Updates

Emergency debate on Alberta jobs crisis refused by Speaker

For Immediate Release 

November 23, 2016, Ottawa - Earlier today, Tom Kmiec, Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard gave the Speaker of the House of Commons written notice to move the adjournment of the House to trigger an emergency debate on the jobs crisis in the Alberta energy sector, pursuant to Standing Order 52.

MP Kmiec expressed his disappointment; “This is about respect for Alberta families and workers who are being ignored. It is easy for politicians in Ottawa to ignore the suffering in Alberta; too easy. An emergency debate is a must for the issues affecting our constituents to be heard and placed on the national agenda.”

In the past, emergency debates have been granted on softwood lumber job losses on November 1, 2001, on the fisheries industry on April 28, 2003, and on the livestock industry on February 13, 2008.

Albertans today are facing the worst economic headwinds in several generations and the impact of the Alberta recession goes far beyond its provincial borders. With over 122,000 energy workers out of work since the oil crash, province-wide unemployment sits at 8.5%, while Edmonton’s unemployment is at 6.9% and Calgary’s is climbing unabated, hitting 10.2% in October.

1 in 9 Calgarians are now using food banks with Alberta experiencing a usage increase of 60% since the beginning of the downturn. The vacancy rate for commercial lease space is climbing to record highs of 30% and this year over 11,000 businesses have failed or moved in Calgary.

-30- 

Media Contact: Jeff Park, Constituency Assistant

Tel: (403) 462-7871

E-mail: tom.kmiec.C1@parl.gc.ca

Official Photos: Available Upon Request

 

MP Kmiec’s Speech in House Today

“Mr. Speaker, I wrote to you to press for an emergency debate on the jobs crisis in the Alberta energy sector pursuant to Standing Order 52.

    Albertans are facing the worst economic headwinds in several generations. Over 122,000 energy workers have lost their jobs since the oil crash and Alberta's unemployment rate now sits at 8.5%. Calgary's unemployment rate is 10.2% and climbing unabated. In Edmonton, excluding the public sector, it is over 10%.

    The vacancy rate for commercial lease space is climbing to record highs of 30%, and this year, over 11,000 businesses have failed or moved in Calgary. This small business extinction is unlike anything we have seen in 40 years.

    A generation of young Albertans have no jobs waiting for them upon graduation. One in nine Calgarians are now using the food bank. Food bank use is up 60% across Alberta. Divorce rates are at record highs, substance abuse of fentanyl is rampant, and domestic abuse is on the rise. Our communities are suffering. Families are struggling, and a generation of young people have no career prospects.

    The impact of the Alberta recession goes far beyond its provincial borders. Pipeline manufacturers, skilled workers in Atlantic Canada, and the financial services sector in Toronto are deeply invested in the mining and energy industries.

    I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to past emergency debates granted on softwood lumber job losses on November 1, 2001 on page 6807 in the Commons Debates, and on the fisheries industry job losses on April 28, 2003 in the Commons Debates on page 5456, and finally on the livestock industry job losses on February 13, 2008 on page 3012 in the Commons Debates.

    Mr. Speaker, I humbly ask you, on behalf of Alberta families, give us a chance to be heard here on the impact of the disastrous jobs losses in the energy sector and the "knock on" effect all across Canada.”

 

View Video of MP Kmiec's Statement

 

 

 

 

 

PM skips out on opportunity to be defender of human rights in South America

Last week, the Prime Minister travelled to South America, choosing to stop in Cuba but skipping Venezuela.

Venezuelan opposition leaders are unjustly imprisoned by the Chavista regime of Maduro that receives heavy support from the Castros in Cuba.

Sky-high crime rates, vast corruption, chronic food shortages, and spiralling inflation have Venezuela on the verge of collapse. It is a beautiful country shattered by ruinous socialist economic policies and social engineering on a grand scale.

The Prime Minister has shown zero interest in promoting international human rights. That leaves us to wonder if he took the opportunity, when meeting with the Cuban president, to plead for the release of opposition leaders in Venezuela. The word “democracy” did not pass his lips at any of his public comments while in Cuba. Neither did talk of multi-party elections or calls for Cuba to let up on its harassment of democracy activists and political opposition leaders.

We will never know if this trip was about family nostalgia or a quid pro quo vote by Cuba for Canada's seat on the Security Council.

This was a missed opportunity for Canada to speak up and be counted as a defender of international human rights.

 

You can find the text of his statement in the official transcripts, the Hansard, here.

Conservatives urge Liberal Government to stand up for democratization in Latin America

 

vz_flag.jpg

 

OTTAWA, November 4th, 2016 – Last week, Venezuela’s electoral authority set aside the democratic rights of its people and suspended the next phase of a recall referendum demanded by the opposition. This decision was made in courts that are controlled by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan government has imprisoned over a hundred political prisoners for more than a year now, including Leopold Lopez, the Leader of the Opposition.

 

Canada’s Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs Tom Kmiec is deeply concerned with this sequence of events. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right,” said Kmiec. “It is a right that distinguishes the free from the oppressed and democracies from dictatorships.”

 

At the end of October, President Maduro met with Pope Francis, Sovereign of Vatican City, who urged him to negotiate with Venezuela’s opposition to solve his country’s crisis and alleviate the people’s suffering. Meeting with the opposition at the Pope’s advice, President Maduro said they must be in dialogue and search for the nation’s common interest. While his words sound promising, his actions are not and there has been no progress towards rectification by the regime.

 

The Conservative Party of Canada is calling on the government of Canada to demand the Venezuelan government release all political prisoners in a show of good faith and that they respect their citizens’ right to a referendum to recall their government. Respecting these rights is fundamental to being a democratic nation and achieving a greater level of abundance and growth in any given country.

 

“Canada needs to play a major role in the continued democratization of Latin America,” said Kmiec. “By pushing Venezuela in the direction of true democracy and away from authoritarian democratism, we can be that strong voice the people in Latin American countries look to in tough times.”

 

-30- 

 

For more information, please contact: Saro Khatchadourian | Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition | 613-314-4238

 

 

Animal Cruelty Laws and C-246

Many of my constituents have contacted me regarding Bill C-246 and Canada’s animal cruelty laws.

I share your concerns for having the proper legislation on animal cruelty in Canada. Parliament recently voted on this bill and it was defeated with 84 voting yes and 198 voting no. A combination of Liberal and Conservative Members of Parliament (MP) voted against the bill. As the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, Liberal MP Bill Blair, pointed out during the debate there were some valid concerns with this bill—that it does not include specific exemptions for lawful activities such as ranching, hunting, fishing, trapping, medical research, etc. And that is only one of the concerns.

You can find MP Blair’s speech regarding this topic here:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=Hansard&Doc=51&Parl=42&Ses=1&Language=E&Mode=1#Int-8904345

Since there were favourable aspects of the bill, Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen introduced a motion in the beginning of October asking the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to undertake a study to prepare a more appropriate animal welfare bill. The motion will require the committee look into activities such as shark finning, importation of shark fins, and sale of dog and cat fur. The motion will also require the committee look into steps required to ensure law-abiding farmers and hunters are not adversely impacted and to clarify the Criminal Code definition of bestiality because of the Supreme Court’s decision in several different cases to limit the definition.

The wording of MP Dreeshen’s motion is as follows:

 

M-76 – October 3, 2016 – Mr. Dreeshen (Red Deer—Mountain View) – That the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights be instructed to undertake a study to prepare and bring in a bill on: (a) the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. D.L.W., and steps required to clarify the Criminal Code definition of bestiality to mean any sexual activity between a person and an animal; (b) the steps required to prohibit the practise commonly known as shark finning; (c) the steps required to prohibit, without an appropriate permit, the importation of shark fins that are not attached to a shark carcass; (d) the steps required to compel the labelling of any felis catus and canis lupus familiaris skin, or felis catus and canis lupus familiaris hair or fur not removed from the skin; and (e) the steps required to ensure that law-abiding hunters and farmers are not adversely impacted; that the Committee report to the House no later than 120 days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee shall recommend the principles, scope, and general provisions of the said bill and may include recommendations regarding legislative wording; and, that the presentation of a report pursuant to this order shall be an order to introduce a bill based thereon; and that when the Member for Red Deer—Mountain View, in proposing a motion for first reading of a bill, states that the bill is in response to the recommendations contained in a report pursuant to this order, the second reading and subsequent stages of the bill shall be considered under Private Members’ Business and the bill shall be placed immediately at the bottom of the Order of Precedence of Private Members’ Business as a votable item in the name of the Member for Red Deer—Mountain View.

  

I will be supporting this motion when it comes up for a vote.

 

Thank you to all the constituents that contacted me regarding this issue.

 

Tom

Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds group meets with KRG Christian Affairs Director General

For Immediate Release
1.jpg

 

Ottawa, October 27, 2016 - Yesterday, the Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds Group hosted Khalid Jamal Alber, Director General for Christian Affairs with Kurdistan's Ministry of Religious Affairs; Malath Baythoon, an Iraqi Kurdish pastor of Erbil’s Christian Missionary Alliance Church; and John Clayton, Director of Programs with Samaritan's Purse Canada, to discuss Canada’s ongoing role to support refugees and internally displaced persons in the post-Mosul liberation as well as discuss religious minority rights across Northern Iraq.

 

“The efforts of Canadian citizens, NGOs, and churches are making a great difference to ensure that Iraq’s most vulnerable populations such as Yazidis and Christians receive support for their basic needs and aid with post-conflict effects,” said Mr. Kmiec.

 

Many of those seeking refuge in Iraq’s Kurdistan region are Christians who have been fleeing the advance of Daesh. To date the number of Christians in Iraq has decreased to 200,000 from the almost 1.8 million there in 2003. Kurdistan has been accommodating by renovating abandoned villages to house refugees with the aid from NGO’s such as Samaritan’s Purse Canada in Calgary, Alberta who has been there from the beginning of the crisis and continues to provide relief supplies and programming, focusing mostly on helping Yazidis and Christians who have been singled out for severe persecution by the IS.

 

Mr. Alber shared with the Group details of his humanitarian work in Iraq and shed some light on the current conditions of those living in the Kurdish refugee camps. Lack of consistent funding has proven to hinder relief efforts but said that Kurds have nothing but appreciation for Canadians who have contributed generously through faith based organizations and have supported the Peshmerga in their combat operations against Daesh forces.

 

The Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds is an all-party group founded in 2015 by Tom Kmiec, MP for Calgary Shepard, including parliamentarians from all parties with a focus on democratic and legislative education, consular affairs, and the promotion of peace in the Middle East.

 

-30-

For further information contact:
Jeff Park
Constituency Assistant
Telephone (403) 462-7871
E-mail: tom.kmiec.c1@parl.gc.ca
Note to Editors: Photos Available upon Request

Conservative Member’s Bill to Utilize Tax Forms to Register Organ Donors

  DSC_0568.JPG

This afternoon I seconded private member’s Bill C-316, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency (organ donors) introduced by Len Webber, Member of Parliament for Calgary Confederation. The proposed legislation would ask Canadians on their annual tax return if they consent to having their provincial or territorial government informed of their desire to be added to their organ donor registry.

This bill is a sensible, cost effective way of using an existing and legally-binding document to annually update organ donor registries. The federal government would simply be collecting vital information and passing it along in a timely manner to ensure registries are up-to-date and as comprehensive as possible. The bill would respect provincial jurisdiction and utilize existing privacy and information sharing agreements.

Canada’s organ donation rate is among the world’s worst. More than 90% of Canadians support organ and tissue donation in theory, but less than 25% have made plans to donate. Four thousand-six hundred Canadians are awaiting a transplant and this bill has the potential to save many lives.

Earlier this year the Liberal government voted down private member’s bill C-223, An Act to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry and to coordinate as well as promote organ and tissue donation throughout Canada. As I said at that time, I will never stop advocating for public policy improvements that make the lives of organ recipients and donors better. With the introduction of Bill C-316, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency (organ donors) today, I am delivering on that commitment.

In your service,

Tom Kmiec, MP

Calgary Shepard

MP Tom Kmiec Meets with Hungarian Foreign Minister

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet Union, I was pleased to meet with Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. We discussed some of the challenges facing Europe right now, such as Brexit.

Canada and Hungary stand together in defense of democracy and freedom. I look forward to working with Minister Szijjártó in the future.

MP Tom Kmiec meets with Nadia Murad, UN Ambassador on Yazidis and survivor of ISIS

 

DSC_0562.JPG

Ottawa, October 24, 2016 – Earlier today, Tom Kmiec, Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard and Conservative Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs met with Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of ISIS enslavement and UN Goodwill Ambassador as well as Murad Ismael, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Yazda, a global Yazidi organization. In 2014 Nadia was taken captive and enslaved by ISIS. After facing unimaginable brutality, she escaped.  Nadia is now a UN Goodwill Ambassador, defending the rights of religious minorities and fighting for fellow Yazidis, who are still being held captive by ISIS.

Nadia was in Ottawa to speak with a handful of MPs on the importance of voting tomorrow in favour of the Opposition Motion on Yazidi Genocide that will recognize that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidi people and support prioritizing Yazidi women, girls and children for entry into Canada as refugees within 120 days of passage.

“My meeting with Nadia was highly informative about the human rights situation facing the Yazidi people and we discussed how Canada can assist Yazidi survivors of genocide and sexual slavery. I was able to put a face to what we know is genocide and that we can in a measurable way help these women and girls with a better life in Canada” said MP Kmiec.

The Yazidi are a religious minority of around 700,000 people, concentrated in Northern Iraq, in and around Mount Sinjar and in the Nineveh Plains prior to August 2014. Yazidism is one of the oldest religions in the Middle East, dating back 6,000 years. Yazidi is “a religion, a culture, and a language”.

-30-

For further information contact:

Jeff Park        

Constituency Assistant

Telephone (403) 462-7871

E-mail: tom.kmiec.C1@parl.gc.ca

MP Tom Kmiec appointed Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic in new Shadow Cabinet shuffle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MP Tom Kmiec appointed Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic in new Shadow Cabinet shuffle

Ottawa, October 17, 2016 – Yesterday,Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, announced changes to the Shadow Cabinet as a number of its members have stepped away from their critic roles to join the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Changes include the appointment of Tom Kmiec, Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard, to the new role of Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic and the newest member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

“I would like to thank our leader, Rona Ambrose, for naming me the Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the entire Conservative Caucus to hold the Liberal government to account on issues of international affairs, including Canada’s foreign policy and development assistance” said MP Kmiec.

He continued: “In working to advance Canada’s values and interests abroad, we need to collaborate with our allies and other countries to confront challenges and contribute to international peace and security. Canada has a rich history of helping the poorest and most vulnerable and I will work to make sure that our government continues to push for the protection of religious rights and human rights."

-30-

For further information contact:

Adrian Papara

Director of Operations

Telephone (613) 222-1603

E-mail: tom.kmiec.a1@parl.gc.ca

 

Note to Editors:

Photos Available upon Request

Input for the Special Committee on Electoral Reform from Residents in the Riding of Calgary Shepard

Pursuant to the motion adopted by Parliament on June 7, 2016, and the motion adopted by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform on July 7, 2016, each Member of Parliament was invited to provide the Committee with a written report of the input from their constituents to be filed with the Clerk of the Committee no later than October 14, 2016.

Below is my letter to the Chair of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform on behalf of the constituents in Calgary Shepard.