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Results: 1 - 7 of 7
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-28 16:47 [p.17482]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the member on his comportment in the House. He was rational and polite, and I really appreciate that.
I was surprised at a couple of the items he put forward with respect to the amendments. One was about the long-term boil water advisories. It is a strength of the budget that 52 have been reduced already and the rest of them will be by 2021. Another part of the amendment is on tax loopholes. We have put in over $1 billion already, which is far more than the NDP promised in its platform. Why these two items?
The member also suggested that there have been delays with respect to infrastructure. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but in my riding we have already approved 60 projects for over $400 million. We are virtually at full employment because of that and because of some previous budget items.
I think my colleague will appreciate my question. Would he agree that the workers tax credit should have been increased, and that it was good to increase it? In my riding alone, that adds 300 more people to the list, and roughly 1,200 Yukoners will get an increase because of that. That is one thousandth of the population. That is a massive change for people living in poverty. One of the reasons I got into Parliament was to help people living in poverty.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-02-06 15:35 [p.16842]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here today. All members in the House were elected by their constituents to represent them. I know I speak for all of us when I say we are proud to stand here and debate issues that are important to Canadians, issues such as jobs, security, and environmental issues, issues I hear from my constituents when I speak with them in the riding, as was mentioned by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands earlier today in this debate.
I find it unfortunate that instead of talking about these very important issues to grow the economy and create new sustainable jobs, the Conservative Party has decided to put partisan politics before Canadians and choose one of its few allotted days to discuss a topic for which the Prime Minister has repeatedly taken full responsibility. As the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said, “a lost opportunity”.
Let me tell everyone the facts.
Immediately after the commissioner's report was tabled, the Prime Minister took full responsibility and accepted the findings. On top of this, the Prime Minister will continue to work with the commissioner and assure that all family and personal vacations will be cleared with the office of the commissioner.
It is also important to note that the commissioner stated that the Prime Minister did not take part in any decisions related to the aid foundation or give instructions to advance any projects in relation to that institution.
The commissioner's office does important work to ensure that members remain accountable and transparent and do not undertake actions that will give rise to conflict. Our government has always worked to ensure the commissioner's office and all officers of Parliament get the support and the resources they need to remain fully independent to do their work.
The commissioner has a tough job and is tasked with both interpreting and administering the Conflict of Interest Act. This includes providing public-office holders with confidential advice, investigating and reporting on alleged breaches, and levying penalties for public office-holders who have failed to report as required.
Our government has committed to ensuring that officers of Parliament, such as the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, remain robust. It is part of the reason why we are putting in a new appointment process that supports open, transparent, and merit-based selection processes. The selection process is designed to identify highly qualified candidates who meet the needs of the organization and are able to perform the duties of the position to which they would be appointed. This new process will help strengthen the trust in our democracy and ensure the integrity of our public institutions. We thank all officers of Parliament for their work and the former commissioner for her outstanding service to Parliament and Canadians.
While the opposition members have tried their best to convince Canadians that the costs related to the security of the Prime Minister are somehow unusual, the fact is that the former commissioner acknowledged these costs would be incurred whenever the Prime Minister travelled. She stated, “If the Prime Minister had gone somewhere else on his own initiative...a lot of those costs would have been incurred anyway.”
Such security costs have also applied to previous prime ministers. Canada's security agencies make determinations on how best to ensure the safety of the Prime Minister, and their advice is followed.
Sadly, the discourse coming from the opposite side is trying to put partisan politics before the very real issues Canadians face every day. The opposition wants to know about paying back taxpayers. Let me tell everyone about how the government has been putting more money into the pockets of Canadian taxpayers.
Nine million Canadians have more money in their pockets thanks to the middle-class tax cut. We were able to lower taxes for the middle class by asking the wealthiest 1% to do a little more. On this side of the House, we know that when the middle class benefits, all Canadians benefit.
Nine out of 10 Canadian families are better off with the Canada child benefit. One of the main reasons I came into politics was to help the disadvantaged, those who cannot help themselves, those who for a short time in their lives face poverty or low income. Helping nine out of 10 Canadian families with children is a great boost and has not only helped those families and children have a better quality of life, but also it has been a huge boost to the economy, which is why there is such record employment.
This program offers a simple, monthly, and tax-free cheque to Canadian families that is more generous than what they received under the previous government.
We were able to put this program in place by doing two things: focusing the most benefits on those who need it most and less on those who need it less, and putting an end to the Conservative practice of sending child care cheques to millionaire families. This has made a real difference in the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, helping them afford more groceries, take care of expenses, and save for their future. We are able to accomplish these things because we remain focused on Canadians.
Conservatives continue to focus on us, but it will not deter us from ensuring we continue our efforts passionately to create initiatives toward helping grow the middle class. By investing and putting our trust in Canadians, we earn the trust of Canadians. Canadians also trust the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, which operates above the political games we often find in this chamber. This is important because Canadians need to recognize when a statement is made factually, as is done by the commissioner, and when it is done for political gain, as does the opposition.
However, if the opposition wants to continue talking about giving back to taxpayers, it should know we are investing heavily in infrastructure to better support our communities, grow the economy, and create jobs. I have made a number of infrastructure announcements, and I am anticipating a lot more. We have close to economically defined full employment in my riding because of these advantages of not only infrastructure investments, but investing in the families I mentioned, in low-income students, and in seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement and the working income tax benefit. We talked about this at the all-party poverty caucus this morning, as well as ideas for even improving that. All these things have helped investment in the economy and are things that Canadians who are in need are really thinking about and looking for their government to deal with.
Canadians will benefit from such long overdue infrastructure funding. We already have seen investments in roads and transit to help connect rural and remote communities so that people and businesses can connect across our vast country. We have done a number of water projects, projects related to airports, wastewater systems, and many other projects related to infrastructure. Many pieces of infrastructure were left crumbling by a previous government, which focused on cuts and balancing the budget, no matter the cost.
We are focused on Canadians and the issues that matter to them. This is why we are investing in our communities from coast to coast to coast and ensuring the delivery of our priorities. Maybe I will say that again because quite often I just hear “coast to coast”. The biggest coastline in the world is the northern coast of Canada, the Arctic Ocean. Please, members of all parties and ministers, it is coast to coast to coast.
This helps explain why we are debating the motion in front of us today. The Conservatives know our plan to help grow the economy is working and, lacking other options, have decided to focus on the Prime Minister.
In closing, as the Prime Minister has said many times on the floor of the House, he has accepted the findings of the commissioner and has also accepted full responsibility. Let us move forward, focus on the real issues affecting Canadians, and work to improve the lives of all those living in our communities.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-11-07 16:04 [p.15100]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a perfect example of what the parliamentary secretary just said about not being in accord with Bill C-17, which hopefully we will get passed soon and have this dealt with that way.
It was great she mentioned access to resources. The Prime Minister was recently in my riding and announced $247 million, maybe the biggest announcement ever, for infrastructure. For time immemorial, the northern premiers and politicians have been arguing that the resources are there but we cannot access them.
On top that, for a lot of the rural and remote communities, there are infrastructure projects for almost every community I have announced so far, which have put so many people to work. We now are basically at full employment economically.
Has the member had the same experience in her riding with investment in infrastructure and the great economic benefits that has had?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-05-09 15:40 [p.10974]
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak for Yukon and to the budget bill.
When the government came into power, we changed the northern strategy, the Arctic strategy, to put the emphasis on people. We believe that if there are strong, healthy people in the north, we will have strong sovereignty in the north, good resource development, and environmental protection. I was delighted that the budgets of 2016 and 2017 reflected this emphasis on the people.
I will just talk about some of the items in those budgets that made northerners very happy.
First, the large increase in the northern allowance in the 2016 budget helped to cover the high cost of living in the north. Sometimes a jug of milk in the high Arctic can cost three, four, or five times what it does down south, as an example. All sorts of things cost more, so this big increase in the northern allowance was very welcome to help keep talented people in the north and to help people who have lived there for generations afford a good lifestyle, raise their families, and provide good clothing and food for their children.
What helped with that immensely, of course, was the Canada child benefit. There was a big increase, especially for low-income families with children. We can imagine the incredible task of a single mother in the north, with these high costs, trying to raise her children. This non-taxable child benefit has gone a long way and has been a big help in the north.
It is the same for all categories of people. There is the OAS supplement, which helps the poorest of seniors. There is the increase in student grants for low-income students and the doubling of student jobs for the summer. These measures all help people, especially people who need it the most, in the north.
In my riding of Yukon, the two biggest private sectors are mining and tourism. Mining, of course, has been the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product since the great Klondike gold rush, the greatest gold rush in the world. It is very important.
In recent years, mineral exploration has been very important to our economy. We worked hard to encourage the Minister of Natural Resources, who was a very strong advocate, to extend the mineral exploration tax credit for another year. This is a 15% tax credit. A lot of the mining activity in the Yukon at the moment is exploration, and probably a vast majority of it would not occur without this tax credit. This is instrumental and a huge help to the people of the Yukon.
The second-biggest sector is tourism. Sometimes it is the biggest employer, for the number of people in the Yukon. It is a bigger part of our gross domestic product than it is in any other province or territory. When there were cuts in recent years, it hurt us more than anyone else.
We were delighted to hear the recent announcement of $2 million for marketing and television ads for Yukon tourism as well as $1 million for the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, because a lot of people who come to the north really want the authentic experience of first nations tourism products and services. The Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, in budget 2017, would be given $8.6 million for indigenous tourism activities.
The prime marketing agency for Canada, Destination Canada, got an increase last year, a desperately needed increase after many years of cuts, of $37.5 million to help market Canada around the world. We are delighted that this increase would be made permanent in budget 2017.
We have a curious situation in the Yukon, where we have jobs available without people, and we have people without jobs. The reason is that people need training. There are jobs available, but people are not trained to take some of those jobs. We were very happy to see that budget 2017 included $14.7 million for the three territories for basic adult education. Whenever a person gets out of high school or college and needs more education to get into the trades or the professions, this money is instrumental. We are delighted that it has been carried on.
There would also be $90 million to help indigenous students in post-secondary education and $50 million more for the ASETS program, which is skills development for first nation people across Canada.
Another item that is instrumental in the north and in my riding is housing. I was an early member of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition. For years, affordable housing has been one of our highest priorities, so we are very delighted that budget 2017 would have $11.2 billion for a national housing strategy. On top of that, Yukon specifically would get $24 million.
Also important to the workforce, particularly to get women into the workforce, are more child care spaces, and we are very happy with the $7 billion nationally to help create more child care spaces.
Like everywhere else, we have had a number of Canada 150 projects going on this year, which are very exciting. I have also announced a number of seniors projects, which were very well received.
There would be $25.6 million for the territorial health investment fund to help us with the unique challenges of health in the north, and $89.9 million for indigenous languages, which, again, are very important in my riding. There would also be extra money for mental health for indigenous people.
I just made an announcement about indigenous youth and sport and the aboriginal games.
The Yukon government also gets a transfer from the federal government, and this would be the biggest transfer in history, with a $24.9-million increase over last year. There would be an increase of $.8 million in the Canada health transfer and of $.3 million in the Canada social transfer over last year.
We are also delighted to get the new judge we asked for. We have only two federal Supreme Court judges. One is taken up with a major murder case. The other has the routine proceedings every week. A lot of civil cases were backlogged, so we are delighted that this is in the budget.
The increases for Parks Canada are also very important in my riding. Green technology support is very important across the country to help the transition to renewables.
I was in Washington a few weeks ago with the leader speaking at a conference of northern leaders from across North America, Alaska, the three Canadian territories, and Greenland. The two things needed for development were more infrastructure and more affordable energy.
The municipalities and territorial governments were delighted about the large transfers for infrastructure. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time left to go through it all in detail. There is the trade and transportation corridor, $10 billion for the Building Canada fund, all sorts of projects for water, waste water, recreation, roads, bridges, and transit. We already have some buses from the transit fund.
There is social infrastructure, green infrastructure, and Internet infrastructure. Northern and rural infrastructure would get $2 billion. I cannot remember a time in history when any government has put that much emphasis on Canada's rural north and come up with a fund of $2 billion for infrastructure. The north is eligible for all these other infrastructure funds. It is on a plus basis, not on a per capita basis, where we get almost nothing. We are delighted that we get a base amount.
There is money for first nations to get infrastructure to protect them from climate change. It is very forward thinking.
The other area I mentioned from the conference is affordable energy for the north. We are delighted that there would be $21.4 million to get northern indigenous communities off diesel, as many of them are on diesel, and $400 million for an Arctic energy fund.
All these items are great for the economy of the north, the environment of the north, and most importantly, the people of the north, because when there are strong, healthy, engaged people who have their culture supported, we are going to have a strong northern part of Canada, which is important for all of us.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-05-09 15:51 [p.10976]
Madam Speaker, investing in infrastructure is particularly important for the north, but also for all Canadians. I think members can imagine, if they have not had the personal experience, what it is like to be without a job. They go home and tell their kids that they have to move, because they cannot pay the rent, or they have to sell the house. The kids say, “Where are we going to live?” The parents say, “We don't know.” Perhaps the other kids are going on a skating trip or to a swimming pool, and the parents cannot afford to give them the money, or it is Kraft Dinner again tonight. There cannot be much in life that is harder than not having a job to support one's family.
Economists have explained that one of the best government investments to create jobs is through infrastructure, in the north in particular. Where southern Canada has had infrastructure for over a century, such as ports and roads, in the north, a lot of our communities have no access by road. People can imagine the cost of food if it has to go in by boat and air. It is incredibly costly. That is why the trade corridor is so important. Our wealth of resources cannot get out if there are no roads or infrastructure, so it is very important.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2016-11-14 15:20 [p.6688]
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to start the debate today on Bill C-29.
Rather than getting into the technical tax elements of it, I would like to go on about my riding. People know from when I spoke about the budget previously how delighted I was at the number of things that were in it for the north. An unparalleled number of things were put in for my constituents. I could not even get to them all in a 10-minute speech and my colleagues were asking me what was left for their ridings. Nevertheless, I am very happy for everything that was received by my riding.
I will start with the huge increase to the northern allowance, from $16.50 a day to a maximum of $22 a day. This is a huge emphasis on the people of the north. We can see our northern strategy is based on helping the people of the north in a very high cost-of-living area, where poverty could easily occur. This is the type of support we need and it was wonderfully received, of course, by the people of the north.
Our two biggest sectors are mining and tourism. Mining is the biggest gross territorial product, basically, since the gold rush; and tourism is the biggest private sector employer.
In mining, we continued in the budget the mineral exploration tax credit and the flow-through share regime. These are very important, especially, for exploration companies. There may be only one or two hard rock mines operating, and they have a limited number of employees. Those mines have a product that they can get loans against and get financing against. Exploration companies really have no credit, they do not have buildings, they do not have product, and it is very hard for them to get financing.
The METC and the flow-through share regime are very important for them. I would certainly like to thank the Minister of Natural Resources for lobbying for this and the finance minister for putting it in place.
With respect to the tourism sector, my riding has the highest percentage of our gross territorial product related to tourism of any province or territory so that a cut to tourism marketing in Canada would hurt my riding more than anywhere else. That is why I am delighted with the $50-million increase to that this year.
With respect to infrastructure, once again, as everyone knows, the fact that the government planned to have the largest amount of infrastructure in history is music to the ears in our riding. First, we have kept the building Canada plan that was in place for 2014 to 2024, we have accelerated the approvals, and we added some categories such as recreation, which is very important to my communities. They really wanted to build recreation facilities out of that fund, and now they can.
At the same time, phase two of the new infrastructure funding is going on. We have already announced the entire amounts of money for projects for most of my communities for the next three years. A lot of them are based on water and waste-water improvements, which is very important infrastructure. The minister has done extensive consultation. When phase two starts, we will be able to get more money for our transit. We do have a transit system in Whitehorse and it has already received money.
The green infrastructure fund is very forward-thinking.
I have been saying for a couple of decades, and everyone I think now knows, that climate change is affecting the north more than anywhere else in the world. It was very perceptive to allow funds to be put in the budget for mitigation and for preparing infrastructure to withstand the effects of climate change, which can be seen in the foundations of our buildings, under melting permafrost, and on our highways. Those funds will be welcomed.
Another thing is the social infrastructure. I visited some of the day cares that would like to expand the number of spots. That money will be very welcomed.
Then there is affordable housing and the national housing plan. I have been on the anti-poverty coalition for years. We hope that the infrastructure bank will work; I will talk about that a bit later. The AIDEA bank in Alaska is very successful in an economy like ours.
Finally, I would like to talk about the recently announced $2 billion for rural and northern regions for roads and bridges, green infrastructure, and Internet connections. Earlier in the day today, the opposition brought up how important the regions are. This is a massive signal. It is the biggest amount of money for the region.
For all those reasons, I am very excited about the budget and its initiatives. However, I do not want to let the finance minister off that easily. I want to now morph into our wishes for the next budget, based on consultations I have had in the riding. Some of these things could already be funded under the various programs I have just mentioned.
First, homelessness and the national housing strategy is very important to the people who gave me input on the upcoming budget. Affordable housing for employers is very important. They hire people. They come to the north and cannot find affordable housing, so have to leave again.
There is the suggestion of the electrification of transport routes so electric vehicles can be used. Of course, in the cities they can plug in and recharge. Along the Alaska Highway, for instance, we could have that all electrified.
Another suggestion, which happens to also be eligible and already announced, is the retrofit of old buildings and higher standards for new buildings.
Renewable energy of course is something people in my riding want to invest in, and it is a big part of the government's plan. There is a way of storing energy in off-peak hours, so a storage mechanism is also important. Certainly, that is eligible, and there are keen proponents of that in my riding.
Also, local food production in the north, rather than shipping things thousands of miles, and funding for social enterprises are suggestions.
A redundant fibre is very important for us. The Yukon has one Internet line cable going in and every time a backhoe cuts a line it shuts everything down. We would like to make a loop through the Dempster Highway through Inuvik. In fact, part of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories also only access through our hub, or only have one route. This would put a redundancy in place for a lot of people in the north so they could have access similar to what we have. These would be eligible under these new infrastructure programs, and I hope their funding is included.
We have one area where a hydro line needs to be replaced. We could go to several mines that would otherwise use LNG, and they would then contribute to greenhouse gases.
The IT sector is flourishing in the north now, because we do not need to transport heavy things. It is all done over the lines. We certainly appreciate the support for that.
We want the mining supports that I talked about earlier to continue. We would like the tourism marketing supports to continue. We would like support for business incubators. Once businesses have started, in many ways they have a record and they can get financing. They have partners, but when they are first starting up the costs for mentoring and cheap infrastructure, just getting going, is a hard part in the life cycle of a small business. We would like to support that.
There is room to support IRAP. It has been an incredible program for the last three decades at least. It is very instrumental for innovation. We would like to continue with that.
I said about 20 years ago, we need research in the north, by the north, and for the north. We have great research up there. We would like that to continue.
Yukon College has a plan, with the other three northern colleges, to take adults who may not be literate and upgrade them to the next stage. It is about $56 billion for the three colleges that cover half of northern Canada. That would be a great project to fund in the new budget.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2015-12-11 13:47 [p.316]
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member on her speech. As an anti-poverty member of the association and founder in our area, a lot of things rang true with me.
I will ask my question first, and the member can think of it while I finish my comment.
My question goes back to infrastructure. There are different ways of delivering infrastructure, some of which municipalities, provinces, and territories like more than others. I wonder what her comments are on the best way to deliver infrastructure.
On poverty, I am happy and excited about our platform. We will keep the promises to reduce the age for OAS back to 65. We are going to increase the OAS. We are going to improve the Canada pension plan. We are going to build more housing for seniors, and there are huge amounts for home care. At the other end of the spectrum, the poorest of the poor, we will be dealing with the homeless with the biggest influx of housing infrastructure in history. For our children, of course, probably the most important of all, nine out of ten families will be helped by the biggest child benefit in history, which will take 300,000 children out of poverty.
I think we would agree on that, but I will ask my question on infrastructure delivery.
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