About Resuming Debate
I started this substack to provide a weekly summary to my constituents and interested Canadians from coast to coast of activities on Parliament Hill. This is my response to the trend of social media to cut short any in-depth debate or to thoughtfully review political events during the week.
Many constituents deplore the quality of our political debate. Trust me, I get the emails, phone calls, and social media messages. Sometimes it is just a general observation, other times I am at fault for clipping an issue too short and leaving out what a constituent believes to be important ideas or facts. While I always strive to give an accurate account of proceedings from my seat in Parliament, it remains the case that social media has deteriorated the ability of many to have a civil, down-to-earth, and productive debate on an issue. Anonymity and distance have given license to meanness, and at times, blatant cruelty. No doubt the roiling civic and social debates of our friends in America with its incredible cultural power influence our own debates in Canada.
I regularly see vindictive commentary on social media, especially on Twitter, which seems to encourage hot takes with a premium on performative aggression. There is an inherent rush to judgment to produce content for mass social media consumption with little regard to the accuracy of information distributed. There is a time and place for quick news from a parliamentarian, however, too often this devolves into pointless theatre that treats politics like a team sport, and political supporters as fans for the home team against their cross-town rivals. Details are stripped out of posts and tweets to conform to whatever the algorithm dictates as viral content. For these social media platforms, the more pointed and pithier the message, and the more dumbed down and simplified the opposing view, the better. Nuanced positions and thoughtful dissent are suppressed, and when seen, are taken as an indication of wrong-think.
Social media platforms have now started wielding their massive power and influence to begin censoring and suppressing content. I have heard from many constituents that are worried about being censored and having news on current affairs filtered by social media giants like Facebook. I share their concerns. These platforms aren’t about debating ideas, they are about quick responses, mass declarations, and performative politics. Further, my staff and I increasingly spend more and more time moderating comments on my social media platforms. This cannot continue.
In this illiberal time, what is missing is thoughtful debate and engaging commentary. I have decided to transition my parliamentary newsletter and my past practice of long Facebook notes into a Substack line in an effort to provide this thoughtful debate and accurate short commentary for constituents. Weekly Substack updates will include my reasoning on votes, updates on important legislation, speeches I give in Parliament, a summary of events on Parliament Hill, and so on. I will do so from a conservative perspective with the minimum amount of partisanship that you would expect from a Member of Parliament elected under a conservative banner. Partisanship here does not mean on behalf of a political party, but rather on behalf of a political philosophy that encourages moderation, private action, self-sufficiency, and individual charity. I am, after all, an elected politician. I belong to a political party of my choosing and was elected to serve alongside my caucus colleagues, and of course, I have votes to earn every election – all as it should be.
It is an odd feeling to be returning to the 1990s style electronic newsletters from when email was new, but it is a guaranteed way to speak directly to constituents without the fear of censorship from tech giants. You can then choose to consume your politics in the privacy of your home or mobile device, share it with whom you wish, and let me know your views by replying to the weekly email or commenting on the Substack line. At the very minimum, you won’t be left to wonder what your MP was doing that week.
Welcome to my attempt at Resuming Debate.
About Tom Kmiec
Tom Kmiec was born in Poland and immigrated to Canada in the mid-1980s. Tom is serving his third term on behalf of the residents of Calgary Shepard. He is currently the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
He is the former shadow minister of democratic reform, Official Opposition deputy house leader, co-chair of question period planning and is the past elected national conservative caucus chairman. He served previously on the finance and foreign affairs committees, the two most high-profile parliamentary committees. Tom has championed greater awareness for persons with rare disorders as well as tax fairness for persons with disabilities through his private member’s bill that would improve accessibility to the disability tax credit. He has also worked on legislation governing equalization and in 2021 passed his bereavement leave legislative proposal for parents as part of a brokered compromise to pass federal legislation before Christmas.
He earned a bachelor degree at Concordia University in Montreal and obtained a Master’s degree from Regent University in Virginia, USA.
He has served for cabinet ministers both provincially and federally. He is a past policy manager with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the past registrar for the human resources profession in the province of Alberta. He is also a past board member with the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s southern Alberta chapter and a 2-time Kidney Marcher. Tom is a father of three living kids and lost a daughter to a rare condition called Patau Syndrome in 2018