke in favour of that bill.
It is important to recognize that this bill is only a small piece of the much larger puzzle of steps needed to alleviate the suffering, and sometimes tortured existence, of people with FASD. Other steps that need to be taken include prevention. This is a totally preventable condition. They include steps to prevent contact with the justice system in the first place, further research, special services, restorative justice, information sharing, targeted interventions, and supportive living arrangements.
These are important tasks for others, but this bill only deals with FASD sufferers who are involved with the justice system. That is about 60% of them. Yes, I said 60%.
As I outlined at the beginning, and as we can see, the need is staggering. It is estimated that one in 100 Canadians is afflicted with FASD and studies have indicated that, minimally, between 10% and 30% of inmates in today's prisons have FASD, costing us tens of millions of dollars.
This is perhaps why in its call to action No. 34, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls on the governments of Canada, the provinces, and the territories “to undertake reforms to the criminal justice system to better address the needs of offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)”.
As I said, I am open to amendments, and I will just give members four questions that people might want to debate in committee.
First, should the judge have the power to make assessments mandatory?
There are mixed views on this. There are already precedents in the criminal justice system for ordering assessments, but if parliamentarians feel that these should not be mandatory, then it would be easy to amend the bill. We do have to protect the offender from self-incrimination during these assessments. If parliamentarians wanted, they could expand the assessment section to clarify Criminal Code assessment powers in general, and that would also include FASD assessments. To the credit of the territories and the provinces, assessments are much more widely available now than in the past.
Second, what about people with other afflictions who are not included in the bill?
First, they are not filling our jails in the thousands like the FASD offenders are; second, if there were a big need in other identified afflictions needing special conditions that could be prescribed, someone would have proposed legislative remedies for that situation; and third, most other conditions are visible and otherwise known to the judge, while FASD is known as the invisible affliction because, until diagnosed, many people, including judges, would not know the offender had FASD and impaired brain and central nervous functions. Indeed, some have high IQs but still have the interaction deficiencies that I outlined at the beginning of my speech. Fourth, if another condition and its deficiencies and special provisions were presented to the committee, these could easily be added to the bill now or to the Criminal Code at a later date. To date, no serious evidence has been presented to us of another condition with near the magnitude of a problem that FASD poses in our present day justice system, as identified by lawyers, judges, and FASD workers across Canada.
A third question that members might want to debate in committee is the following. What if, in the rare violent offender FASD cases, the assessment results in the offender being put in protective custody for a longer time than would have occurred without the assessment, for the safety of both himself and the public?
I say, so be it. As an evidence-based government, it is better to have more evidence to make a decision.
A fourth question is, should the external support plan be approved by the judge or the probation officer, and should it be voluntary, after the time of a normal sentence of a person who does not have FASD?
Those are four items we could discuss. As I said, I am open to amendments.
We can save thousands if we act now, from injustice and needless suffering. Perhaps, in the future, we could even add a few more if a condition and its legislative remedies are identified and documented. However, there is no reason to delay. If in fact someone launched and won a challenge and were added to the criminal justice system, then our pioneering efforts would have paved the way for that to happen, for that person or that group to have justice, too.
There is a huge desire on the part of MPs on all sides of the House to improve greatly our dealing with mental health issues in Canada. What a great humanitarian advance it would be if we could improve the lives of thousands with this mental deficiency. It goes without saying that in Canada, and in fact around the world, there is great support for legislative assistance for people afflicted with FASD who come into contact with the legal system. When a similar bill was before Parliament, the Conservative proponent said he had 1,500 stakeholders supporting his efforts. I have my own large network of support.
The Conservative member also said, on June 5, 2014, in Hansard:
I would also like to extend my gratitude to the legislators of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, both of which recently passed unanimous motions calling on the Government to support Bill C-583.
Some FASD workers in other countries applaud Canada for these pioneering efforts and want to use them as models in their own nations.
However, it is not only FASD experts in the field who are so passionate and excited about the bill. We must remember that the bill is different from a lot of normal private members' bills that may not have a legislative background. The bill is comprised of only the four recommendations from the Canadian Bar Association, and crafted by its president at the time Rod Snow, thousands of its member lawyers, legal experts, and judges who deal constantly in the courts and corrections system with offenders who suffer with FASD. Who better to craft the legislative improvement?
The purpose of sentencing is to protect the public by presenting a deterrent to offenders so that when they get out, which virtually all of them do, they do not reoffend. However, the damaged brain of FASD offenders often do not connect the crime with the punishment. Therefore, if they do not know why they are being punished, why would we continuously, cruelly, and senselessly incarcerate them, at the cost of tens of millions of dollars, instead of treating and supervising them appropriately on the basis of the reality of the sad truth of their physical brain deficiency?
I want to quote again from the Conservative speech from Hansard, when the bill was before Parliament on June 5, 2014. It is a quote about a young FASD woman speaking at a conference. It states:
She talked about going to work in the morning and forgetting her keys and then returning home to get her keys, but then forgetting why she had come home. Then, when she finally realized what she was looking for, her keys, she forgot what she needed her keys for. She had to slow down and calm herself and deal with that confusion and frustration of not being able to really grasp exactly what she needed to get done.
Imagine this young woman being tasked with making a number of probation or court appearances or appointments. What happens if she misses an appointment? She would go back to jail because of an administrative breach. These people have a damaged nervous system and little concept of timing, and we are irrationally and unjustly sentencing them to a painful and personal purgatory.
Our current federal justice minister said it as well as anyone I have heard, when she said this to the Canadian Bar Association last February:
The truth is that many offenders have some combination of mental illness and addiction....
Imagine if we could change the system to better align it with the needs of all Canadians. What if an offender's first interaction with the criminal justice system did not become the first in a series? What if it triggered mechanisms designed to address the factors that inspired the criminal behaviour in the first place?
It has been a long day. Let us imagine we are going home. However, what if after we have walked a couple of blocks from here, to our horror, we are picked up by the police and put in jail for a couple of years, far from our friends and family, and we did not know why? Then, when our time was up and we got out of this horrible situation, we were picked up by a police car again and told that we missed an appointment and we were thrown back in jail. We would wonder how people could be so cruel.
Colleagues, let us show what it means to be Canadian and end the suffering of thousands who, through no fault of their own, cannot help themselves.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-11-03 17:52 [p.6578]
Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes and no. I think it depends on what part of Canada one comes from.
The member mentioned a very good point, which is that it is in certain parts of Canada. In certain areas like mine, where people are used to it, the judges and lawyers understand this and they make those special provisions. Sometimes the judges will go out on a limb without any legislative backdrop to do that and use it as a mitigating factor when maybe they should not.
However, there are parts of Canada where they do not understand this yet, even though people drink and have babies, so it is just as prevalent. They do not know it and do not realize this could be a factor. If they put it right in the system, it gives them the authority so that they are not stepping outside their bounds. Also, it educates those who do not understand that these people need to be treated in a different way.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-11-03 17:54 [p.6578]
Mr. Speaker, I listed some of the concerns. There is excellent research now, so it is speeding up a lot more. Some of the reasons have been more political as opposed to research. I tried to address any legislative concerns people might have with the bill.
That is a good question and it gives me an opportunity to say something brand new. There is some very fascinating research going on now. By testing genes and chromosomes and their reaction to alcohol, there may soon be a way of doing biological testing, which there never was before. This would be a huge advance if that research, which is taking place somewhere the Prairies, is successful. It would be great for all of us.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-11-03 17:56 [p.6578]
Mr. Speaker, I, the correctional investigator and the member for Charlottetown all spoke at a conference on this. The investigator is quite supportive and understands the correctional system and those needs very well. It is good that the member mentioned it was reflected in his report. It is pretty obvious to the people who work in the jails that there are special needs.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-04-18 11:31 [p.2331]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his thoughtful motion, and I certainly agree with the objectives of improving the work at CRA. That is why I am delighted that the government has put extra funds in the budget this time and advocated for the process, not only for CRA but for several other departments, to make them more efficient.
However, I am not sure that this is the exact way to ensure those rights, and I have a quick question.
The motion talks about it being “necessary to empower the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman to direct compliance with Tax Court rulings or formal decisions on specific cases;”. I do not understand that if there are rulings and formal decisions why they are not already enforced. If the court orders something, is it not enforced? As well, in empowering the ombudsman to order redress, it appears to be more powerful and extensive than any other powers of parliamentary ombudsmen. I wonder if the member has any precedents for such a move.
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