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Ron Cannan

The Canadian health transfer

Our Government is committed to a publicly funded, universally accessible health care system founded on the principles of the Canada Health Act.

In 2011, our Government announced a major new investment in health care, and committed to continued growth in health transfers to the provinces and territories. Our plan has provided record growth to all provinces, and these transfers will continue to grow by 6% every year for the next three years.

In 2014-15, our Government will provide British Columbia with $4.17 billion through the Canada Health Transfer – an all-time high. Not only that, but this is more than $1.3 billion (a 49% increase) than under previous governments.

These record transfers are providing long-term, stable funding so that our health care system is there when Canadians need it. To ensure health funding for the provinces continues to grow in a sustainable way, transfers will grow in line with the economy starting in 2017 and is guaranteed to increase by at least 3%.

Our Government is working with all the provinces and territories to ensure the healthcare system is sustainable and delivering the care that Canadians need. In addition to transfers being at an all-time high, we are also funding nearly 13,000 health researchers across Canada, and investing roughly $1 billion every year for health research.

Through record transfers and significant investments in research and innovation, we are supporting all provinces and territories in delivering the quality of care that Canadians expect.

 

Helping Small Business – The Business Innovation Access Program

The federal government recently unveiled the Business Innovation Access Program (BIAP).

The BIAP, a Government of Canada pilot program, will provide $20 million in funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them access business services or technical assistance at Canada’s learning institutions and publicly-funded research organizations to bring bigger and better innovations to market faster.

The program is delivered by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

NRC-IRAP’s Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) located across Canada, including the hard working and dedicated team operating within the Accelerate Okanagan office in Kelowna, will use their extensive networks and depth of knowledge to connect firms with academic or other research institutions to address and resolve barriers to the development and commercialization of technologies.

For more information on eligibility and to learn if your business can benefit from this innovation funding, I encourage local companies to contact NRC-IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

 

Volunteer Week and the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards

National Volunteer Week (April 6-12, 2014) is a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.

The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, calls Canada “a smart and caring nation.”

Certainly we need only look to the outstanding volunteer effort that takes place in Kelowna-Lake Country to know that is true. Our volunteers do more than give of their time; their efforts strengthen our communities and make life in the Okanagan better for many people.

Every year, the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards are bestowed on Canadians to recognize the enormous contributions volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and businesses make to our communities.

Each year a total of 17 awards are given at the regional and national level. Award recipients are recognized at a ceremony and can select an eligible not-for-profit organization to receive a grant of $5,000 (regional award) or $10,000 (national award).

The call for nominations for the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards is open until May 9th, 2014.

I encourage constituents to learn more about the awards and to consider submitting a nomination today through the Prime Minister’s website. For more information and to submit a nomination please go to: www.pm.gc.ca/PMVA .

 

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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Update: Kelowna to Vernon Rail Line

As you know, the railway discontinuance process has been top of mind for many folks in the Okanagan.

Two weeks ago, I received an early phone call from Kelly Brown, manager of Ashland Canada, to let me know that as of June this year their operations will be closed down.

Kelly informed me that the decision made by the head office in Ohio to shut the Kelowna operations down was based on several factors, not just the future of the rail line.

Likewise, the announcement of the closure of Ashland Canada does not automatically mean the KPR line will not resume operations.

Discussions are still ongoing between CN and interested parties who have expressed an interest in reviving the KPR line.

If an agreement is reached, then the operator will apply to the Province for a Charter to operate the rail line at which point CN is removed from the equation and the federal Canadian Transportation Act would no longer apply.

Protecting the corridor for public access would become the responsibility of the provincial government.

If there is no agreement then CN will proceed with the discontinuance process.

During this phase a number of government bodies will have an opportunity to express an interest in acquiring the line beginning with the federal government and First Nations, which will have 30 days to respond, followed by the Province, then BC Transit due to the fact that the rail corridor is within the Kelowna CMA, and finally the City of Kelowna.

From the outset there was always the possibility the line would not be economically feasible but there should be no doubt that our Okanagan MPs and MLAs, and our Mayors and city councils are well aware of how important an asset this rail line is. 

Regardless of the negotiations with CN, many of us see an opportunity to find an alternative use for the rail line, including the creation of a spectacular Okanagan recreational corridor which would support not only healthy living but local tourism and the subsequent economic benefits that would be generated in the community.

Vernon’s Brad Clements and others continue to work on this scenario and have managed to successfully raise funds in support of this initiative.  To check in on their progress you can go to www.okanaganrailtrail.com .

The perfect outcome remains a multi-modal pedestrian/cycling-friendly corridor as well as an active rail line and I want to thank everyone in the community who has put in time, effort and funding to works towards a positive outcome.

As noted before, the Kelowna-Vernon line served us well for nearly 80 years and we have an opportunity to make sure it continues to do so. 



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 .



Fair Elections Act and Voter ID

In response to Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, concerns have been raised that by removing the ability to vouch for someone at the ballot box, as the bill proposes, some Canadians will not be able to exercise their right to vote, especially our most vulnerable citizens including the homeless, senior citizens and students.

The Fair Elections Act, available to read at www.parl.gc.ca , strives to ensure the protection and integrity of every ballot cast.

Additionally, the current options available for proving one’s identity already include provisions that recognize the challenges facing the homeless, seniors and students.

Throughout the ongoing debate in the House of Commons, and through correspondence sent to me from constituents, it has become clear that some citizens, and even some parliamentarians, are not aware of the many number of ways one can validate their identity at the polling station.

Government issued photo ID with your name and address is the simplest option, but is not the only option; voters can present two original pieces of authorized identification, where both pieces include your name and one includes your address.

For your information, here is the Elections Canada list of valid identification, also available at www.elections.ca. Please note the last item, which is of particular importance to the homeless, seniors and students:

  • Driver's Licence
  • Health Card
  • Canadian Passport
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (Citizenship Card)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of Indian Status (Status Card)
  • Social Insurance Number Card
  • Old Age Security Card
  • Student ID Card
  • Provincial/Territorial Identification Card
  • Liquor Identification Card
  • Hospital/Medical Clinic Card
  • Credit/Debit Card
  • Employee Card
  • Public Transportation Card
  • Library Card
  • Canadian Forces Identity Card
  • Veterans Affairs Canada Health Card
  • Canadian Blood Services/Héma-Québec Card
  • CNIB ID Card
  • Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence or Possession Only Licence
  • Fishing, Trapping or Hunting Licence
  • Outdoors or Wildlife Card/Licence
  • Hospital bracelet worn by residents of long-term care facilities
  • Parolee Identification Card
  • Original documents (with name and address)
  • Utility Bill (telephone, TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water)
  • Bank/Credit Card Statement
  • Vehicle Ownership/Insurance
  • Correspondence issued by a school, college or university
  • Statement of Government Benefits (employment insurance, old age security, social assistance, disability support or child tax benefit)
  • Attestation of Residence issued by the responsible authority of a First Nations band or reserve
  • Government cheque or cheque stub
  • Pension Plan Statement of Benefits, Contributions or Participation
  • Residential Lease/Mortgage Statement
  • Income/Property Tax Assessment Notice
  • Insurance Policy
  • Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee
  • One of the following, issued by the responsible authority of a shelter, soup kitchen, student/senior residence, or long-term care facility: Attestation of Residence, Letter of Stay, Admission Form or Statement of Benefits. (Elections Canada also notes that for electors residing in seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities, a photocopy of an item on the list is acceptable. This exception is made to address the fact that when residents are admitted, they routinely transfer their original ID to the administrator or to members of their family.)

The debate on the Fair Elections Act is encouraging us to think about the importance to act as a responsible citizen and exercise our vote.

As citizens, if we truly value that right to vote, surely we accept that the responsibility lies squarely with each of us to ensure we have the proper forms of ID in hand.

When the next federal election comes in 2015, I urge you all to take the time, ensure you have the proper identification, and guarantee your vote will be counted.

 

Have Your Say about the Future of Canadian TV

The CRTC wants your input on the future of television and wants to put Canadians at the centre of their television system to ensure that: as a citizen, you can participate fully in the life of your country, province and community; as a consumer, you have programming choices, on many competitive platforms, such as cable, satellite, the Internet or mobile devices; and as a content creator, you have opportunities to produce content for Canadians and international audiences.

The CRTC is inviting Canadians to provide input by filling out the Let's Talk TV: Choicebook questionnaire, available at www.crtc.gc.ca/talktv until 8:00 pm EST March 14, 2014.

A paper copy of Choicebook can be obtained by contacting the CRTC at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782).

You are encouraged to fill out Choicebook, share it with your friends and family, and seize the opportunity to tell the CRTC your thoughts about the future of Canada’s television system.

I encourage constituents who are interested in the future of TV in Canada to participate and have your say.

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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Balancing the federal budget

Balancing the federal budget has a lot in common with balancing the family budget.

We’ve been through some tough times so we’ve had to take out a line of credit to avert emergencies and we’ve been working diligently to get back to balance by setting clear priorities and taking care of the things that are most important: our children’s education, our family’s health and well-being and protecting the most vulnerable. We’ve found savings in the running of our house and ways to make it more efficient. And we’ve kept an eye on the future to ensure that we continue to be productive.

According to Chapter 4.2 of Budget 2014 (budget.gc.ca) here is where your tax dollars go:

Elderly benefits: $43.8 billion; Employment Insurance benefits: $17.7 billion; Children’s benefits: $13.2 billion; Major transfers to other levels of government including support for health and other social programs: $44.7 billion; Fiscal arrangements: $19.4 billion; Cities and communities (gas tax fund): $2 billion; Other: $200 million; Other transfer payments total $113 billion; Public debt charges: $29 billion.

With total revenues of $276.3 billion and total expenses of $279.2 billion, we have posted a deficit for this year but we will return to budget balance next year. We’ll be able to pay more down on our debt and we will ensure that Canada is prepared for any economic challenges that might come our way from outside our borders.

Our focus on Canada’s labour market will also continue to be of primary importance.

As the report, The State of the Canadian Labour Market, released by the Department of Finance(also available at budget.gc.ca) says “Canada’s labour market has generally succeeded in meeting recent challenges and performs relatively well in a number of areas, including job creation and post-secondary educational attainment. Canada’s economy has outperformed other G-7 countries in job creation in the recovery and over the last seven years. Canada’s labour force participation rate is high by international standards and Canada enjoys a fairly mobile population that responds well to economic opportunities.”

Nevertheless, as the report indicates, “there are areas that could be strengthened. In particular, imbalances between unemployment and job vacancies persist in certain regions and occupation groups; a number of groups remain underrepresented in the labour market; relatively fewer Canadians graduate in high-demand fields than in competitor countries; and Canada lags its peers in the development of business skills.”

Budget 2014 focuses on addressing these deficiencies. Among the initiatives taken: we are launching the Canada Job Grant and an enhanced Job Matching Service to help connect Canadians with available jobs; we are introducing a new Canada Apprentice Loan to help registered apprentices in Red Seal trades with the cost of training; we are investing more in programs to help older workers and persons with disabilities access the labour market; we are creating thousands of new paid internships for young Canadians entering the job market; we are investing more into aboriginal education and training; and we are providing $1.5 billion over the next decade for the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for post-secondary research.

The federal government also recognizes that for communities to realize their economic potential they need more funds for infrastructure.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Harper announced the New Building Canada Plan, which will provide $53 billion in support of infrastructure in Canada over the next ten years.

The new Plan will support projects that focus on economic growth, job creation and productivity, including building roads, bridges, public transit, and other public infrastructure that supports local economies and will provide municipalities, provinces and territories with the assurance they need to plan public infrastructure projects in their jurisdictions.

Locally, the strong partnership forged between all three levels of government here in Kelowna-Lake Country, which helped us reach important local infrastructure goals will no doubt serve us well again and ensure that we can realize our constituency’s priorities.

It disappoints me to hear the opposition suggest that Budget 2014 is a “do nothing budget” since it also suggests your tax dollars are doing nothing. Yet, higher taxes mixed with big spending, especially on government, is not the recipe for the effective use of taxpayers’ money.

As with any family budget, being frugal can seem difficult, but there are times when it is necessary. Even when the economy is firing on all cylinders, we should remain prudent.

Today, taxes are at a 50 year low. Health, education and social funding for our seniors, our vets, and our families is higher than it has ever been.

Maintaining balanced budgets, keeping taxes low, paying down the debt, supporting job creation, and protecting the programs most important to us is a better recipe for success.

 

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.







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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