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Yukon MP Larry Bagnell

Speech will pay off for North, MP says

Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne includes commitments that will benefit the Yukon and the North in general, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said following the address.

By Whitehorse Star on September 24, 2020

Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne includes commitments that will benefit the Yukon and the North in general, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said following the address.

Bagnell told the Star the throne speech is for all Canadians, so when it mentions food security for Indigenous people, it includes the Yukon.

The commitment in the throne speech to provide a federal team to assist with COVID-19 testing in remote communities and areas that do have the ability, includes the Yukon, he said.

Bagnell said promises to ramp up the battle against climate change, include the Yukon.

“There is a lot of items related to climate change which a lot of Yukoners understand because it is hurting us,” said the veteran MP of 15 years.

Bagnell pointed out the throne speech promises to exceed Canada’s 2030 reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions identified in the Paris Accord.

The government will introduce legislation committing the country to zero emissions by 2050, he said.

He said while the target has been there, it’s never been legislated.

Subsidy programs to help businesses and individuals hit by the pandemic have been extended, he pointed out.

Bagnell said the speech specifically mentions assistance for the extremely hard-hit tourism sector, which includes the travel and regional airline industry, hospitality and arts and culture.

Tourism, he said, means more in the Yukon than in many other jurisdictions because of its substantial contribution to the territory’s economy.

Gov.-General Julie Payette delivered the Speech from the Throne Wednesday afternoon in Senate chambers on behalf of the Liberal government.

Bagnell watched the delivery from his office in Whitehorse. Because of the social distancing requirements, each political party was only permitted to invite a couple of MPs to be present in the Senate chambers to hear the speech.

Even under normal circumstances, most MPs watch throne speeches from their offices in Ottawa, as there is limited room in the chambers, he said.

Bagnell said he doesn’t know when he’ll return to Ottawa given the state of affairs with COVID-19, and particularly the number of cases in the country’s capital.

Parliamentary business for the foreseeable future will be conducted through Zoom, he pointed out.

Bagnell said he believes the confidence vote on the speech by all four parties will be held next week.

The MP said he hasn’t given any thought as to whether he would seek re-election if the opposition parties defeat the minority government in the vote, and force another election.

The Conservative Party has already said it will not be supporting the speech and the Bloc Québécois has given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a week to make changes.

Political pundits, however, are suggesting there is enough in the throne speech to win the support of the NDP, such as the renewed proposal to bring in a national pharmacare program.

The Yukon’s MP said throne speeches do not typically speak to specifics but rather lay out the general direction the government intends to take, and the objectives it hopes to achieve.

The speech, for instance, says: “To keep building strong communities, over the next two years the government will also invest in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy-efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, and affordable housing, particularly for Indigenous peoples and northern communities.”

Bagnell said the speech commits to extending the wage subsidy programs for businesses from the end of the year to next summer.

It will be particularly helpful for the Yukon as many businesses here are in dire straits and would have faced bankruptcy without it, he said.

Bagnell said the speech notes the importance of sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.

“I lobbied to make sure, and the before- and after-school child care was not forgotten,” said the MP, whose two children are in after-school day care.

“The government also remains committed to subsidizing before- and after-school program costs,” says the speech.

“With the way that this pandemic has affected parents and families, flexible care options for primary school children are more important than ever.”

While the federal government has already been focused on providing rural communities with renewable energy options to reduce their dependency on diesel generation, the throne speech re-reaffirms the continuing commitment, he said.

The speech, he said, speaks to the importance of working with its partners to address food security, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis partners.

While the Liberal government has been criticized for not tackling the rising national deficit due to COVID-19 assistance, the speech clearly states this is not the time to start cutting back on much-needed financial assistance to help Canadians get through the pandemic.

“This is not the time for austerity,” says the speech. “Canada entered this crisis in the best fiscal position of its peers. And the government is using that fiscal firepower, on things like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, so that Canadians, businesses, and our entire economy have the support needed to weather the storm.”

Bagnell noted critics calling for financial restraint never come out and say just what they’d do, where they would makes the cuts, or where they would show restraint.

It’s fundamentally important to keep the economy going, to help keep Canadians working because without them, there’d be fewer taxpayers, fewer contributing to the health of the country, he said.

Comments (11)

Up 1 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Sep 30, 2020 at 7:30 pm

I can let it go now. Larry is done. Over done in fact. Next election? Good bye.

Up 20 Down 7

Jake The Bosun on Sep 25, 2020 at 3:17 pm

The reality, harsh as it is, is that Obi is right and Nathan is typical.

Up 41 Down 7

Max Mack on Sep 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

"This is not the time for austerity."

The Liberals under Trudeau have been fire-hosing money anywhere and everywhere in their desperation to gain UN approval and get re-elected. The deficit and level of debt under Trudeau and his pals Bagnell, Silver and Curtis have reached unprecedented levels that will take many years - perhaps a generation - to recover from.

And here they are promising to spend even more.
Every imaginable tax will be raised and money will be stolen from every fund to pay for this grotesque largesse.

Up 45 Down 9

Matthew on Sep 25, 2020 at 6:30 am

Bagnell told the Star the throne speech is for all Canadians, so when it mentions food security for Indigenous people, it includes the Yukon.
LOL ! Did he just say that? So I don't get this identity politics.. everyone else but white folk gets special treatment with the liberal government.. a government that claims to be all about equality and transparency. .

Up 13 Down 34

Nathan Living on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Obi Obi what a rant.

Sure we need mining and oil and gas but it's time to change.
Sure it's China and India but let's clean our own nest and make it better for our grandchildren.
Food security here for both beef and veggies and potatoes is doable.
Stop running politicians down or better yet put your hat in the ring.

Let's step back and make Yukon a better place.

Up 23 Down 9

Jc on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:03 pm

Obi, I'd give you 11 thumbs up, if I had them. Good comment. And so true.

Up 32 Down 8

Jc on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:01 pm

What a crock. This was a pre election speech and Bagnell knows it. But don't expect the truth here. He is just relating what his boss told him to.

Up 35 Down 10

drum on Sep 24, 2020 at 7:31 pm

Just taking his pay cheque every two weeks and protecting his pension. He did not not miss any pay cheques during this terrible time when Canadians lost their jobs, got evicted from their homes, had no future. He sat in the Yukon and received his paycheque every two weeks. Did anyone see him over the last eight months?????

Up 10 Down 27

billpolonsky on Sep 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Thank all the gods we have adults in office who know the value of keeping our society together.

Up 52 Down 17

TMYK on Sep 24, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Larry doesn't want to be in Ottawa because he knows that there will very likely be an election soon when this joke of a throne speech is voted down. It has become very apparent that the only reason Trudeau prorogued parliament was because of the many investigations into his dealing with the WE Foundation amongst others.

Up 70 Down 20

Obi on Sep 24, 2020 at 2:17 pm

I think Grizzly Adams is delusional..
Let me know how your subsidized Electric Tesla does at 40 below Larry.
"Yukoners know about climate change because it is hurting us." Oh really, and how is that?
Why not jump on a plane with Sandy, and your empty suit drama teacher leader, and fly to Beijing, pound on the chairman's door and demand he stops polluting the world. If you don't get locked up never to be seen again, you can fly to India and do the same thing. Apply blame where it belongs, and will do some good, instead of guilt tripping Yukoners about causing climate change.
Where in the throne speech is mining or oil and gas mentioned? Nowhere.
All your fluffy, unicorn feel good plans won't put people to work, or raise the taxes needed to pay for the magic weed ideas you propose.
And food security for indigenous people? What a shame our indigenous people no longer know how to hunt and fish, and now rely on settler food to exist.
All in all, it is obvious as usual, that the Liberals are masters at spending money, but don't have a clue how to create money to pay for everything.

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