Positive Announcements


The Christmas season is highly anticipated by Members of Parliament. Not only do we get to return to our ridings but we know we will see our families for more than just a few hours on the weekend. Needless to say we are happy to take advantage of it.

But I’m also learning that the Christmas break is an opportunity for the Government to make announcements without interference from the usual detractors across the floor in the House of Commons. Two announcements made this week will have a positive impact on us locally.

The first is the Government’s announcement to invest $526 million in addressing homelessness.

The key elements include a $270 million investment in a new Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). The program will take a ‘housing-first’ approach to which recognizes that housing stability is an essential first step for those who are homeless or nearly homeless to help them reach self-sufficiency and fully participate in Canadian society.

Federal funding will target the development of transitional and supportive housing and improving programs that help homeless people through skills training, health and substance abuse treatment.

The remaining $256 million will go toward a two-year extension of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) renovation programs for low-income households. These home modifications help seniors and persons with disabilities remain independent in their homes, and preserve the housing for people who are at risk of homelessness including victims of family violence and Aboriginal peoples.

The second announcement will not only benefit Canadians and the environment but local companies like Okanagan Biofuels.

Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl and Environment Minister Rona Ambrose have announced details of the Cleaner Fuel – Cleaner Air Biofuels Initiative. The Government will develop regulations that will ensure gasoline contains 5% renewable fuels by 2010, and that diesel fuel and heating oil contain 2% renewable fuels by 2012.

These regulations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 4 megatonnes annually which is the equivalent of removing almost one million cars from the road.

And it will have a positive effect on our local economy by utilizing biofuel technology created by local firms such as Okanagan Biofuels.

People like Richard Marshall of Okanagan Biofuels have long cautioned that without investment in a biofuels strategy, Canada will quickly lose the opportunity to be leaders in the development of fuel efficient technology. This announcement is an important step in ensuring that companies like Okanagan Biofuels play an important role in providing the world with biofuel solutions that will make for cleaner fuels and cleaner air.

While the critics will continue to say the Government is not doing enough, I think Canadians will come to realize that, step by step, the Government is putting in place an environmental plan that is not only affordable and sustainable but founded on realistic objectives that will have a long-term positive impact on the environment as well as our economy.

Where do we go from here? It has been a whirlwind of a year, both challenging and productive. The Government, despite our minority status, has managed to accomplish much of what we set out to do. Of course the opposition parties have a spring election in mind and things will likely be tougher in the New Year as each of them position themselves to win your votes. Partisan politics, unfortunately, are for the most part unproductive but I am confident that the Prime Minister will find a way to stay on course and continue to move forward for the benefit of Canadians.

One thing is certain, I’ll keep doing my best to move forward on a number of issues that are important to the riding like the airport expansion, the passport office, and our horticulture sector. As well, my staff and I will continue to help you with any difficulties you are having with government programs.

If any of you need to get in contact with me, I’ll be working out of our Kelowna office this week so feel free to get in touch at 470-5075. On December 22 I’m letting my staff take a much needed break until January 2nd when our offices will re-open.

I’ll be here for most of the month of January, returning to Ottawa for a national caucus meeting the last week of January. The House of Commons is set to resume on January 29th.

I encourage you to keep your letters and e-mails coming. I truly appreciate those of you who have taken the time to keep me informed about your feelings, positive or negative, on issues that are important to you. Afterall, despite the fact that the media focuses mainly on the different parties and national issues, when it comes right down to it my job is really about representing this riding and making sure the government is working for you.

Thanks again for the opportunity to be your Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country. I am humbled and honored and look forward to working with and for you in 2007.

Merry Christmas and all the best for a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.

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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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