Life Of An MP Part Two

Thanks to all those who read the first part of my column last week which outlined the events of my life leading up to the big move out East. I'd like to thank you for reading again this week. For those who happened to miss it you can access last week's column by clicking on the "More Columns" link on the left side of the Castanet homepage.

The 39th Parliament commenced on April 3rd following the January 23rd Federal Election. But before I was given the honour of representing the great constituency of Kelowna-Lake Country in the House of Commons there was plenty of work that needed to be done.

Firstly, I needed to find a place to live. After spending a couple weekends searching for a residence I ended up finding an apartment to call home. It's roughly ten blocks from Parliament Hill so it's only a quick walk to work everyday.

Next thing I needed to do was set up my office and get my staff organized. Pertaining to the former, I was given an office on the 4th floor of the Confederation Building conveniently sandwiched between the Supreme Court of Canada and Centre Block. While having my own office is most definitely a nice change, staff members are definitely the most welcome addition to political life. The amount of work can sometimes seem daunting but having a competent and energetic staff is an indispensable part of having an efficient office. It's not uncommon to see them working long hours into the night. Their work is not only beneficial but also incredibly necessary.

The meat and potatoes work really began following that first week. The days are long but the work is enlightening. Very few careers allow for the type of insight into the lives of so many people. Canada is a diverse country and Kelowna-Lake Country is a microcosm of that. It is an honour to be able to represent the people of Kelowna-Lake Country and lobby the government on their behalf. Our region is fortunate to have such an abundance of talented and giving individuals. Appropriately, we are well represented in many national organizations. As a result, I have had the opportunity to meet with many constituents traveling to Ottawa for both work and business.

And in reference to traveling, roaming the skies between the constituency and Ottawa has become a large part of my life. Now that House has recessed for summer I can focus the vast majority of my time and energy in the constituency. But while the House was sitting I typically spent a considerable amount of time in transit. Generally, I leave Ottawa at 5:30 PM on Thursday evening and arrive in Kelowna around midnight. I then get to spend a couple days working out of the Constituency Office before I get on a flight around noon Sunday that takes me back to my second home.

Has the MP life surprised me? Of course. But that's the nature of any great job. The hours are long, there are no days off, and sleep has become more luxury than privilege. But everyday offers new challenges and new experiences. And to be quite honest, this job so far has been the experience of a lifetime.

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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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