Bagnell did little as MP to help address FASD

Bagnell did little as MP to help address FASD I read with great surprise that Larry Bagnell has told Yukoners that he was working on "similar legislation" to my Bill C-583 before he left Parliament. Eleven years is a long time to be "working" on someth

I read with great surprise that Larry Bagnell has told Yukoners that he was working on “similar legislation” to my Bill C-583 before he left Parliament.

Eleven years is a long time to be “working” on something. Of course, the truth is, he wasn’t working on a bill to deal with FASD anymore than he was working on running the Boston Marathon.

This isn’t the first time he has claimed to be working on something for his own shameless self-promotion. This time, however, I decided to verify the facts.

In 11 years as Yukon’s former member of Parliament, Larry tabled five bills before the House of Commons. None of them passed, and none of them had anything to do with FASD.

In fact, during the 37th and 38th sessions of Parliament (2000-2005) when Larry was on the government side, he didn’t even introduce – let alone pass – a single piece of legislation.

Larry claims to have been in discussion with “groups” about FASD legislation, and indeed may have been. Trouble is, after 11 years, Yukon citizens expect and deserve that talk to lead somewhere, and with Larry, it didn’t.

Larry told me that the “technical aspects” of a bill like mine hadn’t been worked out in time for him to table any piece of legislation. That also isn’t true, the Canadian Bar Association had proposed a draft copy of the legislation ready in 2010. Furthermore, Larry could have initiated legislative drafting at any point during his 11 years on his own, but didn’t.

In 11 years Larry entered debate about fiddle playing (yes…fiddle playing) in the House of Commons 18 times, beluga whales 87 times, and FASD nine times. It’s less than he mentioned fiddle playing.

The next time Larry tells you he was “working on something,” it might be worth your time to ask him to prove it. As the election looms, I know Larry will continue to offer more criticisms than ideas, dodge the tough questions, and shamelessly attempt to take credit for work he has not done.

In three short years, I have been able to table an important piece of legislation. I leveraged its significance to have it expedited to committee and I broadened the focus of the study so it will lead to concrete and measurable action on FASD. I have worked closely with stakeholder groups, organizations, and individuals who care deeply about improving the lives of people living with FASD and who work tirelessly to help prevent it.

I look forward to the justice committee study ahead, which passed in the House of Commons by a vote of 236 to 32. Despite every Liberal member voting against advancing this vital study, I will ensure FASD remains at the forefront of the governments agenda, and my record will demonstrate that clearly.

Ryan Leef

Member of Parliament, Yukon

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