Budget 2014

When my colleague the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue paid us a visit in January, we had the opportunity to visit Kelowna International Airport to showcase how $1.25M in federal gas tax funding has been invested locally.

Due to this funding contribution, Kelowna International Airport and other city owned buildings are now more energy-efficient.

Furthermore, the work at Kelowna International and other city buildings was done by sourcing local suppliers and workers.

It’s a great example of taxpayers’ dollars being reinvested back into the community.

I know from my 9 years of working as a Kelowna city councillor that it is difficult for local governments to plan for and raise the money for long term capital projects. However, since 2011, our Conservative government has made the gas tax fund a permanent funding commitment that today provides predictable, long-term funding to help the City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, and communities across Canada meet their local infrastructure needs on an annual basis.

Important initiatives like this are the direct result of consultations with the public. It was municipalities for instance that encouraged our Government to make the gas tax permanent and why our government made the commitment in Budget 2011.

In fact, consultations with Canadians are at the core of how the federal government determines what will be included in a federal budget.

Every year constituents are given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion by attending hearings by the Standing Committee on Finance or participating locally in roundtable meetings hosted by elected officials and local business associations: Minister Findlay, for instance, joined constituents, community organizations, and those from the education and business sectors in a pre-budget roundtable hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

And while the Finance Minister met with private sector economists, academics and business representatives in Ottawa, Canadians were also contributing ideas through an online portal at Finance Canada or by sending them to their Members of Parliament.

This allowed our Government to get a full picture of what everyone was saying about the economy and provided the direction for Budget 2014, which will be presented on February 11th.

Budget Day always generates a great deal of interest and excitement in Ottawa. Centre Block crawls with cameras, pundits and experts waiting to be the first to discuss the Budget’s contents and rate the government’s performance.

Local media contacts my office so I can comment on how the Budget will benefit our communities.

I don’t know everything that will be in Budget 2014, but you can be certain it will focus on the drivers of growth and job creation—innovation, trade and investment, education, skills and communities – and also on helping families with the cost of living and raising a family.

It will also reiterate our government’s ongoing commitment to lower taxes and a return to balanced budgets by 2015.

Although one cannot predict what will happen globally, the sound fiscal management practiced by the Government has put us in a good position: as outlined in the fall 2013 Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections, responsible and disciplined use of taxpayers’ dollars is expected to yield a surplus of just under $4 billion in 2015–16.

We have managed to accomplish this while providing record levels of funding to the provinces and territories for health care and social programs and reducing the tax burden of the average Canadian family of four by nearly $3,400 since 2006.

As a prudent government that puts the taxpayer first, you can also count on us to continue finding additional savings and efficiencies in government.

Every annual budget tabled by the federal government holds the promise that we can achieve more: whether it is a balance between the economy and the environment; programs that support local initiatives like the sustainability of our infrastructure; or funding that supports innovative proposals and partnerships like those developing between Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan and the private and social sectors.

Whatever it is, I am confident it will have a positive impact on the future for the communities of Kelowna & Lake Country.

I thank all of you who took the time to share your budget suggestions I encourage you to listen to the budget speech on February 11th or access the budget in full at budget.gc.ca.

As Minister Flaherty has noted, “I am overwhelmed by the positive and insightful feedback we have received from Canadians across the country. Your input in the pre-budget process is invaluable to me and my colleagues, as we move forward in keeping Canada's economy strong.”


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

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 does not warrant the contents.

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