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Results: 1 - 15 of 45
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 10:30 [p.7023]
Madam Speaker, I always appreciate the words of the member. She is very helpful, especially related to our Porcupine Caribou herd, which I will mention later. I thank her for clarifying the omnibus bill. All budget implementation acts are omnibus bills because they have to deal with so many bills and departments.
To clarify, there are $1 billion for tourism. It is $500 million directly to tourism, $100 million to marketing and $400 million to tourism events such as festivals and museums. On top of the existing support programs that are being extended, there is $700 million for business financing and expansion of the small business financing program.
I wanted to thank the member for her great support over the years for the protection of the Porcupine Caribou herd that has so much effect on the Gwich'in people. Hopefully, she supports the $24 million for pan-Arctic scientific research through the polar continental shelf program, which many MPs might not know of, but is very important—
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 11:48 [p.7033]
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member two questions and she can pick which one she would like to comment on.
The first is that we have a huge digital economy in Yukon. There is a large investment in this budget to help businesses transform to the modern digital economy. People have not talked much about that. Does the member think this is important?
The second is that Quebec has had great experience with hydro. Our mining people asked for more hydro support for electric planning and transmission in the budget, which they received. Does she think the money for hydro in the Arctic, in the north and in Yukon is helpful and beneficial?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 12:51 [p.7042]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things that has not been mentioned too much in this debate, at least not at all today, is the benefits in the budget for NGOs and charities.
This does not often show up in a budget, at least not to this great of an extent. There is a community services recovery fund of $400 million; $220 million for the social finance fund, which is exciting and new; $50 million for investment readiness for social financing, which had expired and is now being refunded; the opening up the Canada small business financing to NGOs and charities; and studying an exciting new concept of social bonds.
Does the member support these types of supports for charities and NGOs? I always enjoy listening to the member, so I definitely wanted to comment.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 16:43 [p.7078]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I are both on the international committee representing the Arctic nations together. We have a great working relationship, and I always appreciate hearing from him. We work very well together.
He started out by explaining that many businesses and individuals are on the verge of bankruptcy, so I assume he supports the items in the budget. He mentioned that he supports the extension of the wage subsidy, the rent subsidy, the lockdown subsidy and the RRRF. I assume he also supports the extension of the flexible access to EI for another year and the Canada recovery benefit to September 25, adding another 12 weeks. Then there are brand new programs on top of these extensions: $1 billion for tourism, $700 million to support business financing, improving the Canada small business financing program and enhancing the low-income workers benefit to help all the people in these dire situations.
Is there any one of those items that the member does not support?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 17:16 [p.7083]
Mr. Speaker, just so the member knows, Destination Canada is now supporting domestic marketing. I am glad he has called for supporting tourism. There is $500 million for a special tourism relief fund, another $700 million for small business financing and another $100 million for Destination Canada so we can get ready to market Canada. I am also glad the member mentioned the carbon tax and that the Conservatives are putting that forward.
The member said there is all sorts of unfortunate, unneeded funding in this budget. Could the member go over the funding that he thinks is not necessary and not needed for supporting businesses and individuals? That would be interesting to hear.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 17:34 [p.7085]
Madam Speaker, a lot of people in this debate have been very constructive, coming up with good ideas and good criticism, so I would like to ask the member this.
In a 700-page document with hundreds of items that support businesses and individuals, of all the members in the House, the former finance critic should be able to analyze what he supports and, to be fair, what is good in it. Could the member enumerate some of the positive things in the budget?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 18:32 [p.7093]
Madam Speaker, I am coming to you from the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
When I saw this was to be debated this afternoon, I thought I would like to add a few personal comments, because the issue of people's pensions has always been a point of passionate interest for me. In fact, over the years, I was aghast to learn that people could actually lose their pensions. I do not know if people who are in their golden years and live on pensions like the OAS, the Canada pension plan, or their company plan or a government plan think that those could all of a sudden partially or fully not be there. I do not think anyone ever thinks about that. I was aghast to find out that people could lose the pensions they had worked for all their life. I assume they have planned their life around living on those pensions when they are no longer able to work.
For years, I have been hearing from people who worked for Nortel. They lost their pension years ago, and must be in a terrible situation now.
The previous speaker outlined, in great detail, how this was a very complex legislated area and he outlined a number of positive steps the government had taken. It helped to enhance retirement security through the Budget Implementation Act, 2019 when it added balanced changes to the BIA, the CCAA, the Canada Business Corporations Act, the CBCA, and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, the PBSA. These changes followed national consultations with companies, labour groups, pensioners, experts and the general public. Therefore, along with those changes and the consultations, which the previous member mentioned, these are all steps in the right direction. In fact, I was really delighted when the government was able to work with the unions and make a deal with the provinces and territories to expand the Canada pension plan, which again is sustenance for people who otherwise would not have it or have access to it.
However, there are still situations where there are problems. What I want people to think about, whether this gets to committee or other forums, is how we solve the problem of protecting the money people and their company have put into a pension fund. People plan to retire on that money. They plan to use that to buy food or pay for heat in their senior years. I am not an economist or a pension expert so I do not know exactly how that would be done.
If hard-working people are putting aside contributions to a pension fund through their company, there should be some way to protect that. I do not know if that might mean legally requiring that money be put in a different bank account or an institution and it cannot be taken out. I am looking for an answer to the problem. Whether this bill is the answer or not, I do not know, but I certainly think this discussion has to occur.
That is why I am glad this concept is before Parliament. If that money were legally required to be separated, then I am not sure we would be debating this issue today. I think this has been debated at times in the past.
The Conservative speaker mentioned there were a number of solutions to this problem and that is all I am looking for, is a solution to this problem.
The NDP acknowledged what the Conservatives were saying in that this will change the financial situation and the financial systems. It would for secured creditors. Certainly, we have to look at a different system.
We want Canadian businesses to thrive. We want them to be competitive in the global world. I think the point was brought up earlier in the debate that we have to consider how to keep our companies competitive with those around the world because that is what our companies are competing with in this modern connected world. That is an important consideration as we determine a solution that must be found for this problem.
When the system is set up with rules in place so pensions are somehow protected, those people starting and running companies will know that right from the very beginning. Their business plans will be structured on that. Their financing will be structured on that, so there will be no surprises, and the business could move on under whatever those rules are.
A point was made about struggling companies and certainly, whatever the solution is, it has to make sure as much as possible that companies can be helped when they are getting close to insolvency. We want to keep them in place so there are still jobs for the workers. The solutions to that should not be the life savings of hard-working people. That should not be the solution to keeping a company solvent so people have jobs.
They have to find other methods to deal with the restructuring and keeping companies solvent, making sure they can get adequate financing, but it should not be on the backs of people who have worked their entire lives to support their families. When they get to a few years of rest and retirement, they should be able to have that support.
I am looking for whatever solution can be found for that. The problem still exists. Government has made very good progress toward improving the situation, but it needs to be completely improved so people's pensions will always be there.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-10 18:07 [p.6987]
Mr. Speaker, the member made the good point that we are supposed to be discussing the Canada Elections Act in case there is an election at any time. Does he not think it is ironic that the Conservatives are distracting us from that, as they have voted numerous times in the last few weeks, along with the Bloc, to have an election?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-06 10:34 [p.6761]
Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy listening to the hon. member. Often, budgets do not have a lot for NGOs and charitable organizations. As I have done a lot of work in that area, I am very pleased that there are a number of items for them in this budget, which I hope the member supports. They include the community services recovery fund of $400 million; the Canada community revitalization fund of $400 million; the $220-million social finance fund, which is a very creative way of funding socially progressive businesses; and a second tranche for the investment readiness program because the first $50 million ran out. We are also looking at the inventive idea of government social impact bonds and making NGOs and charities eligible for the SBF.
I was very pleased that those were in the budget, and I hope the member was as well.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-06 12:43 [p.6780]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his speech and agree with a number of things. I would like to thank him for supporting science, as well as Telesat and Starlink. I think we have licensed Starlink and we have provided millions to Telesat for exactly what he has asked for.
Also, I am delighted that he raised mental health; it has been a huge priority for our government. As members know, we made the first-ever agreement with the provinces and territories and there is money in this budget for it. I appreciate his support for that.
I am glad he raised the census. I hope every Canadian out there fills it out. I did mine. It took about 10 minutes.
I want to ask him about infrastructure. I am glad he supported that. We have provided more money to that than any government in history. Last summer, one could not go to a community in my riding where the roads were not dug up to deal with sewer, water or paving. It is a great way to inspire the economy.
He listed some great projects. I wonder if he has checked with his province on the approval of those, because the provinces decide which projects get approved—
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-06 13:42 [p.6789]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for acknowledging the first woman finance minister in history presenting this amazing budget.
Earlier in the debate, it was said that within four days we provided huge liquidity to help small businesses and provide mortgage relief for people who needed it and I would ask if he agrees with that. I am glad he supported infrastructure because record amounts are flowing across the country and economists say that is the best way to inspire the economy.
The member made a point about the debt. I wonder what items he would not spend money on to reduce the debt that he talked about.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-04-13 12:35 [p.5493]
Mr. Speaker, you are doing a wonderful job, as always, in the Speaker's chair.
I would just like to say I am coming from the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
When I heard there was a bill coming up with some of the content here, I was really supportive of it. I asked if I could speak to it to show my support. There are five items from my riding, my area or my perspective over the years, which I am very supportive of.
First, the reduction of overrepresentation of indigenous people in our jails. Parliament has wrestled with this for a long time, trying to come up with solutions to this. Two parties have already mentioned in this debate that roughly 5% of people in Canada are indigenous, yet they make up about 30% in federal jails.
Second, I would like to see movement towards the success Portugal has had in its dealings related to drugs as a health issue.
Third, the bill would make society safer, and I will go into the reasons why.
Fourth, it will lower costs for government. Almost every member of Parliament has ideas where that saved money could be spent, or it could pay down the debt.
Finally, it will reduce the number of victims.
I will explain how the three elements of the bill would do this, from my perspective. I have not written these down in a speech. I have just scratched out some points to make.
First, on the mandatory minimums and the effect on indigenous people and racialized people in our justice system. A large number of those particular people are in jails because of offences that have mandatory minimums.
Second, related to mandatory minimums—
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-04-13 12:38 [p.5494]
Mr. Speaker, I did forget that and I thank the member.
I will now go to the three main elements of the bill and explain how they would fill the objectives of which I am supportive. I mentioned the unbalance of people in federal institutions. Certain mandatory minimums have also been found unconstitutional because they are excessive. They do not reasonably match the crime and the criminal with the punishment. People can get off unreasonably and I do not think others would want that if that happened.
Another item related to the mandatory minimums is it leads to longer trials and often more cases end in acquittals, that many would not have occurred if people were not facing an unreasonable option as an end result. Another reason, from my perspective, is for first-time offenders on minor offences. The evidence has shown that often it is less safe and has less positive results when first-time offenders are put in jail as opposed to some of the alternatives like diversion and other types of programs and treatments.
We are all social animals. If people do not think they are, they can try to go against their own political party members on a particular issue.
I call jail the university of crime. If we put people in jail for the first time, they will learn from the people they deal with every day, and they will learn from every day on how to become more hardened criminals, rather than from dealing with their problem.
Some people say that putting criminals in jail makes communities safer. It does not if they are making more hardened criminals. The point people neglect to mention when making that case is that virtually almost everyone gets out of jail, so we want them safer when they get out and we want them rehabilitated.
Another reason to remove some mandatory minimums is that we cannot really trump other provisions of the justice system, like the Gladue provisions and other such provisions on racialized reports, by having a mandatory minimum. There is a conflict there. A number of people from various parties have raised the fact that it limits a trained judge from the individual tailoring of a sentence to the severity of the crime and the background of the criminal.
The second major item in the bill is related to the greater use of conditional sentences. For people who want evidence-based policy and legislation, it has been proven time and time again that people are far less likely to reoffend if they have the appropriate rehabilitation. A conditional sentence can be very hard with the treatment that can be assigned with it. It is not easy for someone, but it is much more effective.
I remember when we were dealing with this and debating it about 10 years ago. A big supporter of this was Conservative Senator Vern White, who had been the police chief in Whitehorse and then in Ottawa. At that time, recidivism rates were around 40% to 60%, and the conditional sentencing rates were 10% to 30%. Much progress has been made in many cases.
I appreciate the Bloc's view on this from the experiences it has had in Quebec with diversion, conditional sentences and other forms of dealing with people, especially young offenders. I remember in February 2001, Michel Bellehumeur from Berthier—Montcalm was really passionate about this. In fact, I think he spent most of his term in the House of Commons passionately making that case about more appropriate treatment of people. In that case, it was young offenders, but also more progressive and successful treatment of first-time offenders.
Also, I want to clarify what some have talked about with respect to safety and conditional sentencing. Once again, that is only allowed if the person is not a “danger to society ”, which is the term for use by the judge and only for a sentence that is less than two years. There have been a number of successful stories of women who were not put in jail, but were given conditional sentences to stay with their family and their social network, and go to treatment.
The third element of the bill relates to the possession of drugs. In the majority of crimes, people are either on substance or are trying to get money for a substance, including alcohol. Therefore, I personally would move more toward what Portugal is doing. It is a step in the right direction. If people have an addiction, the last thing they need is a criminal record. It is harder for them to get a job, which is what may have caused the addiction in the first place, to feed their family, etc.
Finally, the federal economic statement, which I hope we will be voting on this week, has support for some of the items that people have mentioned, such as support for the Gladue report, the race and cultural assessments and community justice centres, all of which can deal with the root causes and the situations people are in. From my perspective, this is a move in the right direction on a number of fronts to make it safer, to reduce the number of victims, to reduce the costs and to have a fairer justice system.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-04-13 12:46 [p.5495]
Mr. Speaker, the bill does deal with them, but unfortunately only once they are in the system. Then we try to ensure they do not go back into the system.
The member is exactly right. We have lobbied and made the case for years that we have to deal with the root causes as to why people come into the system in the first place. That is why we have the biggest housing fund in Canadian history. It all starts with housing first. If people do not have a home, how can they deal with other problems, such as addictions or anything else that might lead them into the justice system?
That is why we have increased the homelessness programs. I think we have more than doubled those. We have increased money for mental health, because a number of people in the mental health system end up in hospitals or jails when there should be mental health supports. That is why we have increased the special contributions to every province and territory for mental health. It is why we have supported indigenous and other cultures to ensure they are included in our policies and laws so they do not feel disjointed, which could add to them getting into the criminal justice system.
All these items relating to poverty and addiction need to be dealt with to reduce the root causes. Then we would not need to have a major debate like this.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-04-13 12:49 [p.5495]
Mr. Speaker, I do not think we should let the perfect be the enemy of moving forward, of having some success. We have to take steps. This is a move in exactly that direction. It will reduce some. I would like to move as far as Portugal has.
As the member very appropriately said, it is a health issue. A majority of crimes in Canada are caused by someone with an addiction or someone raising money to support an addiction. That is where the support needs to be to deal with that. It is not a criminal issue. Criminalizing people with addictions just accentuates the problems that would put them in jail. I agree.
It is a move in that direction, maybe not as far as some people want, but we have to take as many steps and opportunities as we can to move in that direction.
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