The Heroes among us

Have you ever met a hero? You might have without really knowing it.
More often than not, they are ordinary people, a neighbour or the teenager down the street, someone who wouldn’t hesitate to help others when needed. 
At the end of October, I had the great privilege of attending a ceremony at Rideau Hall where His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston bestowed the Medal of Bravery upon a number of Canadians.   
I can’t tell you how proud I felt when two of the medals were given to our own constituents, Matthew Jackson and Tyler Lockerby of Kelowna for saving 4 people from a vehicle submerged in Griffin Lake.
Two ordinary people - two heroes in our community.
In fact, as we approach Remembrance Day, quite a few heroes in our community come to mind.
As a young boy growing up in a middle class family in Edmonton, Remembrance Day was always an important reminder of what it meant to make the ultimate sacrifice for others.  Like most people, our family honoured our brave men and women in uniform by purchasing poppies, reciting In Flanders Fields and pausing for a moment of silence on a chilly November day precisely at the 11th hour on the 11th day.
So many of those heroes have left us but others remain, especially Canada’s young veterans returning from Afghanistan. 
They all deserve to be honoured.
Such was the case when I attended the funeral of Bishop Fraser Berry. 
Bishop Berry, a recipient of a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, was a member of the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
Back here at home, he was a lifelong member of the Royal Canadian Legion and Chaplain to the Okanagan division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans' Association.  Right up to his passing, at the age of 85, Bishop Berry continued to remain active in our community helping Veterans and their families, always putting others first.
I’m meeting with our Veterans and their families while I am in the riding this week and will be attending some of the local Remembrance Day ceremonies.  
Once again this year, it will be my honour to accompany Mary Cardiff (also a recipient of the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation) at some of the ceremonies for Veterans confined to hospital and retirement and home care facilities. Many of the seniors have health issues which limit their mobility making it impossible for them to attend services at one of our cenotaphs.
Thanks to Mary’s efforts in the past 25 years, our Veterans have been able to participate in this important day of remembrance and I know from speaking with them that it means so much.
One resident of Three Links Manor certainly was appreciative.  Remarkably, four generations of her family members served in the Canadian Forces so it’s important for her to have the opportunity to honour that legacy.
I hope you’re proudly wearing a poppy and plan on taking the time this Friday to join with our community to honour our Veterans at one of our cenotaphs in Lake Country, Lion’s Park in Rutland or Kelowna City Park. 
Please keep in mind members from our BC Dragoons who are serving in Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers for a safe return home go out to them and their loved ones.
While you’re remembering their sacrifice, I hope you’ll also take heart knowing that all around us in our community there are good people willing to do what it takes to help each other when we need it the most. These are the heroes who walk among us and it’s quite possible you are one of them.  
Ron Cannan is the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.  If any of you have any questions or comments on federally-related matters, please contact Ron at [email protected] or by phone at 470-5075.

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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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