New measures to fight AIS

Several constituents, led by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)’s “Don’t Move a Mussel” campaign, have written to me asking the federal government to move forward with the provinces and territories to ensure our lakes and waterways are protected from aquatic invasive species (AIS).

On Friday, December 5th, I was pleased to join a roundtable discussion alongside my colleague MP Dan Albas and other stakeholders, including Tourism Kelowna, at the Kelowna Yacht Club to report that our government, under Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, has put new proposed regulations in place to fight against aquatic invasive species.

The proposed regulations are a result of close consultation with provincial and territorial governments.

As required, on December 6th, the proposed AIS regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I to allow for a 30-day public comment period. More information can be found at www.gazette.gc.ca under the Saturday, December 6th edition.

The Government of Canada takes the issue of aquatic invasive species very seriously and is committed to preventing the introduction, spread and establishment of AIS in Canadian waters.

The federal government invests over $14 million annually to address the issue of aquatic invasive species, thereby fostering healthy, safe and sustainable Canadian waters.

The proposed regulations address gaps in the current Canadian regulatory framework by providing a comprehensive set of provisions and authorities that would improve the ability to prevent the intentional or unintentional introduction, respond to invasions, and manage the spread of AIS, while protecting Canada’s aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity.

This will help prevent incurring costs associated with the establishment of invasive species, including impacts on fishing and aquaculture activities, recreation and tourism-related activities, and infrastructure.

These new regulatory provisions would also address enforcement. Current regulations can be enforced by provincial Enforcement Officers but now Canadian Border Services Agency officers will also have the ability to enforce prohibitions against import at the Canadian border such as ordering a vessel back to a US washing station before allowing it to enter Canada.

Aquatic invasive species pose a significant and growing threat to British Columbia and that is why it is so important that we work towards a coordinated and comprehensive approach that will safeguard our lakes, rivers and coastal waters, including Okanagan Lake.

Dr. Anna Sears, Executive Director of the OBWB, has already publicly stated that the proposed rules appear to be just what the OBWB is looking for.

Nancy Cameron of Tourism Kelowna and Tom Dyas of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have also shared their enthusiastic support.

If you have any comments, I encourage you to participate in the 30 day consultation and look forward to the proposed regulations being put in place.

I am now back working in the riding and would like to remind you that if you need assistance or information related to the federal government, or want to get together for a cup of coffee or eggnog, do not hesitate to contact my office at 250 470-5075 or by e-mail at [email protected].

As this will be my last column until the New Year, I would like to wish all my constituents a very, merry Christmas and the best of the holiday season. May you be blessed with a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

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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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