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Results: 1 - 15 of 123
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-17 12:07 [p.6911]
Madam Speaker, defence department documents revealed that Pakistan's chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had a visit to Canada approved for a $50,000 taxpayer-covered trip in 2020 that was cancelled thanks to COVID-19.
General Bajwa has been accused of toppling two governments in Pakistan. The military under his command has been involved in human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings and has links to terrorism groups. An assistant deputy minister called this visit appropriate.
Does the defence minister share the same opinion that a $50,000 trip to Canada was appropriate for General Bajwa?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-17 12:12 [p.6912]
Madam Speaker, on a point of order arising out of question period, I take the parliamentary secretary's explanation to mean that I should aid him and the House, so I am seeking the unanimous consent of the House to table an access to information request with the information regarding General Bajwa and the trip to Canada for $50,000 that was to be approved.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-15 14:11 [p.6723]
Mr. Speaker, “Expect No Warning” is the motto of the HMCS Victoria, the namesake for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 344. On June 16, the cadet corps will be meeting for the first time since the pandemic to recognize with medals three deserving cadets: Chief Petty Officer Jayden Traimany, Chief Petty Officer Pablo Silva and Petty Officer Miguel Sharif.
For over 20 years, this cadet corps has been making an impact and will once again be on military inspection and parade ceremony. I want to recognize cadet instructors leading these fine young cadets, including Navy Lieutenant Geoff Kneller, Navy Lieutenant Buchanan, Sub-Lieutenant Jolliffe, Acting Sub-Lieutenant Lajtaka and their instructor Glen Ellaschuk. The cadet program offers youth an opportunity to gain leadership skills and build confidence in their abilities and teaches them the value of discipline. A career in the navy is a worthy life's pursuit.
I give a big congratulations to the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps 344, to the deserving medal recipients and to the families that make this program possible. While they are cadets today, there are oceans of opportunity to trade up the uniform for the navy’s motto “Ready, Aye Ready”.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-15 18:29 [p.6757]
moved:
That Bill C-14 be amended by deleting the alternative title.
He said: Madam Speaker, as always, it is a privilege to rise in the House on behalf of my constituents. I will try to be brief and not use up all of my speaking time. I hope that other members will be happy to hear that.
I think we all agree that no one province in our beautiful country should lose a seat when electoral boundaries are redistributed, usually following the census every 10 years. This is essentially how things have been done since our country was formed in 1867.
The last time that a province lost a seat in the House of Commons was in 1966. There was a redistribution in the 1990s, which led to the creation of a third territory, with its own laws and a distinct identity, but that was a unique situation, so I am not counting that.
In reviewing past legislation, I noted only two instances where the number of seats was reduced between elections. A lot of changes were made over a number of years, especially prior to the 1970s, when the process of amending the number of seats was very different from the process in the House today. I will elaborate on that later.
As I said at second reading, the issue was extending the 1985 grandfather clause to the 43rd Parliament. That clause promised that no province would dip below the number of seats held in 1985. That was discussed in committee, and we are now debating a small amendment that I proposed. Essentially, the government is proposing to extend this grandfather clause to the 43rd Parliament, which I agree with, of course.
The three Canadian provinces with the strongest demographic growth are British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Even with these changes, however, they will continue to be under-represented in the House of Commons.
In 1985, British Columbia had 32 seats, Alberta had 26 and Ontario had 99. At the time of the election in 2019, British Columbia had 42 seats, Alberta had 34 and Ontario had 121. Even with these changes, Ontario will be the most under-represented province in the House of Commons.
I will call the changes proposed in 2012 the Harper formula in honour of the prime minister of the day. The current government is still using the Harper formula because I honestly think it had a lot of good ideas. The Harper formula gave my province, Alberta, and its population nine more seats in the House. That brings us much closer to the proportional representation by population that many Albertans want. I believe they are about 0.5% apart, so we are very close.
British Columbia will continue to be under-represented. It will have only 12.5% of the seats with 13.68% of the population. Even with the grandfather clause from 1985, which will be pushed to the 43rd Parliament, in the next 10, 20 or 30 years this Parliament will have to carry out a more balanced redistribution for Canadians and western Canadians, because our population is growing quickly.
Ontario, the largest province in this country, was the largest province at Confederation. It is still the largest province, and that will not change in the future. Toronto will certainly continue to be the largest city in our country. With each redistribution by the House of Commons, Toronto will post the greatest gains when we ask the province of Ontario how many seats it should have.
I also believe that each redistribution creates tensions among members representing the major cities and those representing the smaller cities and the regions.
There are several commissions that are working on it or that have already produced maps—a first draft, if you will—and they are the commissions in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I do not think that Manitoba has returned its maps yet. Ontario has not. In Quebec, of course, the commission is waiting to see whether this bill will be passed. It is the Senate that will examine the issue and decide whether the content of this bill is to the liking of senators. In practice, I think only Nova Scotia has published its maps so far.
This has resulted in a major debate in the House, because representing a region, a territory or a group of small towns or villages is very different. I have colleagues who represent regions that have 20 mayors or 30 boards of directors to talk to. I do not even have one. As I said in the House, until 2019, I did not even have a high school in my riding. Even though I had the largest riding in Calgary, I did not have a public high school, a Catholic school, a private school or a charter school. The first school opened a few years ago, just before the pandemic. My colleagues were surprised that there could be a riding in a big city like Calgary that did not have a high school. That has changed, but I still have only one. I do not have a legion in my riding either. I have colleagues who have 10, 15, 20 or 25 events in their riding on Remembrance Day.
Representing a region is very different from representing a riding in a big metropolitan area like Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary or Edmonton. We need different strategies to represent our constituents well.
I said this during the debates at second reading of this bill, but I will say it again because I promised my constituents. On October 29, I wrote an article on a website called Substack. I sent it to the 8,500 constituents who subscribe to the newsletter I send out every Friday. I told them that, if the Liberal government proposed changes to how boundaries are drawn and seats distributed in the House of Commons, I would speak in favour of the principle of representation by population, because that really is extremely important in western Canada.
In the beginning, when Alberta joined the Confederation created by this Parliament, we had seven seats, as did British Columbia. Since then, of course, our province has grown. There are 4.3 to 4.4 million Albertans in our province. I almost said “in our country” because, as I often say, we are a distinct society. I know my Quebec colleagues appreciate that. I know the repercussions. I am thinking of the Charlottetown Accord, the great debates of the 1980s and 1990s in Quebec, and the major Constitutional debates.
I want to make sure that, once again, I do what I promised my constituents. In the future, the next time seats in the House of Commons are redistributed, Parliament is going to have to take a hard look at representation by population for the people of western Canada. This is really important. We cannot have a country where western Canadians are so under-represented. I think we can all agree to a small difference of 0.5%. That is reasonable. We can absolutely do that. However, no one knows where the Canadian population is going to go in the next few years. No one knows what the economy will look like, or which parts of the country will be more attractive than others.
Once again, I want to say that I agree with this bill. It is a lean bill that reduces changes to the redistribution of seats in the House of Commons, so I support this bill.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-15 18:40 [p.6758]
Madam Speaker, I would simply like to remind the member that the Charlottetown accord, which guaranteed that Quebec would never have less than 25% of the total number of seats in the House of Commons, was rejected by 58% of Quebeckers during a national referendum.
I would also like to quickly tell him that we cannot blame Albertans for the mistakes of Ontarians.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-15 18:41 [p.6759]
Madam Speaker, it is a wonderful question. I do not think they use proportional voting in the member's own party.
I will mention this: My colleagues know me to be a contrarian, and perhaps it will surprise the member for Elmwood—Transcona that I actually voted in the 2003 merger between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. I was a young Canadian Alliance activist, and I voted no.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-15 18:43 [p.6759]
Madam Speaker, I did mention it. There have been Supreme Court decisions and lower court decisions on this. In Canada, what is most important is what is called effective representation. In court decisions, that has been the way to nuance representation by population, which were the great debates that led to eventual Confederation in 1867. The courts have found that effective representation is a concept that goes beyond that: It asks if a member of Parliament can effectively represent their communities. These are not just a number on a map, and include a whole bunch of communities. It is asking if they can they get around, listen to their constituents and then report back to Ottawa. That is the way it is supposed to work, as opposed to what is often done here, which is that someone stays in Ottawa and then reports back on how good Ottawa is to their place of origin. It should be the other way around.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-13 12:09 [p.6568]
Madam Speaker, none of what the minister just said is accurate.
The Senate is not going to pass this bill before the end of June. We just heard that the committee has been considering this bill since the middle of May. I have been to that committee. What the cabinet is calling filibustering is what I call debate and raising the issues our constituents are raising.
Thousands of Canadians emailed us and said they did not want to see what was called Bill C-10. The government brought it back as Bill C-11. The bill has not been fixed. They have not fixed section 4.2, which does generate the ability of the government, through the CRTC, to moderate and censor the content uploaded by users.
This motion is truly a lack of confidence in the chair of the Canadian heritage committee. This is entirely of the government's making and entirely the government's fault. This legislation has not been reviewed or debated in 31 years. There is no reason to rush it through in the next few weeks. The government is being completely inaccurate in the way it is presenting it. It is a darn shame that we will not be able to review this bill as it deserves to be reviewed, because Canadians are interested to know if they will still be able to use the Internet, their YouTube channels, their Facebook and their TikTok in the ways that they have always been able to without the censorship of government and the CRTC.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-03 12:08 [p.6097]
moved that the first report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, presented on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, be concurred in.
He said: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to move concurrence on the first report of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts presented to the House on Tuesday, February 8.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts is probably known as one of the most powerful committees of the House of Commons. It has, I would say, far more influence than many others. It is one of the very few committees where deputy ministers are obliged to appear in order to respond to questions from members of Parliament, but also to explain why there are often shortcomings in reports from the Auditor General. The report I am interested in debating today is “Report 1, Procuring Complex Information Technology Solutions of the 2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
This particular report was last tabled in the 43rd Parliament's second session, in June 2021. I had the distinct privilege of briefly being elected chair of the public accounts committee, the standing committee of the House of Commons, late last year or the beginning of this year.
What I want to do, as I have done in past concurrence reports, is explain to constituents back home why we are debating this particular report. It comes down to the recommendations found therein and that is where I want to go. This report has eight recommendations in it, and I want to go over them so the constituents back home can understand why this is important.
I was trying to download the government's response to the report, but, as with much in the current government, it told me the link was broken and not working so I actually could not get it. It is typical. I tried twice on two different devices to get the contents of the response, so I am going to focus on the recommendations.
Often, I have constituents who come to my office and are worried about government spending. They are worried about excess spending and deficits and debt spending that is going on in our country. We saw, during question period, lots of questions about the state of the country's finances. We all remember that, back in 2015, it was the current Liberal government that promised itsy-bitsy, little tiny $10-billion deficits, and no more, to be over by 2019. It is 2022 now and we have massive, structural, permanent deficits.
Where am I going with this? I tell constituents that waste in government starts with millions: not billions. It starts with the little things. It starts with things from contract splitting to sole-sourcing to individuals likely close to the government or close to particular public officials in the bureaucracies, and then they have a few hundred thousand dollars here and a few hundred thousand dollars there. That turns into millions of dollars. Then there are delays. There are dry-dock fees, perhaps with the national shipbuilding strategy, that amount to hundreds of millions of dollars and there is sometimes no construction going on. That is a major source of concern to constituents. They think, “Just take this large program of billions and billions of dollars and then cut that.” I say that is not how government works.
The government, in its sixth year, with this current budget 2022, will be a half a trillion-dollar operation. Never in my lifetime did I think this would happen. I want to give some credit to the Auditor General. I remember being a much younger man 20 years ago. The Speaker will remember this, because it was important to a particular province. We all remember the sponsorship scandal. The sponsorship scandal and the 1995 referendum happened in my formative years and were how I got interested in politics. I still have a copy of the Auditor General's report and her findings on my bookcase. It is not in mint condition. It is well flipped through and has lots of annotations in it. Those were millions of dollars of wasted, corruptly spent monies that the Auditor General found and then reported on.
I am not saying that this report has the same impact, but it talks about millions of dollars being wasted, the opportunities for corruption to exist within government, and how we deal with it as parliamentarians. This place is supposed to provide accountability and oversight in order to ensure that the public purse is spent wisely. It is to ensure that we spend money wisely. It is a challenge function, as a board of directors would have with the executive in a company, where the executive here is the cabinet that typically sits in the front bench to the right of the Speaker. That is the importance of this place. It is to make sure we catch those millions before they become billions.
Let me get to the recommendations of the report. Recommendation no. 1:
That the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and Shared Services Canada provide the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts with reports outlining what progress has been made with regard to developing more comprehensive guidance and training for employees to improve their understanding of agile procurement and how to apply collaborative methods.... Public Services and Procurement Canada should also provide a final report.
That is a lot of technical language right there. Very essentially, to constituents back home, it is better training for the Public Service and also better training, as we saw again for matters coming out of Question Period, on what the rules of the Treasury Board Secretariat are on things like splitting contracts in two so they fall under $25,000. It is as big an issue in my province, I suspect, as it is in the Speaker's province. These types of issues will come up where civil servants, at the closest level, are dealing with persons trying to seek grants or organizations trying to seek grants or trying to get a contract in very quickly, perhaps to procure a service or construction material or do quick renovations. The splitting of contracts is not supposed to happen. It is supposed to be an open bid so that the taxpayers can get the best absolute price and service: the two should always go together, hand in hand.
Recommendation no. 2:
That...the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in consultation with Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada, provide the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts with a progress report regarding the assessment of the skills, competencies, and experience that procurement officers need to support agile approaches to complex information technology procurements.
In this space, I think we can all admit that we have a great amount of technology coming into our spaces, and we have a lot of individuals who are now using things like smart phone devices, but we have large tablets and we are doing a lot of work.
I want to make sure my dear colleague, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is in the chamber so that I can split my time with him, and he can then continue speaking to the recommendations of the report. I want to make sure that I got it in that I am actually in the chamber so that I could split my time with him.
Recommendation no. 3:
That the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat provide the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts with reports outlining the progress made with regard to ensuring that governance mechanisms are in place to engage senior representatives of concerned departments and agencies for the Next Generation Human Resources and Pay initiative.
Again, it is more training in place. I know the member for Edmonton West would appreciate this, because he is always hassling me in a friendly way about it. I used to work in human resources before being elected to Parliament. I was responsible for things like HR practices and labour policies. I was not directly involved with it, but I worked for the professional association that was responsible for setting things like the code of ethics or the practice guidelines, so I would often work with large committees of professionals who knew what the guidelines should be.
I learned a lot just by sitting at a table for three years with experts in the field: over 6,000 HR professionals in the province of Alberta at the time. It was about things like next generation human resources and pay. Pay is the most basic thing that has to be right in human resources. I see things like the Phoenix pay system, all the travails that have happened since then and all the difficulties in getting it right. If it had just been done right in the first place, all of those problems could have been avoided. I want to just spend a moment on Phoenix. I have a lot of constituents who have been affected by Phoenix, so I am always trying to help them. In fact, my case file manager was “Phoenixed” one month, while she was trying to help constituents. Although hers was a very small amount, others were much larger.
I have been given a signal that I am running out of time, but I do have a Yiddish proverb. The one I want to use at this time is one I have used before. I think it is so relevant. It is, “When you sweep the house, you find everything.”
We have so many reports that are tabled in the House. Some receive recommendations and get a government response, and some do not. Some of these reports have very valuable content and information. This particular one speaks to avoiding millions of dollars of potential waste so it does not turn into billions. We are running a $50 billion-plus deficit. That needs to stop: It needs to be wound down. We need to make sure we pay down the national debt, and it begins with ensuring that we spend money wisely.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-03 12:18 [p.6098]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during the Standing Orders debate, the member talked about making Friday a day when any members could rise in this chamber to speak about an issue they care about. I am simply practising what he is preaching.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-03 12:20 [p.6099]
Mr. Speaker, in my experience, having worked for three years for a professional association responsible for this, not the Payroll Association but HR professionals, what people typically do is hire more compensation advisers.
I will admit that, at the time when Phoenix was being rolled out in its first phase, there were not enough compensation advisers, because one wants to work out all the kinks. It is like running an update to something, like an old Microsoft update for Windows 95. There are always errors that are going to happen, so before one makes it live and gives it to everyone, there is a small group of people to test it on. There are Treasury Board documents that show that this test did not happen with the Phoenix pay system. The minister at the time knew that a rollout of phase 2 would pose a disaster for those who would be caught up in the system.
It is an easy thing to do: do all the due diligence at the beginning, even if it means paying more for compensation advisers.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-03 12:21 [p.6099]
Mr. Speaker, I cannot divine what my House leader is thinking, nor what the members on my side of the House may want to speak on, because I am sure that on Monday, when the government table-dropped this legislation, many of our constituents did not even know such a thing was coming and were not expecting its contents.
Over the summer months, I would hope that we will collect our emails, collect information that we get from constituents who are affected by this, and then reflect that back in the House, so that we can inform the government on what it is actually doing and the impacts it will have on the two million legal firearm owners.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-03 12:23 [p.6099]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. I have been to his riding. As in his riding, in my riding we have a lot of lawful firearm owners who want to abide by all the rules set out by the government. They understand that it is a privilege, and they have had a lot of difficulty over the last 20 or 30 years with ever-changing rules and expectations that keep being set higher and higher.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-02 10:44 [p.5998]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the motion tabled by the Bloc Québécois House leader. I think that the motion of instruction highlights the important work that the House standing committees do. I trust the committee members to decide what type of motion and amendment regarding Bill C‑14 they might introduce.
I would also like to remind my colleagues that the substance of Bill C‑14 comes, as I believe, from the motion moved in early March by the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable. His motion sought unanimous consent to ensure that no province in this country loses a single seat.
I do not really have any questions for the hon. member for La Prairie. I simply wanted to address these remarks to the House and say that I think the motion is reasonable.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2022-06-02 15:49 [p.6042]
Madam Speaker, I want to perhaps suggest this to the member in talking about Private Members' Business. It is unfortunate that some members who have served in this House for perhaps a decade never get an opportunity to table a private member's bill and take it through the entire process. I will bring up the experience of the former interim leader of the Conservative Party, former minister Rona Ambrose, who was able to have her private member's bill passed by this House only at the very end of the last 18 months in her term.
I wonder if the member will consider this idea. Would he approve of having twice the number of hours devoted to Private Members' Business and of changing Private Members' Business so that it is dealt with in the same manner as Government Orders, which means that a member will make a speech and then have a question-and-comment period every single time?
It has happened in the past that deputy chairs while they are in the chair confuse what is going on, sometimes because the hours change very quickly. It would be a consistent way of always dealing with it. Right now, Private Members' Business is kind of dealt with as a very long 10-minute S. O. 31.
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