Contributed - Story:
May 11, 2013 / 5:00 am
Ensuring Canadian Manufacturers Are Not Put At A Disadvantage
In the early 1970s, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recommended that developed economies grant autonomous and non-reciprocal tariff preferences to developing countries in order to increase their export earnings, promote their industrialization, and promote their economic growth.
Canada’s General Preferential Tariff (GPT) for developing countries was implemented in 1974.
Under the GPT, Canada currently offers duty-free or preferential market access to imports of most products from 175 designated beneficiaries, including countries like China, India, Brazil and South Korea.
To give you an idea of what that means in dollars terms, in 2011, imports under the GPT treatment totalled $15.2 billion.
The global economic landscape has changed considerably since 1974, including significant shifts in the income levels and trade competitiveness of certain developing countries.
China, one of the current recipients of the GPT, now has an economy over four times larger than our economy, with a value of $7,318 billion compared to Canada’s $1,736 billion.
With the program due to expire on June 30, 2014, and in an effort to respond to these changes, Economic Action Plan 2012 announced that the Government was undertaking a comprehensive review of the GPT to ensure that this form of development assistance aligned with Canada’s development policy objectives.
As such, the Government sought consultation on its intention to modify the list of beneficiary countries by withdrawing GPT treatment from countries that:
Are classified for two consecutive years as high income or upper-middle income economies according to the latest World Bank income classifications; or
Have a share of world exports that is equal to or greater than 1% for two consecutive years according to the latest World Trade Organization trade statistics.
Despite the partisan outrage that amending the list of countries which receive the GPT is a tax grab, our Government has been clear that it is not prepared to support outdated special tax treatments that gives our competitors a distinct advantage over Canadian manufacturers.
The remedy, in fact, is for these countries to pursue free trade agreements with Canada, which would provide better tariff treatment than the GPT.
As a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade for the past seven years, I can attest to the fact that, through the hard work of our International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Canada remains fully committed to the successful completion of all ongoing free trade agreement negotiations and the active pursuit of new and deeper trading relationships.
As for you, the consumer, our Government has cut tariffs by almost $600 million in an effort to bring prices of goods down. In addition, our Government has cut taxes over 150 times, saving the average family $3,200 per year.
The Opposition can continue to be critical of changes to the GPT, but in doing so they need to explain to local manufacturers in Kelowna-Lake Country and across the country why any Government worth its salt would continue to give our major competitors special access to the Canadian market, putting our own Canadian companies and workers at a clear disadvantage.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at email@example.com. Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.
Contributed - Story:
Apr 21, 2013 / 5:00 am
From a jobs and economic perspective, if I had to choose one federal government initiative that has had a significant impact on our riding, it would be local investments made in infrastructure through the Building Canada fund.
Before being elected in 2006, I was a city councillor for nine years and it was pretty clear to local governments and residents alike that if we didn’t address aging infrastructure and the need for new infrastructure it would have a negative effect on our ability to grow the local and regional economy. So when the federal government announced the Building Canada fund in 2007, it was a great relief to everyone.
Our own riding of Kelowna-Lake Country has received millions of dollars in infrastructure funding for transit, recreational and heritage facilities, multi-use pathways, water and sewer quality and supply, and bridges and roads. This includes the $77.9 million, four-laning of Highway 97 from Winfield to Oyama, which is scheduled to open this summer.
Best of all, in my view, was the way the program was structured: a three-way funding arrangement between the municipal, provincial and federal governments ensuring a bottom-up approach, so the right priorities were identified.
All in all, through Building Canada, investments were made to over 43,000 projects to build important public infrastructure across the country and, as a result of these investments, the average age of Canada’s core public infrastructure came down from a peak of 17 years in 2001 to an estimated 14.4 years in 2011. It is now lower than the historical average over the last 50 years.
Now in 2013, investments in Canada’s public infrastructure are as important as ever and remain vital to creating jobs, economic growth and providing a better quality of life for families in every city and community across the country.
That is why it was very good news to learn that the Government, after listening to municipalities across the country, announced a new Building Canada plan in Budget 2013.
The new Building Canada plan will have three main components:
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.
New Building Canada Fund - $14 billion in support of major economic infrastructure projects that have a national and regional significance.
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.
In addition, over the next 10 years, our Government will invest $6 billion in existing infrastructure funding and $17 billion to build, operate and maintain federal public infrastructure.
Overall, the new Building Canada plan includes $70 billion in federal infrastructure funding over 10 years, making it the largest investment in job-creating infrastructure in Canadian history.
For Kelowna and Lake Country city councils, knowing that reliable and predictable gas tax and infrastructure funding is in place makes it much easier to determine their capital planning budgets.
I look forward to continuing to work with my municipal and provincial counterparts to identify our riding’s infrastructure priorities so that our local and regional economy can continue on a positive growth course. The Okanagan has so much to offer and we want to keep the momentum going.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca .
Contributed - Story:
Mar 16, 2013 / 5:00 am
Take a few grapes, crush them, bottle the elixir and voila, you have a recipe for some great economic success.
The British Columbia Wine Institute, which is chaired by the passionate Josie Tyabji and hardworking Executive Director Miles Prodan, recently forwarded me the results of the largest research study ever conducted on the Canadian wine and grape industry.
Commissioned by the Canadian Vintners Association, the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario, the British Columbia Wine Institute and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, the report entitled Canada’s Wine Economy – Ripe Robust Remarkable confirms the wine industry has become a large and significant contributor to the overall Canadian economy, especially in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
According to the study’s findings, the Canadian wine industry generates an impressive $6.8 billion in economic activity, making it a significant driver of the Canadian economy.
The study finds that for every bottle of wine produced in Canada, approximately $31 of domestic economic impact is generated, creating more than 31,000 Canadians jobs and generating $1.2 billion in federal and provincial tax revenue and liquor board markup. In taxes alone, the industry contributes $879 million annually.
Not only do Canadians enjoy more than 1 billion glasses or 220 million bottles of wine produced by the Canadian wine industry each year, but Canada welcomes over 3,000,000 visitors every year through the wine economy, more than four times the number of visitors to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, generating $1.2 billion in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact.
With over 1,600 vineyards on more than 26,000 acres of land dedicated to viticulture, Canada’s wine consumption in Canada is growing faster than spirits and beer. And even though Canadian wine industry sales represent only 30% of all wine sold across Canada, there is a significant opportunity for growth.
Here in British Columbia, the BC wine industry alone generates $2.0 billion in economic impact employing more than 10,000 people and contributing $222 million in taxes.
212 BC wineries welcome over 800,000 visitors every year through the wine economy, and generate $476 million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact.
As for our wine consumption, British Columbians enjoy more than 234 million glasses or 47 million bottles of Canadian wine each year.
It’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come.
I can remember the late 1980's, when old grape vines were being pulled out because of NAFTA. Yet, there were the believers. Undaunted, a few saw the potential and re-planted with new varieties, confident they could produce wines that would compete with the rest of the world.
Today, because of the spirit and determination of those entrepreneurs, the Okanagan is synonymous with exceptional winemaking. Some of the best and brightest winemakers in the world call the Okanagan home, producing the kind of product that is sought after internationally, shipping record volumes of wine around the world, and overseeing vineyards that are on the cutting edge of innovation.
The industry has also successfully leveraged federal government support, making advances in research and innovation and exploiting greater trade and market access opportunities. Through the Developing Innovative Agri-Products program, BC grape producers are improving pest and disease measures and enhancing grape quality.
Under the AgriMarketing program, Canada’s grape and wine producers are implementing a long-term international marketing strategy and tapping into international markets for their top quality products. As well, the federal government fully supported legislation which removed import barriers for Canadian wineries who want to sell directly to Canadian consumers. While progress has been slow, in time, I trust provinces like Ontario will follow the lead of BC and Manitoba and allow more Canadians the opportunity to get to know and enjoy some of the great award winning vintages produced by some of our smallest and best vintners.
There is no doubt that progress on this front will support a greater demand for home-grown products, boosting the growth of wine and culinary tourism in wine producing areas, and providing an even wider range of benefits, including the creation of more full- and part-time jobs, and the generation of secondary economic activity.
The fact is Canadian winemakers, especially here in the Okanagan, are getting it right. We owe our innovative vintners a big thanks and our highest respect, for not only contributing significantly to our national, regional and local economies, but also for making Canada and the Okanagan one of the premier wine and culinary tourism destinations for people around the world.
Congratulations to all our local wineries for the great value you add to our community and country!
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country. If you have any questions or comments on federally-related matters, please contact Ron at email@example.com or by phone at 470-5075.
Contributed - Story:
Mar 2, 2013 / 5:00 am
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On March 8th, I will be participating in the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)’s Kelowna Strategies to Employment Forum on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.
Youth Awareness funding for this event was announced by my colleague the Honourable James Moore last September.
As you know, Canada is facing skills and labour shortages in many sectors, and finding ways to get all Canadians working is fundamental to meeting this challenge.
People with disabilities face particular challenges entering the job market and that’s why partnerships with associations such as the National Educational Association of Disabled Students are so important.
Canadians with disabilities have a tremendous amount to offer employers but they remain under represented in our workforce: the overall labour market participation rate for working age adults with disabilities is just under 60%, compared with other working-age Canadians at 80%.
Following up on a commitment made in the Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government appointed a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in July 2012 to consult with private-sector employers, organizations and individuals on the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
Panel members were the chair, Mr. Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel of Deloitte & Touche LLP; Ms. Kathy Martin, Senior Vice-president, Human Resources, with Loblaw Companies Limited; Mr. Mark Wafer, owner of Megleen Incorporated, which operates six Tim Hortons’ franchises in Toronto; and Dr. Gary Birch, the Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society.
The Panel submitted its report to Ministers Finley and Flaherty on December 3, 2012, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
The Panel found that, while many companies are making strides in hiring people with disabilities, more education and training is needed to overcome barriers. The report recognized that hiring people with disabilities is good for business. The Panel also advised that leadership and effective community partnerships are essential to success in increasing employment among people with disabilities and highlighted a number of actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces.
Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. To address critical skills shortages, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity.
Through Economic Action Plan 2012, our government is investing an additional $30 million in the Opportunities Fund to help more people with disabilities gain the hands-on experience they need to find jobs.
Events such as the NEADS’s Kelowna Strategies to Employment Forum provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to connect with employers who can benefit from their skills and talent.
I’m looking forward to talking with local employers, service providers and post secondary students and graduates with disabilities to discuss ways in which the federal government can work in partnership to help people with disabilities obtain the skills and training they need to participate in the workforce in our community.
The participation of people with disabilities in our workforce is important to the economic and social well-being of our country and our federal government is committed to working with our partners to remove barriers and help Canadians with disabilities find jobs and achieve their full potential.
Should you have any questions about this issue or any matter related to the federal government, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org