Year of the Entrepreneur

Rumblings of an election are getting louder but, personally, I don’t think too many of my constituents are hungry for one.

My colleague, the Minister of State for Finance, the Honourable Ted Menzies spent the day with me in the riding last week meeting with a group of local seniors and attending a Budget 2011 economic roundtable co-hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. We received many useful comments on what to do about the Budget, retirement planning and the global recession but not a word about the need for an election.

Most want the government to concentrate on the economy and sound fiscal management so we can confidently move forward and put the economic downturn behind us once and for all.

We should be feeling pretty good about our chances.

Despite opposition party leaders trying to convince you that you are worse off than you were 5 years ago here is the good news:

Economist Michael Veall estimates that “real median after-tax income is almost 7.5 per cent higher in 2010 than in 2005, an increase of about 1.5 per cent a year.” He adds “using this one indicator, the balance of probability suggests that Mr. Harper is right -- Canadians are better off.” (Globe and Mail Online, January 25, 2011). The Canadian Index of Wellbeing seems to agree, showing clear increases in GDP, living standards and community vitality (Globe and Mail, January 21, 2011).

Furthermore, Canada is leading the economic recovery with five consecutive quarters of economic growth, has a financial system again ranked the soundest in the world, and that both the IMF and OECD project that Canada will have among the strongest average growth for the G7 in the years ahead.

Some might say “OK, but where’s the vision?”

The vision for this country lies with the people: our entrepreneurs, our innovators, our small and medium sized business people and our citizens.
In fact, the Prime Minister has declared 2011 the Year of the Entrepreneur.

As we move into the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, Canada’s entrepreneurs will play an even greater role in securing our fragile economic recovery. Their actions will stimulate economic growth and job creation if we provide the right economic conditions: a healthy investment climate, a skilled workforce trained at institutions like our own UBCO and Okanagan College and a federal government that is willing to remove as many barriers to our growth potential as possible by keeping taxes down, cutting unnecessary red tape, getting rid of the deficit and spending within our means.

Designating 2011 the Year of the Entrepreneur is not only a call for action, it will serve as a guide for our actions so that talented and resourceful Canadians can succeed and drive the economy forward.

Please Help

This week I was contacted by Rhea and Ian Taylor asking for help. Rhea and Ian are planning a Charity Valentines Dance for Caleb Lanz a 9-year-old boy in our community who has a very rare and fatal brain tumour, a condition known as DIPG or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

The event will be held on Saturday, February 12th at the Ellison Community Hall to raise money for the family to help with medical costs, including treatment options out of province. The charity event would also raise funds to help realize Caleb’s wish list.

Rhea and Ian are asking for help from the community, especially businesses, willing to help host the event, and provide items for a Silent Auction. Anyone wishing to donate directly to the family can do so also.

Here is a chance for the community to work together to help out young Caleb and his family. Anyone who thinks they can contribute in any way should contact Rhea or Ian at (250) 765-3466 or [email protected]. They will be glad to hear from you.

I’m heading back to Ottawa next week but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments on federally-related matters at [email protected] or by phone at 470-5075. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Ron Cannan is the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

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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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