Meet The Candidates - Tom Lukiwski - Conservative Party Of Canada
By Robert Thomas
Tom Lukiwski is the Conservative Party of Canada's candidate in the Moose Jaw - Lake Centre - Lanigan riding.
Tom was born and raised in Esterhazy. He has lived his entire life in Saskatchewan.
For about the last two decades he has lived at Regina Beach.
He is married to Diana and they have two grown sons - Tyler and Ryland - and two granddaughters.
While attending school he said his favourite subjects were math and creative writing.
As a child Tom said the most valuable lesson he learnt was from his father and it was one based on humility.
“When I was about 10 or 12, I was active in junior golfing and thought I was pretty good. My father always told me that you never have to – and should never - tell anyone how good you are. They’ll tell you,” Lukiwski told MJ Independent.
Regarding his greatest achievement life Lukiwski said it wasn't his golf skills but rather the birth of his two sons.
As the incumbent MP for the riding Lukiwski said he does his best to balance his public and family/personal life.
“I try to make sure that I fly home every weekend so that I can be home with my family and friends,” he wrote.
Asked to best describe himself hevresoonded “friendly, engaging, good sense of humour.”
Lukiwski said he had two favourite sports - golfing and the Saskatchewan Roughruders.
“It depends if you mean as a participant or a spectator. As a participant, I’ve always loved golf. I represented Saskatchewan three times at the Canadian Amateur Golf Championships. Back in the day, my handicap would have been about a one or two (these days it’s about a four).
As a spectator, what do you think? I was born, raised and have lived my whole life in Saskatchewan so of course I’m a Roughrider fan.”
He became interested in politics as a child as his parents were active politically in both unions and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).
The CCF was a left-wing Political Party founded in 1932 which joined with the Canadian Labour Congress in 1961 and the new Party was called the NDP.
“My parents were always political. There was always lots of political talk around the dinner table. My dad was a union rep for the steelworkers, so politics played a big part of his life. Mom, likewise, was a union rep for nurses. In fact, my father ran for the CCF in the 1948 federal election.”
Given his parents' strong CCF and union roots when asked why he did not follow in their footsteps and be in the NDP - called Saskatchewan's natural governing party by Regina Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk - Lukiwski said his views shifted with what he saw in the working world.
“Funnily enough, as a young man I was in the NDP but when I got out into the working world my views changed dramatically. It was precisely because of the NDP that I became interested in right-of-centre politics. Like so many of us, I could see that Saskatchewan is a province that has endless untapped potential but that potential languished for decades as the province stagnated under socialist policies. I think that this has now been proven by how far the province has come since the SaskParty has been in office. People understand that and I think the days of the NDP being the natural governing party of Saskatchewan are behind us. “
The reception on the campaign trail has been highly positive he said, adding “there is a lot of anger out there about Justin Trudeau and the Liberal policies over the last four years so we are getting a good reception at the doorstep.”
According to Lukiwski dissatisfaction with the present federal government is something he is hearing from a lot if people.
“I’m hearing a lot of anger and frustration towards the federal government. There’s a strong sense of Western alienation as people out here feel that they’ve been neglected and abandoned by their country under the Liberals. I find that very concerning and it’s something that will have to be addressed in the next Parliament.
The weather has not been a factor in campaigning but he said it sadly was for area farmers.
“The weather has not been particularly a factor in this campaign. A bit of snow here and there isn’t going to stop our hardy Saskatchewan door-knockers. But you can certainly see the problems that the damp, cool and now snowy weather has caused for our farming community. It really breaks your heart. I know so many producers personally and I know how much of their heart and soul, not to mention their money, goes into their crops. It’s not looking like a good year but let’s hope and pray for a bit of a dry spell to get a bit more of the crop off.”
Infrastructure is the number one issue for the riding, he said.
“I think the number one local issue is Infrastructure. Moose Jaw and the rural areas of the riding need a massive injection of infrastructure support to maintain vital service, but the Liberals have neglected this area, just as they’ve neglected all of Western Canada.”
Asked about the dropping business optimism and poorer economic conditions for many in the riding he said a Conservative government has an economic platform to help.
“We would address this primarily through our affordability agenda. If people have more money to spend, that boosts the economy. We would scrap the carbon tax, bring in a universal tax cut, cut GST to residential gas and electricity and many other consumer-level measures. On the small business side, we would repeal Trudeau’s tax increases on small business investments, exempt spouses from Trudeau’s tax increases on small business dividends, make it easier to navigate Canada’s tax system and reduce federal regulations by 25 per cent.”
On the issue of Crystal Methamphetamine - something which has not had much attention on the campaign trail - which has become a major problem in Moose Jaw as well as Western Canada Lukiwski said the Conservatives would target the gangs behind it.
“The spread of crystal meth and other drugs in smaller centres has been driven in large part to the spread of gangs and organized crime to those areas. The Liberals have completely failed to address organized crime in Canada and have softened penalties for gang crimes to as little as a fine. This puts Canadians at risk by letting violent gang members remain at large on our streets.
Conservatives will introduce five new policy measures to combat gang crimes and make Canadian communities safer. We’ll end automatic bail for gang members. We will have a registry identifying known organized crime groups, similar to the registry of known terrorist organizations (right now, every time a gang member is taken to court, the prosecutors have to prove over and over that their “clubs” are criminal organizations). We will revoke parole for gang members. We will impose tougher sentences for gang leaders who order crimes to be committed but may not carry out crimes themselves. Finally, we will create new sentences for violent gang crime.”
Regarding the upstart People's Party of Canada (PPC) and the threat to split the vote Lukiwski said he does not view the PPC as a major factor.
“I think most conservatives in this area are sensible enough to remember their history. Conservatives went through 15 years of division in the 1990s and early 2000s and what did it accomplish? All it did was keep the Liberals in power for 15 years. Mr. Bernier was once a valued colleague in the Conservative caucus and I find it quite sad that he has taken this path basically just out of sour grapes for having lost the leadership race. I wish he could have been more gracious and more of a team player. I have many supporters who voted for Mr. Bernier in the leadership race but they are now 100% behind Andrew Scheer, because, in any endeavour, that’s what being a team member is all about.”
The PPC will not be a major threat to the Conservatives both locally and nationally for Lukiwski who minces no words when it comes to PPC leader Maxime Bernier.
“Just look at the polls. They are hovering at around two per cent. The only PPC candidate who might win a seat is Mr. Bernier which I’m sure is fine by him since the party is all about him and his ego anyway.”
Additionally MJ Independent readers had questions we asked all of the candidates on their behalf.
A. Climate Change
The Conservative Party would scrap the carbon tax. We feel that it places the burden of dealing with climate change in the wrong place – on consumers, rather than where it belongs, with heavy emitters who are the main source of Canada’s carbon emissions.
In addition to putting the burden in the wrong place, we believe the carbon tax is slow, ineffective and naïve. The slow and ineffective parts are shown by the fact that the Liberals’ plan will still not hit Canada’s Paris Accord commitments. In fact, we’re falling further behind. Consumers are suffering for a plan that doesn’t work.
The Conservative climate plan would start by expanding the definition of heavy emitters so that more companies are held responsible. Instead of imposing a tax on them that would go into the black hole of general revenue, we will require them to invest in green technology that will help Canada become a climate technology leader which will help the whole world, not just Canada’s small part of the emissions picture.
On the consumer side, we would incentify homeowners instead of punishing them. We would provide tax credits to encourage people to invest in energy savings and alternative technology for their homes. Consider how this compares to the Liberals’ plan. The Liberals give people $600 back on their taxes, no strings attached, in the naïve hope that some people might consider spending that on a solar panel. We’re saying we’ll give you $600 or more back on your taxes if and only if you install a solar panel. That makes more sense to me.
B. Federally Funded Daycare
Conservatives would make maternity benefits tax free so that more mothers would have the freedom to stay with their infants longer. Our affordability agenda, in the form of the Universal Tax Cut, removing GST from home utilities and providing tax credits for children’s fitness and arts programs, would give families more financial leeway to afford daycare.
In 2017, at a town hall meeting, Trudeau said: "We can't shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out.”
Trudeau wants to get rid of an industry that puts food on the tables of hundreds of thousands of Canadian families, generates untold growth and wealth across the country, and pumps billions of dollars into government coffers for programs and services.
Andrew Scheer has a 6-point plan to get projects built:
o Cancel the carbon tax.
o Repeal Bill C-69, the No-More Pipelines Bill.
o End the ban on shipping traffic in British Columbia.
o Establish clear time lines and get Indigenous consultations right up front.
o Ban foreign-funded advocacy groups from disrupting our approvals process.
o Assert federal jurisdiction when necessary.
D. Big Tech Censorship
The Conservative Party has always been a strong advocate of freedom of speech. At the same time, with regards to social media, we have to be aware of issues of cyber-security. Increasingly our lives are being lived online. Yet fifty-four percent of Canadian businesses have been affected by cyber security incidents that prevented employees from doing their job. The Trudeau Liberal Government has been particularly careless on this front.
Conservatives will take a three-prong approach to this issue: sensible regulation, standards and education to ensure consumers make informed decisions, and strong oversight at the highest levels of government. We will require companies like Facebook and Google to implement plain language user license agreements. We will apply baseline regulatory standards for the ethical use of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, and create a Canada Cyber Safe brand to show when a product has the best practices for its security features. And we will create an expert committee to develop regulations to secure critical infrastructure sectors like banking.
E. Carbon Tax
As noted above, we would scrap the carbon tax. We feel that it hurts the economy and puts the burden for dealing with climate change on consumers instead of on heavy emitters.
Tom Lukiwski will be taking part in the All Candidates Forum on October 15th at the Cosmo Centre (7:00 pm).