Honouring Stew Tuningley & Volunteer Spirit

Often in my columns, I have talked about the value and important role volunteers play in our community.  I was very saddened to hear that one of those special people, Mr. Stew Tuningley lost his life while volunteering with the Westbank Lioness and Lions Clubs. It is an unspeakable tragedy, a terrible loss for his family and friends and a loss for the community.
What would our communities do without the Stew Tuningleys of this world?  Week after week, year after year, they are out in the community doing what they can to make it a better place for the rest of us without any expectation of recognition.
These are the folks who lead fundraising events or spearhead new initiatives to tackle local challenges. They are the key to the success of our communities and every day their contributions help make Canada stronger by making a difference and inspiring hope.
The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards (PMVA) is a new program that has been created to celebrate these contributions. These awards highlight best practices in community leadership and encourage partnerships across sectors.
A total of 17 awards will be given: 15 regional and 2 national awards. Recipients will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant for $5,000 (regional awards) or $10,000 (national awards).
Regional awards include three categories: 
  • Community Leader Award
  • Business Leader Award
  • Social Innovator Award
There will be two national awards:
  • Emerging Leader Award
  • Lifelong Achievement Award
The first call for nominations is open from July 12 to September 9, 2011. Award recipients will be recognized at an award ceremony to be held in early 2012.
In honour of Stew, I’d like to encourage as many of you as possible to nominate a volunteer or volunteer organization, a business or a not-for–profit organization to receive this award.
Better yet, I’d like to encourage as many of you to attend this year’s Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair on Saturday, September 10th, 10 AM to 3 PM, at the Parkinson Recreation Centre. I’ll be there at the opening ceremonies and hope that the passion so many of us shares for volunteerism inspires you to get involved. 
While Stew may not be here to join us, it would be a fitting legacy to him to see more citizens inspired to volunteer in our community.
To learn more about the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards, I encourage you to visit or call 1-877-825-0434.
For more information on the Okanagan Volunteers Opportunities Fair, please go to www.kcr.ca or contact Dawn Wilkinson, Coordinator Community Information & Volunteer Centre Kelowna Community Resources at 250.763.8008 ext. 24 or at [email protected].
As always, if you have any questions or comments on matters relating to the federal government, don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] .  If you wish to meet in person, please call my office and arrange a meeting with Linda at 470-5075.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament 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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