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MP-Report

Trade opportunities creating jobs

International trade has long been recognized as an essential driver of jobs and growth and key to raising the standard of living for Canadians.
 
And while our economy will continue to be closely integrated to the North American continent, it makes sense to diversify beyond the United States to benefit from the large existing and emerging markets.
 
As a member of the International Trade Committee since 2006, I have witnessed our Government pursue an aggressive trade agenda opening new markets for Canadian business with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association.
 
We are currently pursuing agreements with close to 50 more countries including the 27 leading and emerging economies that comprise the European Union.  
 
With access to a high-income market of one-half billion consumers, a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the EU will offer great potential for economic growth and job creation generating an estimated $12 billion annually in economic activity.
 
Here in Kelowna-Lake Country, we are in a great position to take advantage of trade opportunities and many of our companies already do with some almost entirely focused on exporting their goods and services.
 
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp (AEM) on Kirschner Road.  With a workforce of more than 75 people and plans to hire more next year, AEM is a classic example of a local company taking advantage of new market opportunities.  
 
As one of BC’s top 25 exporters, AEM’s sales have grown 44%, year over year, with over 95% of their sales outside Canada.  As Pat Bell, BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation points out: “These companies, regardless if they’re established players or up-and-comers, are proof that exporting leads to success.”
 
Local businesses interested in pursuing trade with other countries should get in touch with our Trade Commissioner Service office in Kelowna.  Our trade commissioner is a great guy by the name of Harvey Rebalkin who gives free advice and guidance through four key services: assessing market potential, preparing for international markets, finding qualified contacts and resolving problems. Harvey can be reached at (250) 470-5000 or [email protected] .   The office is at 313 Bernard Ave.
 
When you realize that Canada represents more than 2% of the world’s trade but has only .5 % of the world’s population, you understand how important trading with the world is to Canada.  We’re good at it and our Government, lead by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, is committed to expanding trade opportunities for Canada knowing that Canadian businesses and workers can compete with the best in the world.
 
Robust trade worldwide, along with a very competitive tax regime, is just one more way that our Government is strengthening the economy, helping Canadian business to grow, and creating jobs for Canadians.
 
With Kelowna ranked the top entrepreneurial city in BC by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and an economy that is extremely diversified, reflecting traditional and new industries, businesses here in the Okanagan Valley are more than ready to take advantage.
 
 
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.



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