The federal budget of 2011

The federal budget of 2011, tabled earlier this week, was designed as a low tax plan aimed at jobs and growth. It contained targeted spending measures toward those who needed it, while maintaining the necessary fiscal restraint required during tough economic times.

The Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois however have said they will not support it claiming it is out of touch with ordinary Canadians.

In Kelowna-Lake Country, had the Opposition parties supported it, Budget 2011 would have helped low income seniors and caregivers looking after aging parents or disabled family members. It would have helped small business and local manufacturers create and maintain jobs.  It would have helped homeowners and local contractors through the extension of the Home Energy Retrofit program to reduce home heating costs. It would have helped Canadian Armed Forces Veterans make the job transition to civil society and local volunteer firefighters with a much-needed tax break on their expenses.

Our colleges, university and students would have received more breaks on tuition costs and funding for innovative research and development efforts which would have supported our forestry and agriculture sectors.

Local municipalities would have been able to count on more funds targeted for community infrastructure projects and a permanent gas tax fund which would have made long term infrastructure planning possible.

Moreover, Budget 2011 would have built on our efforts to protect the financial security of families and individuals including personal income tax savings of over $3000 for the average family of four, a $1200 per year child care benefit and pension income splitting for seniors.

Budget 2011 also renewed our commitment to eliminate the federal deficit in 3 years and to pay down the national debt while protecting critical funding to the provinces for health care and social programs.

Far from being out of touch with ordinary Canadians, the initiatives contained in Budget 2011 were the direct result of the pre-budget consultations with ordinary Canadians including consultations here in Kelowna and Lake Country.

As with all previous federal budgets under this Government, you came forward with your priorities and offered sensible, practical solutions to strengthen the economy.

By listening to you, our Conservative Government has delivered a great deal for Kelowna-Lake Country: the Highway 97 expansion, a passport office, support for our fruitgrowers, funding for seniors housing and senior community programs, affordable housing, funding for homelessness and youth at risk, small business support, local green initiatives, parks and pathways, transit expansion, arts and culture and support for community crime initiatives like the Organized Crime Task Force.

During the recession, important stimulus funding supported local infrastructure through a three-way federal/provincial/municipal partnership, resulting in significant investment in our community. Not only did we create jobs we built roads, bridges, water quality systems, and community facilities that will support a thriving local economy for years to come.

Prior to being elected as the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, I spent 9 years working for the community as a city councillor. It is that experience that continues to guide me when I am in Ottawa.

As the next election looms, opposing parties will try to convince you that the Government has failed you or that I have failed you.  I trust that you will consider what we have accomplished together and look forward as much as I do to the great future of our communities and the prosperity and success of the Okanagan.

Far from failing you, this Conservative Government has been an ardent supporter of our citizens and our potential.  As for me, it is an honour to have been given the opportunity to serve you these past 5 plus years and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I can continue to be your Kelowna-Lake Country voice in Ottawa.

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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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