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Larry Bagnell

Bagnell offers wise counsel to successor

After nearly two decades as MP for the Yukon, Larry Bagnell has more than a bit of advice for his successor, Brendan Hanley.

By Whitehorse Star on October 8, 2021

After nearly two decades as MP for the Yukon, Larry Bagnell has more than a bit of advice for his successor, Brendan Hanley.

Bagnell took some time last week to share some thoughts as to what Hanley can expect as an MP after he’s sworn in.

“First of all, forget about sleep,” Bagnell said bluntly.

Especially since the pandemic has struck, Bagnell said, he has had less and less time to devote to something as simple as a good night’s sleep. But then, he also has a reputation as being the hardest-working MP in the nation, as voted by his former peers.

“With Hanley, he’s been accustomed to the 24/7 grind trying to manage the pandemic,” Bagnell said. “So I’m sure he’s used to it and has created a routine that works for him.”

Bagnell, in fact, was more than willing to share a lengthy list of concepts that Hanley will learn fast enough.

He had a list of 10 points -– with sub-heads – that Hanley can expect. Some were obvious, others less so.

“Being an MP is like being a bumblebee,” Bagnell said unexpectedly. “It’s not supposed to be able to fly, but it does.

“As an MP you have so many things to do that it should be impossible, yet you do it.”

A key lesson to learn, Bagnell said, is to decide from among that infinite number of things to do what you can do.

After that, Hanley will need to find a way to explain what he can’t do, and why.

“And you need to pick your battles. You can’t do everything.

“Don’t upset people unnecessarily,” Bagnell added. “He needs to remember that people expect to be heard and listened to.

“They don’t expect you to agree with them – in fact they expect that you won’t ­– but they do expect to be heard.

“Hanley also needs to hire a good team.”

Surrounding yourself with competent people will reduce the stress of the job, he explained.

The best bet for Hanley to become comfortable in his new role, Bagnell said, is not to strive too hard to be anything more than a backbencher for at least an initial period.

There are so many rules and traditions, many of them obscure, that Hanley should welcome the chance to simply learn how to be an MP first without having to worry about additional responsibilities such as being an assistant to a minister, or being tapped to head a ministry, Bagnell said.

Learn the basics first, he stressed.

Bagnell said that will give Hanley time to try to wade through the endless mountains of documents and correspondence and briefings that comes with the job.

“But it will give you a good education in everything, and there’s a lot of expertise available to you,” he said thoughtfully. “Take advantage of it.”

Among those basics is to develop a rapport with both his Liberal colleagues and opposition MPs. Hanley is going to need support if he is to accomplish anything for the Yukon, Bagnell said.

“Don’t promise the moon, either,” he cautioned. “You can’t win everything.

“And definitely never embarrass a minister,” Bagnell stressed.

Interestingly, Bagnell also emphasized that Hanley needs to learn quickly that he can’t have direct contact with government staff in the bureaucracy.

That’s akin to exerting pressure on any given bureaucrat, which is not allowed.

“There are very complex rules for an MP,” he stressed. “I don’t think most MPs know them all.”

Bagnell’s advice to Hanley stretched to some travelling tips.

He will need to have an overnight bag permanently packed for last-minute, unexpected events.

If it can be a carry-on, that’s perfect, Bagnell recommended.

Hanley should carry two cell phones, extra chargers of different types that will be compatible with multiple plane models, and a battery backup as well. Multiple batteries aren’t a bad idea either.

“There’s a lot of travel and driving. MPs who are from the Ottawa area might have the luxury of going home for lunch, but it’s unlikely Hanley will.”

Bagnell used to spend about 12 hours on air travel to return home, which encompassed multiple airports.

Like Bagnell, Hanley has a young family, but the outgoing MP was quick to say one thing he wouldn’t offer advice on is how to balance his work and personal life.

“I won’t do that because I was terrible at it,” he said readily with wry laughter.

“He might have mastered it already, with his schedule as chief medical officer of health over the last two years.”

Bagnell has said he regrets the little time he’s had to spend with his two children.

Comments (14)

Up 16 Down 11

bonanzajoe on Oct 11, 2021 at 9:05 pm

Arnie: I sent many emails to Bagnell during his terms. He only answered two and they were ones that he liked. All the others? nada. So much for his keeping in touch with Yukoners.

Up 18 Down 9

bonanzajoe on Oct 11, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Teresa: JT put our country in a plus 1.2 billion dollar debt and 350 billion dollar deficit. And what has he to show for it? Absolutely nothing. Like I said to Bagnell, good luck with paying all this off. It's your generation's fault not mine. By the way, Seniors got absolutely nothing from his massive debt. So, who did? Can you answer that? If not to my generation, then how about coming up with an answer for the next.

Up 19 Down 31

Observer on Oct 11, 2021 at 1:34 pm

Mr. Bagnell did a very good job as our MP. The man was everywhere all the time and was approachable, never made a citizens arrest, always took time to talk to anyone and represented all Yukoners.

Up 33 Down 10

Anie on Oct 10, 2021 at 9:01 am

Years ago I worked for the government. A client thought he had been wronged. There was a clear paper trail proving otherwise, but he simply would not let us help him. He contacted Larry's office, and that office arranged a meeting with all involved. Larry was polite and impartial. He listened to everyone. He was extremely sympathetic to the man, and when we proposed some solutions, he encouraged the fellow to at least give us a chance to help him. I was not previously a fan, but I was super impressed. He did not have to give up his time to help a constituent who was clearly in the wrong, but he did. He came to the meeting sufficiently informed to participate. And he was patient. Whether people supported him or not, my experience tells me that he did indeed work very hard,

Up 28 Down 7

Sheepchaser on Oct 9, 2021 at 8:58 pm

“There are so many rules and traditions, many of them obscure”
I’d love to hear more about this. Please, tell us all about how these traditions block progress and protect the powerful. I’m all ears. Oh, those traditions helped keep you in power and helped select your heir without a choice among even your own party members? Right…

Up 20 Down 41

Teresa on Oct 9, 2021 at 12:15 pm

You and your massive ego bonanzajoe, enough said with your name. If you've been paying attention, every country in the world is in a deficit with the pandemic. You make me realize I need to step away from these news boards, so not to be such an unhappy person. You worry, fight, nitpick every aspect of everything you disagree with.

Up 36 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Oct 9, 2021 at 9:29 am

Ànd finally Branden- take some Zip-lock bags or some of those cheap plastic sealable dishes to the banquets and receptions that serve food...You`ll thank me later.

Up 39 Down 13

Guncache on Oct 8, 2021 at 7:06 pm

Don't forget free BBQ's, photo ops and holding babies

Up 49 Down 23

bonanzajoe on Oct 8, 2021 at 6:58 pm

Oh, and one more thing to Bagnell, good luck to his children in paying off the massive debt his boss JT racked up for Canada which he signed on to.

Up 46 Down 24

bonanzajoe on Oct 8, 2021 at 6:56 pm

JSM: Hard working? All he did in those years was sign on to Liberal legislation - without even reading it. He even admitted to that. Not once did he support Yukoners concerns - Re: gun legislation.

Up 43 Down 20

Wilf Carter on Oct 8, 2021 at 5:11 pm

Wow pick your battles Bagnell says. He did not pick any battle for Yukoners on housing and land development, and now look at the mess we are in.
Then you have hunters guns going to be taken away except for FNs.
Then we have major weakness in health care investment so doctors nurses are leaving by Federal Gov't.
Than you have liberals putting millions in biomass plants with no health impact on people, wild life and fish. Larry even called it green energy which is totally false or as Trudeau's school of lying calls just don't tell the truth.
Handley is just like Larry he will do what he is told by Trudeau.

Up 36 Down 19

Matthew on Oct 8, 2021 at 4:40 pm

Bull plop! I've tried to get a hold of you over urgent matters, fell onto a silent voice of Bagnell. Pathetic that elected officials can't answer questions unless it praises them..

Up 8 Down 61

JSM on Oct 8, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Although I feel for him with the children comment, if he is the hardest working MP how come the Yukon is below an afterthought? Seems a bit rich no? Hanley I'm sure will try his best.

Up 66 Down 26

joe on Oct 8, 2021 at 3:38 pm

"The best bet for Hanley to become comfortable in his new role, Bagnell said, is not to strive too hard to be anything more than a backbencher for at least an initial period." and stay that way for 20 years, now that's success!

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