Saturday, December 20th0.7°C
Ron Cannan

New measures to fight AIS

Several constituents, led by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)’s “Don’t Move a Mussel” campaign, have written to me asking the federal government to move forward with the provinces and territories to ensure our lakes and waterways are protected from aquatic invasive species (AIS).

On Friday, December 5th, I was pleased to join a roundtable discussion alongside my colleague MP Dan Albas and other stakeholders, including Tourism Kelowna, at the Kelowna Yacht Club to report that our government, under Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, has put new proposed regulations in place to fight against aquatic invasive species.

The proposed regulations are a result of close consultation with provincial and territorial governments.

As required, on December 6th, the proposed AIS regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I to allow for a 30-day public comment period. More information can be found at under the Saturday, December 6th edition.

The Government of Canada takes the issue of aquatic invasive species very seriously and is committed to preventing the introduction, spread and establishment of AIS in Canadian waters.

The federal government invests over $14 million annually to address the issue of aquatic invasive species, thereby fostering healthy, safe and sustainable Canadian waters.

The proposed regulations address gaps in the current Canadian regulatory framework by providing a comprehensive set of provisions and authorities that would improve the ability to prevent the intentional or unintentional introduction, respond to invasions, and manage the spread of AIS, while protecting Canada’s aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity.

This will help prevent incurring costs associated with the establishment of invasive species, including impacts on fishing and aquaculture activities, recreation and tourism-related activities, and infrastructure.

These new regulatory provisions would also address enforcement. Current regulations can be enforced by provincial Enforcement Officers but now Canadian Border Services Agency officers will also have the ability to enforce prohibitions against import at the Canadian border such as ordering a vessel back to a US washing station before allowing it to enter Canada.

Aquatic invasive species pose a significant and growing threat to British Columbia and that is why it is so important that we work towards a coordinated and comprehensive approach that will safeguard our lakes, rivers and coastal waters, including Okanagan Lake.

Dr. Anna Sears, Executive Director of the OBWB, has already publicly stated that the proposed rules appear to be just what the OBWB is looking for.

Nancy Cameron of Tourism Kelowna and Tom Dyas of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have also shared their enthusiastic support.

If you have any comments, I encourage you to participate in the 30 day consultation and look forward to the proposed regulations being put in place.

I am now back working in the riding and would like to remind you that if you need assistance or information related to the federal government, or want to get together for a cup of coffee or eggnog, do not hesitate to contact my office at 250 470-5075 or by e-mail at [email protected].

As this will be my last column until the New Year, I would like to wish all my constituents a very, merry Christmas and the best of the holiday season. May you be blessed with a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

The Canada Job Grant

I would like to inform local employers that the new Canada Job Grant program is open for business in British Columbia.

The Canada Job Grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs such as tuition and training materials (up to $10,000 from the federal government and $5,000 from employers) resulting in training that leads to guaranteed jobs for British Columbians.

For details on how to apply employers should visit

The Canada Job Grant is part of the $65 million in funding the federal government will provide to BC through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement and will compliment other skills training initiatives, including the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant that together makes $4,000 available to students who go through apprenticeship programs.

Over the next 10 years it is estimated that Canada will need 300,000 new workers in the construction sector, up to 150,000 new workers in the petroleum sector and 145,000 new workers in the mining sector.

In British Columbia alone, BuildForce Canada estimates that between 2013 and 2021, approximately 54,500 new workers will need to be recruited for the construction industry, while the Mining Industry Human Resources Council estimates that the BC mining industry will need to recruit over 10,000 workers by 2022.

Our Employment and Social Development Minister, Jason Kenney, is calling on employers, unions, educators and governments to work together in order to make a compelling case to young Canadians for a future in the skilled trades.

I know local institutes like Okanagan College are fully on board and I look forward to talking further with OC President Dr. Jim Hamilton about OC’s efforts when he visits Ottawa this week.

As parents we all want our children to get the education and support they need to find meaningful and gainful employment.  As Minister Kenney has noted, training in the skilled trades is proving to be as valuable as going to university and getting an academic degree. 

By encouraging young people to look to the skilled trades through programs like the Canada Job Grant, we are not only ensuring young Canadians find rewarding employment, we are  ensuring that Canada’s productivity, competitiveness  and continued economic growth remains on track.


Veterans Occupational Stress Injury Satellite Office to Open in Kelowna

I was pleased to learn that Kelowna has been chosen as one of the locations for a new satellite Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinic to speed access to mental health services for those with mental health injuries. 

This announcement is part of the Government of Canada’s recently announced expanded mental health initiatives for Veterans, serving military members, and their families.  More information can be found at .

Additional satellite offices will also be opened in St. John’s, Chicoutimi, Pembroke, Brockville, Victoria and Montreal, while a major new Operational Stress Clinic will open in Halifax.

VAC established its first operational stress injury clinic in 2002 and since then has added clinics to form a network of 10 specialized clinics across Canada.

While funded by VAC, all of the clinics are operated by provincial health authorities.

OSI clinics provide assessment, treatment, prevention and support to serving CAF members and Veterans. Educational programs as well as individual, couple and family counselling are also available.

OSI clinics also work closely with health care providers or organizations in the community to help ensure follow-up is available when needed.

Through collaborative efforts by the Department of National Defence (DND), Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and Health Canada our Government continues to find and implement better ways to provide our Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans with access to care and treatment for mental illness and injury.

As always, I ask any Veteran in our riding of Kelowna-Lake Country who has any questions or needs assistance to contact my office at 250 470-5075 or at [email protected]


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at

Assistance for Veterans & CAF personnel

Despite bone chilling winds our hearts were warmed by the record turnout to our local Remembrance Day ceremonies last week. 

It was a sincere expression of solidarity and support for our Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel. 

I want to remind local Veterans that if anyone is personally having difficulty accessing services and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs that I am a phone call away and here to do all I can to help.  You can reach me at 250 470-5075 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Certain opinions expressed in our local media may have left the impression that services and benefits for Veterans are not available or that help is not available locally. 

A full-time dedicated Veterans Service Agent is available at the Service Canada office located at 471 Queensway Ave, Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4pm. 

In addition, a Veterans Affairs case worker or nurse will visit Veterans in their homes if requested.

I remain particularly concerned about the effect misinformation may have on individuals in our community who are suffering from PTSD. 

As our October community suicide prevention workshop revealed, the most difficult and most essential step in healing is to reach out for help.  It is therefore important that individuals and families know support is available.

The Canadian Armed Forces has a solid mental health program in place and Veterans Affairs continues to support Veterans and their families through benefit programs and services, which have been enhanced with close to $4.7 billion in new funding by our government.

Anyone who is having difficulty accessing assistance or information should not hesitate to contact my office.  I want to make sure every Veteran and CAF personnel who lives in Kelowna-Lake Country is getting the support they need.


Infrastructure Funding for Next Phase of John Hindle Drive

On November 10th, I was pleased to join my colleagues from the City of Kelowna and the Province of B.C. to announce $11.6 million in joint infrastructure funding for the final phase of the John Hindle Drive extension project.  When complete, the extension will create alternate access to the UBCO campus, while diverting traffic from Highway 97, Glenmore Road, and Sexsmith Road. Overall, these improvements will increase safety and efficiency for area commuters, pedestrians and cyclists.

Infrastructure funding remains a significant priority for our Government.  Through our $53-billion New Building Canada Plan and the dedicated Gas Tax Fund we are committed to working with the municipalities and provincial governments to support their infrastructure priorities.


Federal Government’s Fiscal Update

Finance Minister Joe Oliver released the annual Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections on November 12th confirming that the Government remains on track for a balanced budget in 2015, with an expected surplus of $1.9 billion.

Canada’s economic record remains solid: the overall federal tax burden is at its lowest level in over 50 years and the Government is well on its way to meeting its commitment to reduce the federal debt to 25 per cent of GDP by 2021.

As a result the government has been able to deliver significant tax benefits to Canadians, including our recently announced family tax benefit plan which will help every Canadian family with children under the age of 18. 

The plan will increase and expand the Universal Child Care Benefit, keep our promise of income splitting for families through the Family Tax Cut, increase the Child Care Expense Deduction limits, and double the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, which will be refundable.

This is positive news for families and positive news for Canadians as we continue to support the creation of more jobs and opportunities for all.


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at


Buy a poppy & support our veterans

I want to remind everyone that this year’s annual poppy campaign organized by Kelowna-Lake Country Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26(Kelowna) and Branch 189(Oyama) is in full swing, and to encourage everyone to lend their support.

Under the dedicated leadership of John Broughton, 94 years young, Syd Pratt and their tireless team, the poppy campaign raises funds to support Veterans and their families, including education bursaries for our Veterans’ children and grandchildren.

Last year the Kelowna Legion broke a fundraising record collecting $165,000 and hope to break it again this year.

The red poppy is an enduring symbol of collective remembrance which Canadians wear with great pride.

In the days leading up to this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, I encourage all my constituents to help our Kelowna and Oyama Legions succeed in reaching their poppy drive goal.

It is important to show our support for our Veterans and the dedicated uniformed men and women who serve Canada. 

As we have learned so acutely in the last weeks, freedom comes at a price and it is our sacred duty to remember them.


National Tribute to Canada’s Living Second World War Veterans

The Second World War began on September 1, 1939, when Poland was invaded by Germany.

Following a special session of Parliament, Canada officially declared war on September 10.

This marked the first time Canada declared war of its own accord.

As a young nation, Canada’s involvement in the war effort was a remarkable achievement. From a country of some 11 million, more than one million Canadian and Newfoundland men and women served in the Second World War. By the end of the war, Canada had the third largest navy, the fourth largest air force and an army of six divisions. However, Canada’s losses were tremendous: more than 45,000 Canadian men and women gave their lives, and another 55,000 were wounded.

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War. To mark this anniversary, the Government of Canada has created a special tribute consisting of a commemorative lapel pin and certificate of recognition for Canada’s living Second World War Veterans. 

Applications for the Second World War Commemorative Tribute are available at, or by calling Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) at 1-866-522-2212 or visiting any VAC or Service Canada office.

Whether in Canada or on foreign soil, during the First or the Second World War, times of peace or recent conflicts, brave Canadians have fought to defend the values of peace, freedom and the rule of law wherever necessary.

Through the coming years, the Government of Canada will continue to mark significant anniversaries of the Second World War with commemorative events and activities in Canada and overseas, providing Canadians of all ages with the opportunity to join together to honour and show respect for the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the Canadian military. 

Recent events in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa have made it even more important that we express our solidarity for our shared values of peace, freedom and democracy. 

On Nov 11th, I hope you will join our community at one of our cenotaphs in Lake Country, Rutland or join me at Kelowna City Park, and give thanks to all those who have represented Canada so proudly.

We will remember them.


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at

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About the author...

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee.  He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons.  His hobbies include music and sports.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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