It’s been an eventful few weeks in Canadian politics, so one would hope that Yukoners’ interests are being well represented in Ottawa by our Member of Parliament, Larry Bagnell.
Undeniably, the most prevalent issue involves protestors across the country who oppose the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline in Wet'suwet'en First Nation traditional territory, and who have brought much of our country’s essential infrastructure to a halt through an escalating series of protests.
Thankfully to date, protests in the Yukon have been peaceful and respectful, as Yukoners are known to be.
More than one such protest has occurred at our local MP’s office, where Mr. Bagnell was asked to clarify his position on the Wet'suwet'en situation but he said he was unable to comment as he was not briefed on the matter.
Is it too much to ask that our federal representative is up to speed on the single most prominent issue in Canadian politics today?
Then there was the bombshell news that Teck Resources withdrew its application for their multi-billion dollar Frontier mining project in the wake of rampant reports that federal Liberal caucus members were urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deny its approval.
Was our Liberal MP among those opposing a project that would inject tens of billions of dollars into the economy and provide benefits to affected Indigenous communities while meeting Liberal government environmental targets?
To be fair, issues at the intersection of national resource development and Indigenous rights are complex, so Mr. Bagnell and his Liberal colleagues probably don’t want to risk alienating their party’s base of non-Indigenous urbanites.
The type who believes they know better than the affected First Nation communities’ own democratically-elected leadership.
So, let’s talk about something closer to home, something that touches all Canadians: cancer.
A week or so ago, Members of Parliament debated a motion in the House of Commons that would increase sickness benefits from the current 15 weeks to 50 in cases of severe illness such as cancer.
We all know somebody who has fought this terrible disease, and what a terrible toll it can take on victims and their families, and the passage of this motion would bring some small comfort to them and help ease their burden.
Yet every single Liberal member voted against it, including Mr. Bagnell.
Why on earth would Larry Bagnell vote against helping cancer victims?
Is his loyalty to Justin Trudeau more important than the suffering of his constituents?
Thankfully, the last election saw the Liberals reduced to a minority, and as such the combined might of the opposition benches won the day and the motion passed.
One can only hope that the next election will see the Liberals expunged entirely.
Jonas J. Smith
2019 Candidate – Yukon
Conservative Party of Canada