Thursday, July 2nd18.2°C
Ron Cannan

Protect women and girls

As a father of three grown daughters, I proudly support the action our Government is taking to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls.

It was our Government that established the special committee on missing and murdered aboriginal women in 2013 and it was our Government, under the strong leadership of the Minister of Status of Women, the Hnonourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, that responded to the committee’s findings in its report Invisible Women: A Call to Action by announcing Canada’s Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes against Aboriginal Women and Girls.  

Our Government has invested millions of dollars in community-based projects which support preventing and ending violence against women and girls, including funding programs and services that support victims, improving community safety by giving law enforcement the tools to fight crimes that target women and girls such as online exploitation and human trafficking, providing matrimonial rights for women on reserve, and strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system through tougher penalties for violent crimes.

The stark reality is that women and girls continue to face violence and exploitation in their homes, schools, workplaces, online and on the streets.   Statistics show that one in three women in Canada will experience sexual assault at some point in their lives, especially young women between the ages of 15-24.

That is why in May, I was pleased to invite local organizations to participate in a roundtable discussion to discuss ways in which we as a community can work together to end exploitation and violence against women and girls in Kelowna-Lake Country. 

My co-hosts were the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and MP Joy Smith, a long-time advocate for the protection of women and girls. 

The feedback was positive and the work that is being done by local organizations is outstanding.

As my colleague MP Joy Smith noted, “Creating a society in which violence against women is no longer tolerated will take ongoing commitment and continuous dialogue."

And as Karen Mason, Executive Director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter noted, “Exploitation and violence against women and girls are complex, multi-layered issues which require a collaborative approach if we are going to make inroads to solving them.”

Violence against women and girls is an ongoing challenge in our society requiring cooperation and vigilance by all levels of government, law enforcement, communities and families.  Misleading information and partisan politics has no place here; it is counter-productive and does not reflect the genuine sense of responsibility we all share and want to encourage.

I want to thank those in our community who work so hard to deliver the programs and services that support women and girls, including all those who came out recently to support the Party in Pink Gala fundraiser for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.  Not only are you helping to change lives, it is because of you that we are making progress.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]


Federal tourism funding

The team at Tourism Kelowna, under the direction of CEO Nancy Cameron, has always done an incredible job of working with local municipalities and Chambers of Commerce to market and promote the Okanagan as a premier destination for travellers.

@Tourism_Kelowna for instance provides would-be travellers with a sense of the wide range of activities and sights that would make a trip here worthwhile, whether it’s outdoor yoga followed by a glass of wine at one of our beautiful vineyards, or a public beach where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy the sun. 

According to a 2015 Destination BC Regional Tourism Profile of the Thompson-Okanagan, in 2012, overnight tourism in the Thompson Okanagan generated 3.8 million visits and $1.1 billion in related spending.

Of those travellers, Canadians visiting the Thompson Okanagan stayed 3.3 nights and spent $119 per night during their trip. 

In comparison, US travel parties stayed 3.5 nights and spent $193 per night during their trip.  Yet, while they stayed longer and spent more, US visitors represent only about 6% of all overnight travellers who visit the Okanagan.

It’s clear that attracting more US visitors to our region would generate more business for our local economy.

To this end, I was pleased to learn that on May 22, 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $30 million over three years for a major new tourism campaign entitled Connecting America to attract more American visitors to destinations across Canada.

The initiative will enable the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) to collaborate with partners in the private sector, international travel trade (e.g., travel agents, tour operators) and the provinces and territories to promote Canada as a premier tourism destination, creating exciting new opportunities for the sector.

Connecting America has already met with favourable feedback from organizations like the Hotel Association of Canada.

The Government of Canada has long recognized the importance of our cultural and tourism sectors to the economy and is committed to supporting them. Through Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy, the government is supporting Canada’s tourism industry to take advantage of international growth opportunities, increase tourism revenues and create jobs in Canada.

This includes measures like negotiating new or expanded bilateral air services agreements and visa initiatives like ten year multiple-entry visas and the Can+ visa program for low-risk travellers from some of our highest growth markets, including India and Mexico.

Given the changes in market conditions in the U.S. and federal-provincial-territorial and industry support, the time is opportune for the CTC to resume marketing activities in the U.S.

The Okanagan is a premier four-season tourism destination with one of the best airports in the country to facilitate travel from the US.  I am hopeful that this injection of funding will attract more American visitors to our region and generate more jobs and growth for the many local businesses that rely on tourism in our communities.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]. 

Compassionate care benefits

A core focus for our Government since our election in 2006 is providing support to Canadians when they need it the most.

That is why our Government is enhancing compassionate care benefits in the 2015 balanced budget. 

Compassionate care benefits, provided through the Employment Insurance (EI) program, is available to individuals temporarily away from work to care for a sick family member with a significant risk of death.

Effective January 3, 2016, Canadians will have access to an enhanced compassionate care benefit which will allow claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from the current six weeks. The benefits can also be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.

This will require an investment of up to an additional $37 million annually and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to helping families receive the support they need as they care for loved ones at end-of-life.

This is only one example of what the Government is doing to help Canadian families at this difficult time in their lives.

Since March 24, 2013, the Helping Families in Need Act has allowed parents to suspend the payment of their EI parental benefits if they become ill or are injured, to collect EI sickness benefits and to resume collecting the balance of their parental benefits thereafter, if needed.

In 2014, the Government allowed the same flexibility to claimants in receipt of EI compassionate care benefits or EI benefits for parents of critically ill children.

Understanding the role palliative care also plays at these times in the lives of families, between 2006 and 2013, the federal government invested more than $43 million in palliative care research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

In addition, in 2011 and in 2013, the government committed $3 million to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association for the development of community-integrated palliative care models and $3 million to the Pallium Foundation of Canada for palliative care training to front-line healthcare providers, respectively.

Budget 2015 includes a further $14 million over two years to support the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. One of the Foundation’s priorities for the funding will be evaluating and disseminating data about best practices in palliative care services.

As noted by our federal health minister Rona Ambrose, our Government understands the difficult challenges faced by Canadian families when they are caring for loved ones who have fallen seriously ill and that is why the Government continues to work with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to continue to help make improvements in end-of-life care and help meet the future care preferences of Canadians.

To all those including family members, care professionals and volunteers in Kelowna-Lake Country who are helping others at this critical time in their lives, thank you.  You are providing much-needed support at a difficult time and it is the most meaningful thing you can do for someone you care about.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

An enduring friendship

This week many of us caught a glimpse via television and the internet of the activities taking place to mark the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and honour the more than 7,600 Canadians who sacrificed their lives during the campaign.

It is particularly meaningful given that one of Kelowna’s sister cities is Veendam, in recognition of the role played by Kelowna troops in the liberation of Holland in 1945.

On Remembrance Day we say it is our duty to remember. But of course, it is a duty we have all year round and it is important to recount the history of these events with younger generations who have no memory of the Second World War.

For this reason, I would like to share with you the following excerpt from the Veterans Affairs website ( about the liberation, part of the Canada Remembers Program which encourages all Canadians to learn about the sacrifices and achievements made by those who have served—and continue to serve—during times of war and peace. I hope you and your family will enjoy learning why Canada and the Netherlands have such an enduring friendship.


The "Hunger Winter" of 1944-45 was a terrible time for the Dutch people. Food supplies were exhausted; many people were reduced to eating tulip bulbs just to try to survive. Fuel had run out and transportation was almost non-existent. By 1945, the official daily ration per person in the Netherlands was only 320 calories, about an eighth of the daily needs of an average adult. Thousands of Dutch men, women, and children perished of starvation and cold.

After three months of holding the front line in the Netherlands, the Canadians joined the final push to liberate the country. In February 1945, the First Canadian Army joined the Allies in a fierce push through mud and flooded ground to drive the Germans eastward out of the Netherlands and back across the Rhine.

In early April, the First Canadian Army began to clear the Germans from the northeast of the country. Often aided by information provided by Dutch resistance fighters, Canadian troops rapidly moved across the Netherlands, recapturing canals and farmland as they drove for the North Sea. Canadians also began to advance in the western Netherlands, which contained the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. British and Canadian forces cleared the city of Arnhem in just two days by fighting a house-by-house battle. Only days later, they cleared Apeldoorn.

Canadian forces were prepared to continue their push in the west of the country, however, there were concerns this would prompt the now-desperate Germans to breach all the dykes and flood the low-lying country. To ease the pressure, and allow for a truce in late April, the Canadian advance in the western Netherlands came to a temporary halt. This allowed relief supplies to reach Dutch citizens who had almost reached the end of their endurance. To show their appreciation to the Canadians who air-dropped food during this time, many Dutch people painted, “Thank you, Canadians!” on their rooftops.

Through the hard work, courage and great sacrifices of Canadian and other Allied soldiers, the remaining German forces in the country surrendered on May 5, 1945, finally liberating all of the Netherlands. All German forces would surrender May 7, 1945. The next day was declared Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.

From the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945, the First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Netherlands and its people who had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. The warm friendship that Canada still enjoys with the Netherlands is a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Canadians and the enduring gratitude of the Dutch in ending the reign of tyranny in their country.


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].

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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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