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MP-Report

Improving Cdn. financial literacy

My colleague, James Rajotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Leduc and Chair of the Finance Committee has introduced M-269, a motion aimed at improving the financial literacy of all Canadians. 
 
The motion builds on the government’s efforts thus far to improve the financial knowledge of Canadians, primarily through the establishment of the national Task Force on Financial Literacy.
 
Mr. Rajotte’s motion asks the government to continue its efforts and push forward on the Task Force’s recommendations including requesting the government to create, promote, and continuously upgrade a single source website for financial literacy to increase public awareness and ease access to information for Canadians; require federally regulated financial institutions to publicly disclose their contributions to financial literacy initiatives; ensure the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada works with willing provinces and territories to promote financial literacy to youth through the educational system; and designate November as "Financial Literacy Month".
 
I for one enthusiastically support the motion.
 
As a father of three daughters just beginning to strike out on their own, I can see that their generation is long on financial options but short on the know-how to maneuver through the choices they have at their disposal.
 
And I’m particularly concerned about the number of seniors who don’t know how to navigate the financial choices out there, especially when it comes to investing their savings. 
 
A better understanding of the options available will surely help everyone.
 
As my colleague Mr. Rajotte said in his remarks on his motion, “We live in a world today where technology is constantly changing, as is personal finance. Only a few decades ago, credit cards were a luxury item. Debit cards did not even exist. Online banking and buying could not even be conceived as they happen today. Mortgage products were standard and choice was limited.  Today, Canadians are faced with increasingly complex financial decisions that have greater potential consequences, and at a younger age than ever before. Each financial decision has consequences, for individuals and families and for our economy as a whole.”
 
The final report released by the Task Force on Financial Literacy found that only 51 percent of Canadians maintain a personal budget and that 31 percent of Canadians struggle to pay their bills.  It also showed the more educated Canadians were, the better they managed their finances.
 
It is our responsibility as parliamentarians to ensure that Canadians have access to the best information and education available so that consumers can meet their financial obligations and plan for a solid future.
 
The motion will be debated for a second hour early in the new year, and Mr. Rajotte is hopeful that all parliamentarians will support this crucial initiative.
 
In the meantime, if you have any views on the matter you would like to share, please feel free to send them to me at [email protected] or directly to Mr. Rajotte at [email protected], by twitter at www.twitter.com/jamesrajotte, or by phone at (780)-495-4351.
 
Canadians and Their Money: Building a Brighter Financial Future released by the Task Force on Financial Literacy in December, 2010, is available at http://financialliteracyincanada.com/pdf/canadians-and-their-money-1-report-eng.pdf
 
 
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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