Updates

Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds Launched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New Parliamentary group Kickstarts Relationship with Kurdish Community

Calgary MP Recognizes Faithful Friendship

CALGARY – March 3, 2016 MP Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard) has spearheaded the creation of a new group named “Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds”. It is intended as an all-parties caucus within Canada’s Parliament dedicated to listening compassionately to those Kurdish people dedicated to peace in Canada and abroad. The association will be holding its first meeting March 23rd in Ottawa.

            Canada and the Kurdish people share many common goals including the defeat of Daesh (also known as ISIS), stability in the Middle East, and the creation of a permanent peace. The purpose of the Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds is to work with the Kurdish community in Canada and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq on areas of mutual concern between our two societies, including greater cultural understanding, consular affairs, and helping Kurdish refugees in Canada to integrate into Canadian society.  In addition, this group will give the Kurds an opportunity to educate parliamentarians more personally on the situation in their homeland and will amplify the peaceful voices in our diplomatic process.

            Said Kmiec, “I am proud to kickstart this initiative to reach out to Canadians of Kurdish heritage. Kurds, like so many in our nation of immigrants, have provided an important voice in Canadian democracy and a strong shoulder to lift our economy. This group will serve as a forum to connect with peaceful Kurdish organizations across Canada and to connect parliamentarians with foreign officials of the Kurdish Regional Government. ”

 

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For more information, press only:

Jeff Park, 403-462-7871, tom.kmiec.c1@parl.gc.ca

Note to Editors:

Photos Available upon Request

Motion to Increase Protection for Taxpayers

For Immediate Release 

MP Tom Kmiec backs motion to study CRA duty of care to taxpayers

February 26, 2016 - Ottawa, ON – Tom Kmiec, Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard, has expressed support for a new motion that directs the Standing Committee on Finance to study and report to the House of Commons on the steps to create a duty of care owed by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) to taxpayers. The motion, introduced by Pat Kelly, Member of Parliament for Calgary Rocky Ridge, calls for the increased protection of Canadian individuals and businesses in their dealings with the CRA.

“I was pleased to second this motion brought forth by my colleague MP Pat Kelly. Canadian tax payers have the duty to make sure they file complete and honest tax returns each year and when they make a filing error they are accountable for it. Applying this same principle, it’s only right that we expect the same accountability from CRA tax auditors and assessors. If you make a mistake on your taxes, you pay for it. The same should apply to the CRA and their reassessments” said Kmiec. 

Furthermore, the motion specifically calls for amendments to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and making it legally enforceable. It also proposes empowering the CRA Ombudsman to direct the CRA to comply with Tax Court orders and official decisions.

“Although there are rare cases of gross negligence by the CRA, you have to look no further than the tax case of B.C. resident Irvin Leroux, where after a long legal ordeal and mistreatment by the CRA it was determined that he did not owe any back taxes” said Kmiec. He added “By amending the Taxpayer Bill of Rights we can ensure that the CRA takes reasonable and necessary steps to avoid frivolous, malicious and grossly negligent actions towards a taxpayer”.

Mr. Kmiec concluded by saying, “CRA, EI and immigration are among the most common cases that come across my desk when assisting my constituents. My constituents’ CRA cases tell me more needs to be done to improve the interactions between the CRA and the Canadian taxpayer.” 

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Stand Up Against Bullying

As the former registrar for the human resources profession in Alberta, I know firsthand that bullying is unacceptable in the workplace and everywhere else.

Today, Pink Shirt Day, I encourage everyone to work towards combatting bullying in all aspects of our lives.

Thanks to Shaw Communications for their contribution to this important initiative. Another great example of an Albertan company acting on its corporate values and being a good corporate citizen.

Raising Awareness of Rare Diseases

Today I had the privilege to rise in the House to recognize those Canadians who are affected by rare diseases.

“Mr. Speaker, later this month on February 29 we will mark Rare Disease Day.

The day raises awareness of the estimated 2.7 million Canadians directly affected by over 6,000 rare diseases and disorders. That’s roughly one out of every twelve persons.

75% of these diseases affect children, and 30% of those affected will die before their 5th birthday.

Speaking on behalf of a family impacted by a rare disease called Alport Syndrome, a rare genetic condition which leads to a loss of hearing and eventually kidney failure; I have seen first-hand the impact a rare disease can have on a family. I know the helplessness and the worry a parent feels when facing an incurable condition affecting their child.

I want to thank the medical professionals and researchers who everyday assist those affected by rare diseases and disorders. On February 29, I will join those making the voice of patients and families affected by rare diseases heard.”

Liberals Break Election Promises on Euthanasia Law

Today the Liberal government announced that they plan to whip the vote on the implementation of the new euthanasia law. Click here to read the full article on this decision.

This is an extremely worrying sign the Liberal government is intent on yet again breaking an election promise to hold more free votes and to raise the independence of individual Members of Parliament. At the heart of our democracy is the concept that your local representative represents your local constituency as best that they can while balancing the various viewpoints, interests, accountability they bear towards their supporters, voters, and constituents.

The Government House Leader is wrong to whip the vote. This is no longer a question on whether euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide as a policy is good or bad - the matter was settled by the Supreme Court of Canada that gave Parliament (not the Government of Canada) the direction to establish a new law on this matter in Carter v. Canada.

Parliamentarians will be voting on the details and the safeguards to be put in place to ensure that vulnerable individuals are protected. We do not yet know the wording of the legislation or the contents of the report so to jump to the conclusion that voting yes on whatever the Government of Canada proposes as a bill is immediately a charter issue is wrong. Moreover, details such as whether mature children should be included, review by competency boards instead of only physicians, cool down periods for mental health conditions, a new criminal code prohibition on physicians benefiting directly or indirectly from the procedure, and another new criminal code prohibition on non-physician performing the procedure, amongst many other considerations, must be considered, debated and voted upon.

I also believe the Government of Canada must be open to amendments during the debate and committee process to ensure the broadest range of viewpoints and safeguards are placed in the bill for the benefit of Canadians.

On page 30 of the Liberal Platform in this past election, they promised free votes except in 3 specific cases. Implementation of the Liberal platform, matters of confidence and those votes that address shared values and the protection guaranteed in the Charter. The latter is the excuse being used to compel all Liberal MPs to vote for whatever the Government of Canada proposes. It could be used for any matter before Parliament. That is a mistake and an overreach.

The Conservative Party of Canada has enshrined free votes in our party policy platform voted on by the membership. I'm proud of that and of the fact that on matters of conscience that I am allowed to weigh the will of my constituents, my conscience, and the best interests of Canada. How I weigh each part to determine my vote is how my constituents should judge me as well as my record in 2019.

The policy matter surrounding doctor assisted suicide of euthanasia was indeed settled by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the details, the way we implement this new charter right into everyday life, was not. The real work of enshrining this Supreme Court delineated right into legislation is the work of parliamentarians.

I call on the Government of Canada and the Government House Leader to reverse this decision to whip the vote on euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. Allow your MPs to study the bill carefully, weigh the safeguards, consult with their constituents and determine where their conscience takes them.

That is true democracy.

I encourage you to hold the Liberal government accountable to the promises it made to all Canadians during the election. To express disapproval of the current Liberal policy on this vote and to encourage the government to reverse its position, you can contact Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. His office can be reached at 1-613-992-1020 (Ottawa) or 1-506-533-5700 (Constituency). In addition, mail can be sent to:

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6. 
 
 

Getting the facts right on "Polish SS"

In September 2015, the book “Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada” was published by Between the Lines publishing house. In this book, authors Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner present a collection of interviews that span two centuries of refugee experiences in Canada.

One chapter in particular describes the story of Max Farber, a Polish World War II survivor who immigrated to Canada. This otherwise moving story contains, however, a glaring historical distortion regarding Poland during the Second World War. The authors misnamed members of the German Nazi paramilitary organization Schutzstaffel as “Polish SS”, which is simply not true. The term “Polish SS” implies that Poland was somehow actively involved with the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. This is absolutely false. The Polish people fought and resisted the Nazi aggressors for the entire length of the war. Even after being militarily defeated by German forces in 1939, Poles refused to bow to Hitler and continued to resist the occupiers. Tragically, Poland paid a dear price with the loss of up to 6 million of its citizens, including at least 3 million Polish-Jews.

To correct this mistake, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Canada, His Excellency Marcin Bosacki, wrote a letter on February 4, 2016, to the managing director of Between the Lines demanding the withdrawal of the current edition of the book and a public apology.

On February 10, 2016, the publisher issued a public apology on its website and had an erratum inserted into all of the unsold copies. The corrected wording will be used in all future versions and the upcoming ebook. Click here to view the apology.

As a Canadian with Polish heritage, I believe that getting the facts right on such a painful period in Poland’s history is extremely important. The Nazis brought unspeakable horrors upon European Jews and other groups of people deemed “sub-human”, including Poles. The least we can do to honour the memories of the millions of innocent lives that were lost or broken is to remember their story accurately.

Scrutiny of Regulations Committee Assignment

For Immediate Release

Calgary MP Tom Kmiec Tapped to Hold Government Accountable

Calgary Shepard MP named to Joint Standing Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations

Calgary — January 30, 2016 — Yesterday, Calgary’s Tom Kmiec was appointed by the House of Commons as one of four opposition members on the Standing Joint Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations. Despite a strong liberal showing nationally, Tom achieved the highest vote count in Calgary and the 6th highest in all of Canada.

Speech on Energy East

Today I rose in Parliament to defend Alberta and our energy and resource workers. Prime Minister Trudeau has refused to support the Energy East pipeline, a project which would help the national economic recovery and would create 14,007 direct and indirect jobs annually, including a significant number in Alberta.  We need the Prime Minister to take action, to stop taking selfies with Hollywood actors, and to start putting workers and their families first. 

 

Leadership Race

This is not a rebuild. This is a refresh.

A rebuild implies something was destroyed and while we lost the recent election, we were not routed by the Liberals. We earned the vote of 5.6 million Canadians in 2015 while in 2011 we earned 5.8 million votes. That’s a vote difference of roughly 230,000. Conservative voters are committed to the ideas we espouse and we have a strong base to continue building upon.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations A Success

Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  This agreement has been reached almost 28 years to the day after Canada concluded our first-ever free-trade agreement with another country, the United States.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the largest free-trade agreement in history, represented by a 12-nation market of nearly 800 million customers.