Saturday, October 25th8.6°C
Ron Cannan

Back in the Riding

I was happy to be back in the riding last week for Thanksgiving, to spend time with family, and to serve the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Kelowna Gospel Mission.  Thanks to all the volunteers, staff, and generous donors we were able to feed more than 800 people. 

I also took the opportunity to meet directly with concerned constituents, make funding announcements in Lake Country and at UBCO, and to welcome both Minister Rempel (Western Economic Diversification) and Minister Clement (Treasury Board) who met with the Kelowna-Lake Country business community.

Last week was also Citizenship Week.  Not only did we swear in over 130 new Canadian citizens at two citizenship ceremonies at the Central School, I was proud to participate in a special ceremony at the Kelowna Brigadier Angle Armoury, where we honoured Lieutenant Michael Stewart McGinty. 

Lieutenant McGinty is the first person to become a Canadian citizen under a new measure of the Citizenship Act, allowing those who serve our country in the Canadian Armed Forces to have their citizenship fast-tracked.

Lieutenant McGinty was seconded from the British Military to our Canadian Forces College as an instructor and he will soon become a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.

As the Prime Minister noted in his statement acknowledging Citizenship Week, it is important to reflect on the many privileges that Canadian citizenship confers, including the responsibility to work hard, abide by Canadian laws, and contribute to the social and economic fabric of our country.

Canadian citizenship is extremely valuable and we can never take for granted how precious and meaningful it is to be a citizen of our free, democratic and diverse country.


The Wellbeing of Canada’s Seniors

Earlier this month, the Global AgeWatch Index 2014 report was released, which monitors the economic and social well-being of older adults worldwide.

This year, Canada’s ranking increased from 5th to 4th out of the 96 countries measured, with Norway, Sweden and Switzerland rounding out the top spots.

As the Canadian seniors’ population continues to grow, the Government of Canada remains committed to improving the well-being and quality of life of older Canadians.  

Since 2006, the Government has continued to support seniors across Canada by providing assistance in areas needed most including: introducing pension income splitting, increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement, investing in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and increasing funding to community-based projects for seniors.

Last year alone, our Government provided $2.8 billion in additional tax relief to seniors and pensioners so that more income was available to meet the costs of living; committed $400 million over two years for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors; and increased funding for local programs that protect seniors from elder and financial abuse.

Here at home, the Lake Country Health Planning Society received funding under the New Horizons program to raise awareness of elder abuse.  Through a number of workshops the Society is getting people out and talking about this important issue.  The next workshop will be held Tuesday, October 21st at Okanagan Centre Hall from 7 to 8:30 pm.  Anyone wishing more information can contact the Society at 778-215-5247 or [email protected].

I would also like to remind people about the website which brings together a variety of federal, provincial/territorial and municipal resources about relevant programs and benefits, and the new Information for Caregivers portal.

Through their diversity of skills, knowledge and experience, seniors have made an incredible contribution to building Canada and we are committed to investing in programs that support their continued well-being and participation in our communities.


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

Funding innovative research

Dementia and other brain-related illnesses are a concern for an aging society like our own and that is why the federal government continues to make dementia and other brain related illnesses a priority.

On September 12, 2014, my colleague, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, along with Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO of Brain Canada, announced 32 projects being funded under the Canada Brain Research Fund.

Our Government’s continued focus on brain related illnesses will no doubt be good news to folks like Maribeth Friesen, CEO of the Okanagan’s BrainTrust Canada and Nigel Brown, Executive Director of Sing for Your Life Foundation BC, who along with many others work tirelessly to improve the lives of those with a brain illness or injury and support activities that help prevent diseases like dementia.

The projects will accelerate innovative research that will advance our knowledge of and support the development of new ways to diagnose and treat all types of neurological and mental illnesses.

Following up on commitments made during the Global Dementia Legacy Event held in Ottawa September 11-12, three of the projects will explore neurodegeneration.

Most recently, Budget 2014 announced $15 million per year to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, for the expansion of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, the creation of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), and other health research priorities. With the CCNA initiative, Canada is joining forces with its G7 counterparts to support additional research with a view to finding a cure for dementia by 2025.

Funding for all 32 projects totals nearly $51.4 million, half provided by the Government of Canada and half provided by private donors, research institutions, provincial funding agencies, and charitable organizations partnering with the Brain Canada Foundation.

Our Government recognizes the very real impact that neurological and mental health conditions have on Canadian families. Between 2006 and 2013, we have invested more than $861 million in neuroscience research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

We are proud to support innovative new projects devoted to neurological and mental health research that will help to advance our knowledge on neurological and mental health.


Lake Country Health and Wellness Fair

I would just like to remind everyone that the first annual Lake Country Health & Wellness Fair will be held at Winfield Memorial Hall - October 4, 2014 - 10:00am - 3:00pm. 

The Fair is being organized by the Lake Country Health Planning Society (LCHP), a non-profit organization that is improving the conditions of community life for the citizens of Lake Country and advocating for improvements to health and social services in the community.

According to Society president Shannon Paul-Jost, this event will primarily showcase local businesses that promote healthy living and help the community focus on staying well.

People of all ages are invited to come and have fun, learn and be active.

For more information, please call 778-215-5247.

I hope to see you all out there.


Next Intake for WINN Funding Opens September 30th

The next intake of the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative will open on September 30, 2014 at noon (MDT) and close on October 30, 2014 at noon (MDT).

WINN is a $100 million five-year federal initiative that offers repayable contributions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada to move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace, a key stage in the innovation process.

For more information please go to or call 1-888-338-WEST (9378).


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

Talking about suicide prevention

Over the past year, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has been actively encouraging all 308 members of Parliament to shine a light on suicide prevention by holding a forum for conversation in their communities. 

That is why on September 8th, my colleague Dan Albas and I, MC radio morning host Phil Johnson, and the Okanagan Suicide Awareness Society opened the doors of the Parkinson Recreation Centre and welcomed people in to talk about suicide. 

Many brave people came forward to tell their stories.

Among the tears, and yes, some laughter, there were many comments about how the community needs to do more to help folks with mental health issues.  

In this respect it was good to see such a cross-section of our community present including our school district trustees, local government representatives, as well as those from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Interior Health (IHA), and other individuals who work on the front lines of social services.

Folks need and want to talk about suicide and suicide prevention because not talking about it is not working!

According to the World Health Organization, someone in the world commits suicide every 40 seconds, that means approximately 11 Canadians will end their lives today by suicide.

In BC, approximately 500 people take their own lives every year.

#308Conversations is designed to include Canadians from coast to coast to coast in a national dialogue about suicide prevention.

At the local level, #308Conversations will provide citizens with information on the actions and initiatives taking place in their own communities.

At the federal level, it will bring together community best practices to inform decision making and strategy in tackling the urgent issue of suicide.

The results will be gathered by the MHCC to produce a working community model with tools and solutions that can be shared as a resource for communities across Canada.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada exists as a result of the comprehensive May 2006 Senate report entitled “Out of the Shadows At Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada”. 

Created and funded by our government, the MHCC works to develop a national mental health strategy, share knowledge and best practices for the benefit of Canadians, and undertake public awareness and education in order to combat the hurtful stigma associated with mental illness.

I encourage constituents to go to  to access information and resources pertaining to mental health.

I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of Dr. Harold Albrecht, MP, who championed the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act.  More information on this initiative is available through the Public Health Agency of Canada website at

Organizing community events is one step in an ongoing process. As one participant noted to me in an e-mail, “Hearing from IH staff, seeing school district trustees attend, citizens touched by this horror, all walking out of that meeting and empowered by the ability to simply communicate openly. It was the most inspiring and moving event I have attended this year.”

I’ll be sharing what we learned with our MLA's and  I also hope to learn about the status of the after-hours mental health community care team that was in place in Kelowna, which is not presently active - an issue raised at our meeting by Christine Walsh, who is the Social Development Coordinator for the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Mainly, we need to keep talking to each other about suicide prevention because there are many of us trying to deal with tough personal issues alone.

Former CO of BC Dragoons, Cliff Jamieson, who many of us know from the Veterans community, recently sent out a tweet that said, “Thank you for taking this on. It's an important topic. Many people who are affected, fight it alone & lose.”

Many thanks again to those who came out to our meeting.  By reaching out, by talking, and by pooling our resources and best practices, we might have a chance of helping those who are struggling.

The key is to see others and their stories as our own - our family members and friends, our neighbours, our society, and our responsibility.  


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

Minister of Industry working for Canadians

Over the course of the summer, our federal regional minister for British Columbia and Minister of Industry, the Honourable James Moore, has made several announcements that will have a direct impact on folks here in the Okanagan.


Removing Barriers to Internal Trade

Canada has been successful in pursuing an ambitious international trade strategy, but progress on domestic trade has not always kept pace.  That is why Minister Moore recently announced One Canada: One National Economy, a plan that lays out a broad proposal to remove barriers to internal trade.  You can visit to learn more.

As one of the premier wine regions in Canada, we are familiar with the ongoing efforts to encourage freer trade between the provinces and territories so that Canadians across the country can enjoy our award-winning wine.  While there has been movement from provinces like Manitoba and Saskatchewan, it is still easier for Canadians to access wine from the US or France than from our own country.

At a time when Canada is entering into new trade agreements around the world that seek to eliminate irritants and barriers to international trade, our Government is determined to eliminate domestic regulation that leads to increased and unnecessary costs for our businesses, and limits growth and job creation.

Minister Moore, on behalf of the Government, is committed to working with the provinces and territories to bring about a better agreement and begin the essential work of renewing internal trade.

I support the Minister in this endeavour and look forward to hearing more about the progress made as the federal, provincial and territorial governments work together to achieve freer internal trade for the benefit of all Canadians.


Connecting Canadians

More and more, access to the Internet is essential to creating jobs, realizing economic opportunities, and linking Canadians to online services, as well as far-off family members and friends.

That is why Minister Moore recently announced Connecting Canadians, the Government of Canada’s plan to bring high-speed Internet to 280,000 Canadian households, mainly in rural and remote communities.

Between now and 2017, the Government will invest up to $305 million to extend access to high-speed Internet at 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to 98 percent of Canadian households, and will provide incentives for the private sector to invest in wireless and wireline Internet services in areas of the country where they currently do not exist. 

By ensuring rural and remote communities have access to high-speed Internet, the Government is taking important steps toward giving all Canadians the chance to take full advantage of Canada’s digital economy.

For more information on your connectivity or to provide feedback on service in your area, please visit the Connecting Canadians website (


Ending Paper Billing Charges on your Telecom Bill

Minister Moore has also recently announced that the federal government will introduce legislation to end pay-to-pay billing practices in the telecommunications sector.

Canadian consumers have been clear that they expect lower prices and better services from telecommunications providers. That is why our government committed to ending this unfair practice and putting the interests of Canadian consumers first.

As the Minister noted, "More and more Canadians are finding a new charge appearing on their monthly bills, including their wireless bill. This fee is charged to those who receive their bill in the mail. Increasingly, many Canadians are being charged this new fee by companies from whom they have been receiving service for decades. We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill.”

In the 2013 Speech from the Throne our government committed to end this unfair practice and to continue to promote policies that support Canadian consumers putting more money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families.

I want to congratulate the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry on a productive summer and for working on behalf of British Columbians and Canadians across the country.


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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