An eye on the future

On November 30, 2011, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Denis Lebel, launched the formal engagement process that will bring together the Government of Canada, provinces, territories, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and others to develop a new long-term plan for public infrastructure beyond the expiry of the Building Canada plan in 2014.

Our government has long recognized the critical importance infrastructure plays in supporting the business and tourism sectors, job creation and long-term growth across the country.

The seven-year, $33-billion Building Canada plan, introduced in Budget 2007, was unprecedented. More importantly, it represented the stable, predictable infrastructure funding our municipalities were calling for.

I particularly valued its emphasis on partnership with the provinces and the municipalities and its bottom-up approach, which ensured that municipalities, like our own in Kelowna-Lake Country, could build the infrastructure needed to support our economic viability and growth.

Under Building Canada, and the subsequent recession-proofing Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, we successfully completed local infrastructure projects including: Hwy 97/33, the pedestrian overpass, multi-use corridors, the Gordon Rd. Bridge, recreational facilities, eco-upgrades at UBC, water quality supply improvements, the airport runway expansion, and local transit expansion.

With the process for further long term funding, coupled with our government’s commitment to make the $2 billion Gas Tax Fund permanent, municipalities can continue to count on stable and predictable funding to help support their local infrastructure priorities.


Now that the Building Canada fund is nearing the end of its lifespan, the Government has begun implementation of a three-phased, federally-led engagement process for the development of a long-term infrastructure plan. The first two phases are analytical and will involve working with our partners and stakeholders to take stock of our joint accomplishments to date and build our knowledge base on gaps and priorities.

Beginning in the spring of 2012, we will have in-depth discussions with partners to confirm the broad principles and orientation of an infrastructure plan beyond the expiry of the Building Canada plan.

There will be significant engagement with all key partners and stakeholders throughout the entire process.

At the end of the process one of the key outcomes will be to provide the Minister of Finance with a report in late fall of 2012 that will outline key findings from the process that could inform the direction of a long-term infrastructure plan beyond the expiry of the Building Canada plan.

I’ll keep you posted on any new developments related to the long term renewal process. Until then, as always, I welcome your input. If you feel you can add to the process don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. If you want to meet, I’ll be working out of the Constituency office the last week before Christmas.

As our local industries and business sectors continue to innovate and flourish, and as the communities of the Okanagan Valley continue to grow and prosper, it is going to be even more important to modernize and expand our local infrastructure.

I look forward to my first quarterly meeting with our 3 MLA’s, newly elected Mayor Gray, and the local Chambers of Commerce to discuss this initiative further in early 2012.

I’m confident that if we continue to work closely together and set our priorities wisely, as we have done in the past, we will ensure that our communities will be in great shape, creating good jobs and new opportunities for our citizens, for generations to come.

Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.

More MP Report articles

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.

Previous Stories