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Track Tom

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is ask.

Conservative MP for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ministerial Expenses June 17th, 2016

Madam Speaker, one of the things we hear advertised every summer is McDonald's dollar drink days, where any drink on the menu is just $1.

Nonetheless, I was very surprised to hear that a member of the Minister of International Development's staff charged Canadian taxpayers $17.77 for juice while in New York last March.

We all know that New York is a very expensive city, but can the minister explain how her staffer managed to spend that much money on juice, or is this just another example of Liberals entitled to their entitlements?

Veterans Affairs June 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in March 2011, Shaughn Wittman was serving in Afghanistan when an explosion blew him from a rooftop, damaging his back. Since then, he has tried everything, from physiotherapy to acupuncture to painkillers, but the pain still persists and his condition has worsened. He has dealt with Veterans Affairs now for months, trying to get his pension readjusted, but to no avail. I have brought this case to the attention of the minister on numerous occasions, but still no action has been taken.

Why is the minister turning his back on veterans like Shaughn Wittman?

Committees of the House June 8th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (A) 2016-17: Vote 1a under Privy Council Office, Votes 1a and 5a under Public Works and Government Services, Votes 1a and 5a under Shared Services Canada, Votes 1a and 20a under Treasury Board Secretariat”.

Petitions May 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present petitions circulated by the Canada Family Action Coalition that feature the signatures of several hundred Saskatchewan residents who are calling upon the government to allow for sufficient time to broadly consult, more aggressively than it has been doing, on the issues of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

They also ask that the House of Commons and the members therein be stringent and serve to minimize the occurrence of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in Canada, enact laws that would protect the vulnerable members of our society, and that they do so today.

Committees of the House May 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, entitled “Main Estimates 2016-17: Vote 1 under Canada Post Corporation, Vote 1 under Canada School of Public Service, Vote1 under Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat, Vote 1 under Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board, Vote 1 under Governor General, Vote 1 under Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Vote 1 under Privy Council, Vote 1 under Public Service Commission, Votes 1 and 5 under Public Works and Government Services, Votes 1 and 5 under Shared Services Canada, Vote 1 under The Senate, Votes 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 and 33 under Treasury Board Secretariat”.

Petitions May 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by approximately 50 Saskatchewan residents calling upon the government to rescind the proposed legislation on physician-assisted suicide.

Foreign Affairs May 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in a complete show of bipartisanship, the Conservative member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman stood shoulder to shoulder with both the current and former members for Mount Royal. Irwin Cotler, a man who garnered much respect from both sides of the aisle throughout his career said, “It is now the responsibility of this government to adopt this legislation”.

Why is the Minister of Foreign Affairs listening to the advice from Vladimir Putin instead of Irwin Cotler?

Foreign Affairs May 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer who, after accusing Russian officials of theft, was arrested and tortured in prison. He later died in that very prison. Since that time the United States has passed a law seeking justice for Mr. Magnitsky. In Canada, such a law was adopted by all parties until yesterday.

Why is the Minister of Foreign Affairs breaking a Liberal campaign promise by opposing justice for Sergei Magnitsky?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, once again it is a pleasure to stand in this place and continue our dialogue and debate on Bill C-7. If members in this place were here when I made my initial comments and observations on Bill C-7, they will know about my history, both with the RCMP and the labour movement in Canada. To risk repeating myself, I will remind members exactly how the RCMP has touched me and my family over the years, and how the union movement in Canada has been involved a great deal in my life and my upbringing.

As I mentioned in my first intervention a few weeks ago, my mother's first husband was an officer in the RCMP who was killed on active duty at Depot, many years ago. Although I never met my mother's first husband, I learned of him very early in my childhood. My mother would tell me stories about who my father could have been. She told me stories about her husband and how much they loved each other and how much he loved his job with the RCMP. She told me about the unfortunate tragedy that took place when he was killed that one fateful day at Depot.

Since that time, I have always had a deep and very resolute appreciation of the dangers that every member of the RCMP faces each and every day of his or her life. Also, since that early childhood of mine, I have grown to know a great many RCMP members, many of whom are very close friends of mine, some who are current, some retired, and unfortunately a number who have passed on to a better life. However, universally all of those members shared common values: respect for the tradition of the force, and also a respect for democracy and democratic rights in Canada.

That is why, with all of the RCMP members whom I have spoken with since Bill C-7 was first introduced, to a person, they have all stated the same thing. They believe their right to certify if they wish should be conducted using a secret ballot. In fact, it is more a result of their being incredulous to the fact that Bill C-7 would not allow them that right.

My colleague from Durham who spoke just before me mentioned that many members of the RCMP perhaps were not aware of all the provisions in Bill C-4 and Bill C-7. They were not aware of the fact that they would not be able to cast a ballot in private. However, they are starting to become aware of that right now. Why the current government is hell-bent on its desire to prevent a secret ballot environment for our national police force almost defies credulity.

I can only think of one reason why that would be, and that is the fact that in the last election campaign, the Liberal Party campaigned aggressively to try to gather and garner the union vote. I can assure members that rank-and-file members of unions believe in secret balloting, union bosses not so much. The reason for that is that if they do not have a secret ballot when determining whether, for example, to strike, rank-and-file union members can be intimidated.

I know this first hand. I referenced the fact that I grew up in a union household. I did. My father was the head of the United Steelworkers of America, very active obviously in the union movement. In fact, he mentored Ken Neumann, who is now the national head of the United Steelworkers for Canada. At a very early age, I recall my father taking me to union meetings. I jokingly put to members that perhaps he was doing it for one of two reasons. One, he was honouring a commitment of babysitting that he made to my mother, or two, he hoped that his young son would grow up to be a union representative like him. If it was number one, he succeeded admirably. If it was number two, he failed miserably.

While I am certainly not a member of any union and I am certainly not enthralled with the union movement as a whole, I can say that I respect the right of any organization in Canada to unionize. I respect the role that unions have in Canada. I understand the role that unions play in Canada. However, there are many faults in the bill as it appears before us today. The biggest single fault is the inability of the legislation to allow for a secret ballot on determining whether or not to certify.

At the union meetings I attended as a youngster, I saw first hand how intimidation can work. Again, I use the example of a strike vote, where all union members would gather in a union hall, hear speeches primarily from their brothers and sisters in leadership positions within the union, and then would be asked to vote by a show of hands. I can assure the House that if there were any members in that union hall that did not want to strike for whatever reason, many times they would be afraid to express their true will by a show of hands. Why? Because some of their brothers and sisters would gather around them and let it be known in no uncertain terms the way in which they were to vote because the union leadership wanted a strike.

I think that is absolutely unconscionable. It was unconscionable then and it should be unconscionable now. Intimidation factors should not be allowed in any workforce or any workplace. By the same token, I will freely admit that there have been times in the past in certain non-unionized organizations where management would use intimidation factors. That also is unconscionable. That also should not be allowed but there is a simple way to fix this, to remedy this, and that is to allow secret ballots.

If an organization chose to unionize, so be it. It is the will of its members. However, if they chose not to unionize, those who voted against that very concept of unionization should not be then consequently intimidated and threatened because they voted against the wishes of their union leaders.

Across Canada, most provincial legislation allows for secret ballots in the workforce. In fact, they expressly prohibit non-compliance with that legislation. They make it a point to ensure that democracy is served. The ability for Canadians in any walk of life to express their will in a secret ballot environment is a basic tenet of democracy. Why the government fails to allow this in Bill C-7 and Bill C-4 is almost beyond belief. I can only go back to what I said just a few moments ago. I think this is payback to the union leaders who they courted during the election campaign of 2015 and that is shameful, absolutely shameful.

I have spoken with so many RCMP officers since Bill C-7 was first introduced because Depot used to be in my riding before the boundaries changed in the last election. Consequently, I am a frequent visitor at Depot and because of my history with the force, many members there know me and know me well. To a person, every single one of them was aghast at the fact that they would not have the right, if they decided to vote for or against union, to do so in private.

Bill C-7 is flawed. We know it is flawed and I believe the government knows it is flawed. That is what makes this doubly shameful. On the opposition side we will not be supporting Bill C-7. I cannot support Bill C-7 and I think it is a shame because other than that, the bill does contain provisions that are very helpful to the RCMP. However, that one provision disallowing secret ballots is something that is a deal breaker for me and I will certainly not be supporting the legislation.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as many in the House know, I have had a long relationship with both the RCMP and the union movement in Canada. Both have touched my family significantly and personally, so I am in a unique position to comment on Bill C-7.

The one area in Bill C-7 that I have great difficulty with is the provision that would not allow members to vote in a secret ballot environment on whether to certify or decertify at any time in the future. I would ask my colleague to expand upon this if possible. The secret ballot is a fundamental tenet of democracy in this country. All of us who sit in this place were elected by secret ballot. The Speaker of this assembly was elected by a secret ballot. It is the norm across Canada. Most provincial legislation ensures that secret ballots take place in union certification drives.

Does my friend and colleague believe that the bill should contain a provision to allow secret balloting? Could she comment on why the government seems so steadfast against allowing our RCMP members to vote in a secret ballot environment, as every other Canadian would have the right to do?