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.

More MP Report articles

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.

Previous Stories