Thursday, August 21st15.6°C
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Ron Cannan

Veterans never far from our minds

Veterans are never far from our minds and this August has been a particularly poignant time of remembrance.

On August 4th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War which plunged Europe into conflict from 1914 to 1918.

Canada’s experience in World War I became a source of deep national pride due to important victories at places like Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and Amiens, which gave Canada a newfound standing in the world.

More than 66,000 men and women from our soils gave their lives during the First World War, and an estimated 172,000 more were wounded.

In his official statement the Prime Minister honoured the sacrifices and tremendous achievements of the more than 650,000 brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who left their families and the comfort of their homes to serve their King and country, and extended gratitude and appreciation to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families – past and present – who courageously serve to preserve the universal values of freedom, peace and democracy that we hold most dear.

On August 5th, Veterans Affairs Parliamentary Secretary Parm Gill, and my colleague MP Laurie Hawn, also a Veteran, came to the riding and participated in a roundtable at Legion Branch #26, with the Oyama Legion Br. 189 President and a Veterans Affairs Client Services Team Manager also in attendance. We also met with the President, the Service Officer, and members of the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit #376, where we talked with Veterans and toured the facility.

The discussions gave the Parliamentary Secretary the opportunity to provide updates on Government of Canada initiatives related to Veterans’ employment and the full spectrum of benefits and services available to those who have served. In turn, the meetings allowed Veterans to provide feedback on ways to help Veterans and their families successfully transition from military to civilian life.

I would like to remind local Veterans that a full-time dedicated Veterans Service Agent is available at the Service Canada office located at 471 Queensway Ave. and is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM - 4 PM. We have been told that few Veterans are using the service with only one or no visits on any given day; however, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing this service for our local Veterans.

Last but not least, on August 6th, I received the following from a constituent hoping to get the message out about a ceremony commemorating an important time in history during WW11:

Dear Mr. Cannan,

The events referred to in the following news item took place in Sept 1944 when the writer (a retired journalist ) and I were both 15 years old and attending Dover Grammar School. When you read it I believe you will be struck by the strong Canadian connection to this unique town at a significant moment in its history. The Prime Minister consistently demonstrates his support for our people in the military and the purpose of this message is to ask if you would use your good offices to ensure that our High Commission in London is made aware of this upcoming service so that Canada might be suitably represented. I wish we could identify the army units involved! - Regards Richard Spear

The news item to which Mr. Spear refers is a notice that on Sunday, September 14th, 2014, at 10:45 am, the town of Dover, UK will be holding a service at the church of St. Mary the Virgin to commemorate the devastating effects of a barrage of shelling on the town in September 1944, which killed civilians and allied troops, and was stopped only when advancing Canadian troops, who had landed in Normandy during the June 1944 D-day invasion, captured the long-range guns of the Germans.

The service will offer thanks and prayers for those who died. I have been informed that Canadians will be represented at the service by Colonel Rory Radford, army adviser to the High Commissioner.

Terry Sutton, spokesman for the church, and a friend of Mr. Spear says: "We are hoping that those still alive who endured those terrible September days will join us at this special service. Perhaps those whose family members were killed by shelling would like to attend.”

"We will also be giving thanks to the brave Canadian soldiers who risked death, and those who gave their lives, in capturing and eliminating the German guns that in four years fired more than 2,200 shells into the town of Dover."

Further information on this event can be obtained by e-mailing Terry Sutton at [email protected].

The World Wars and those fought since may be behind us, but through commemorations like these and by talking directly to our Veterans about their needs, we are confirming that their service and sacrifice will forever hold a meaningful place in our hearts and minds.



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Stable, predictable infrastructure funding

As part of the New Building Canada Plan, the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) is an important avenue of funding to help municipalities build and revitalize their local public infrastructure, contributing to job creation and economic growth.

On July 17th, MLA Norm Letnick, Lake Country Mayor James Baker, Mark Koch, Director of Community Services District of Lake Country, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) President Rhona Martin, and I announced that the District of Lake Country has received $250,000 in Gas Tax funds to support the District’s adoption of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).

Since 2006, the District of Lake Country has received $7,387,891 under the federal Gas Tax Fund.

In consultation with local residents, the newly adopted ICSP sets a direction for Lake Country to become a healthy, sustainable community that attracts and retains residents, businesses and visitors and will influence future infrastructure investment, zoning, economic development and environmental protection within the District.

The federal GTF program was originally designed to provide municipalities with $5 billion in predictable funding over five years.

Since then significant improvements have been made to the GTF: it has been extended; doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion annually; and legislated as a permanent source of federal infrastructure funding for municipalities.

Additionally, as of April 1, 2014, communities will be able to use the renewed GTF towards a wider range of projects, which means they will have even more flexibility in the types of projects they fund.

To date, $13 billion has been invested in Canadian municipalities through the federal Gas Tax Fund, with close to $22 billion to flow over the next 10 years.

Federal infrastructure funding has had a significant impact on our riding.  Local investments made through the $33 billion Building Canada fund, established in 2007, provided millions of dollars in infrastructure funding in Kelowna-Lake Country for transit, recreational and heritage facilities, multi-use pathways, water and sewer, bridges and roads.

Now, more resources are available to our municipalities, regional and provincial governments to address infrastructure priorities.

In total, $70 billion in new public infrastructure investments will be made over the next decade, providing the stable, predictable and flexible funding requested by Canada’s municipalities.  This will include the $53-billion New Building Canada Plan, $6 billion flowing through existing programs, and $17 billion to build, operate and maintain federal public infrastructure.

Under the New Building Canada Plan there will be three main components:

  • a  Community Improvement Fund - $32.2 billion consisting of an indexed Gas Tax Fund and the increased GST Rebate for Municipalities to build roads, public transit, recreational facilities and other community infrastructure across Canada that will improve the quality of life of Canadian families;
  • a New Building Canada Fund - $14 billion in support of major economic infrastructure projects that have a national and regional significance including the $4-billion National Infrastructure Component (NIC) that will support projects of national significance; the $10-billion Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC) for projects of national, regional and local significance; and $1 billion dedicated to projects in communities with a population of fewer than 100,000 residents; and
  • a renewed P3 Canada Fund - $1.25 billion to continue finding innovative ways to build infrastructure projects faster and provide better value for Canadian taxpayers through public-private partnerships.

 

It makes it much easier for our Kelowna-Lake Country municipalities to determine their capital planning budgets knowing that reliable and predictable infrastructure funding is in place.

To date, the effective working partnership between our local, provincial and federal governments has successfully identified key infrastructure priorities in Kelowna-Lake Country resulting in sound infrastructure investments.  I will continue to work closely with our Mayors, their councils, and our MLAs as they identify their infrastructure priorities under the new plan.

The federal government’s commitment to the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in our nation's history will enhance economic growth, job creation and productivity and continue to help us support our growing local economy.

For more information on Canada’s infrastructure funding please go to www.infrastructure.gc.ca.

 

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 www.cannan.ca.



Support for clean technology in BC

On July 14th, our Government announced an investment of over $4.1 million under the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) for an innovative clean energy project in British Columbia.

The British Columbia Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project supports a shift toward the use of clean energy and electric vehicles in B.C.’s transportation sector by expanding the necessary infrastructure.

The project will support the installation of approximately 300 charging stations for public use in urban areas across the province and 30 fast-charging stations along major transportation corridors. The project also includes the implementation of a data network, which will centrally collect charging data.

Through ecoEII, the Government is providing $268.2 million over five years to support research, development and demonstration projects that produce and use energy in a more clean and efficient manner.

The clean technology sector is an important economic driver for the Canadian economy. The sector employs more than 52,000 Canadians in over 700 companies in all regions of the country — part of a global supply chain estimated to be worth $10.6 billion.

Since 2006, our Government has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment by investing more than $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.

More information on what your government is doing to support sustainable energy and technology can be found at the Natural Resources Canada website at www.nrcan.gc.ca

 

Parks and Conservation

One of my favorite summer memories as a kid was camping in Banff National Park with my parents and three brothers.  We camped in a tent and though there was good reason to be wary of bears, as the youngest of four boys, I knew I was safe.

Canadians cherish our national parks and appreciate their value as a natural and national asset. That is why, since 2006, the Canadian government has created two national marine conservation areas, three marine protected areas, three national wildlife areas, two national parks, and one national historic site. 

It has made a six-fold expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve, which is a significant conservation achievement and it has tabled bills to create the Naats’ihch’oh National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories and the Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area, which is 16 times the size of Central Park in New York City and is the first urban park in the country.

In communities like our own our love of parks is equalled only by our passion for conservation of green space, as the enthusiasm and support for turning the rail line from Vernon to Kelowna into a recreational trail shows.

It will be welcome news then that the federal government recently announced the National Conservation Plan, which provides a long-term vision for conservation efforts across Canada by encouraging communities to work together to conserve and restore our lands, waters and wildlife.

The Plan provides funding of $252 million over five years for conserving ecologically sensitive lands, supporting voluntary conservation and restoration action, restoring wetlands, strengthening marine and coastal conservation, and improving access to wildlife areas and green spaces for Canadians.

To learn more, please go to www.canada.ca/conservationplan .

 

Canada Honours Korean War Veterans Day – July 27th, 2014

On July 27th, Canadians will commemorate Korean War Veterans Day an important day to remember and honour the courage and sacrifice of Canadians who served in the Korean War (1950-1953) and in peacekeeping duties following the signing of the Armistice.

More than 26,000 Canadians volunteered their service to fight during the Korean War. The Canadians fought bitter battles, lived in deplorable conditions, moved by foot through freezing mountains, and served with honour.

The Korean War was Canada’s 3rd bloodiest war, with 516 Canadians making the ultimate sacrifice. To this day, nearly 400 Canadians rest in peace in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, Korea.

Veterans of the Korean War are everyday Canadians who became heroes by standing up for what we as a nation believe in.  I encourage everyone to go to www.veterans.gc.ca to see photos, video and learn more about their heroic sacrifice.

Canada as a nation owes an everlasting debt of gratitude to the men and women who served and continue to serve our country.

 

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 www.cannan.ca



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Helping caregivers

Before Parliament recessed to allow MPs to go back to work in their ridings, I had a meeting with Tammy Moore the Interim Chief Executive Officer for ALS Canada, which supports research and advocacy on behalf of individuals and their families who suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) a terminal disease characterized by progressive paralysis of muscles throughout the body.

At home caregiving is an essential part of caring for ALS patients, ninety percent of whom die within five years of diagnosis, but puts a tremendous emotional and financial burden on ALS families.

I know and have met several constituents who take on the role of caregiver for family members, friends and others in the community who need help due to chronic or long-term illness, disability or aging.

We are grateful to the commitment and compassion of the caregivers who offer support through their work in various care facilities in our community, but for those who make the decision to keep those of frail health at home for as long as possible, the choice creates increased levels of stress and responsibility on caregivers who must also hold down a job.  

Our community is not unique. It is estimated that there were 6.1 million employed Canadians who provided care to a family member or friend in 2012, representing over a third of Canada’s entire workforce (35 percent). Most caregivers devote considerable time, energy and money to provide care, and many struggle to balance their responsibilities at home and at work.

The economic and social costs associated with caregiving are significant. In 2012, over half a million (about 600,000) caregivers had to cut back their regular working hours and 390,000 had to leave their jobs entirely to care for a loved one. Another 160,000 had to turn down paid employment because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Beyond the costs to caregivers in terms of lost wages or benefits, the negative employment consequences of caregiving affect employers through lost productivity and the cost of replacing employees. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the cost to employers in lost production as a result of caregivers missing work, quitting or losing their jobs is $1.28 billion annually.

It is with this in mind that the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), launched the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan (CECP) on June 23. More information can be found at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/seniors/cecp/index.shtml.

The plan will explore cost-effective ways employers can help employees continue to be productive in the workplace while carrying out their caregiving responsibilities.

A key component of the Plan is the establishment of the Employer Panel for Caregivers that will consult with employers from across Canada to identify cost-effective workplace practices for informal caregivers helping them achieve a better balance of work and caring responsibilities. The Panel is comprised of industry leaders from small, medium and large-sized businesses, as well as expert advisors on caregiving. The panel will report back to the Honourable Alice Wong on its initial findings later this year.

In addition, our government has an “Information for Caregivers” section on the seniors.gc.ca website, which serves as a focal point for federal, provincial and some municipal information on financial information, care options, powers of attorney, and health matters, including mental health and dementia.

Other supports through the Government of Canada include the Family Caregiver Tax Credit, a 15 percent non-refundable credit to help provide financial relief for caregivers; additional tax measures and targeted programs for caregivers under federal jurisdiction (i.e. veterans).

Under our Employment Insurance (EI) program two types of benefits are available to caregivers:

Compassionate Care benefits provide up to six weeks of income replacement for people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill and has a significant risk of death; and Employment Insurance Special Benefits provide benefits for parents caring for their critically ill child.

I look forward to the initial findings of the CECP panel so that we may find ways in which our government and employers can continue to support caregivers, truly some of the unsung heroes in our community.

 

Calls for Proposals - Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF)

Do you have a project that will help improve accessibility in community facilities for Canadians with disabilities? If so organizations are encouraged to apply for funding through the EAF 2014 call for proposals. The deadline for submitting proposals is Friday, August 1, 2014. Over $8 million in funding is available through this year’s call for proposals.

Application information is available on Employment and Social Development Canada’s website at www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf/ .

 

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 www.cannan.ca



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About the author...

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.

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 Chamber 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, 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.

He is also a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates.

In previous Parliaments Ron has been a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, the Human Resources and Social Development Committee, 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 Co-chair 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, in particular those vintages not readily available through provincial liquor control outlets.  His motion is now a bill before the House of Commons sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which is well on its way to being passed.  Passage of the bill will create awareness and boost sales for some of Canada’s smaller wineries while generating national pride and international recognition of the award winning efforts of Canada’s vintners.
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 Chamber 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, 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.

He is also a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates.

In previous Parliaments Ron has been a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, the Human Resources and Social Development Committee, 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 and daughters Amanda, Ashley and Amy and his grandsons Marcel and Nolan.  His hobbies include music and sports.




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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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