Goodwill and a true Christmas tale

At this time of year, during the Christmas season, Members of Parliament can usually count on a few gatherings which bring MPs from all parties together without the customary partisan grumblings getting in the way.
It happens in the House of Commons as well.  MPs can and do work together to make changes to laws that clearly need to be changed.
In fact, if you were able to catch the debate on C-311 recently, you would have seen a House of Commons united in a common purpose. 
C-311 is a private members bill tabled by my colleague Dan Albas in relation to the work we have been doing to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act of 1928 (IILA).
The current legislation prevents Canadians from purchasing wine from a Canadian winery, if it means they must transport it across provincial boundaries to get it home.  Currently, wine can only cross provincial boundaries if it is first consigned to a liquor control authority.
It’s an outdated concept in today’s direct to consumer world that creates both unwanted red tape for small business and unnecessary barriers to interprovincial trade.  
The world-class vineyards of the Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Vancouver and Gulf Islands are great examples of the type of small businesses that are succeeding in rural British Columbia.  These small businesses are producing world class wine, employing hundreds and have tremendous potential for further growth, especially in the Agri-tourism sector in our region.
Creating a personal exemption clause in the IILA and facilitating direct to consumer purchasing will help our local wineries grow and allow Canadians from coast to coast to coast to enjoy the amazing award-winning wines we produce in this great country. 
The passage of C 311 will be a win-win for everyone.  The key now will be for the Province to support C-311 and our local winemakers by providing a meaningful personal exemption to make the changes worthwhile.
A True Christmas Tale
Here’s a story from the CBC program Land and Sea (www.cbc.ca/landandsea ) that you must see if you can.  It’s about the generosity of strangers and reaching out to each other in a time of need.    
In 2010, Newfoundland and its remote communities were hit hard by Hurricane Igor.  The plight of the people touched the women of the Rutland Senior Centre so much that they got to work and created a number of beautiful handmade quilts, which they sent to residents in Newfoundland by mail.
The gesture was deeply felt by the recipients:  “They must have thought of us….I can’t get over people being so good like that.  Somebody’s thinking of you somehow,” said Ruth Ricketts, a senior citizen.”
“It was good luck wasn’t it?  It’s not winning a million dollars, it’s the kind of luck that involves heart and thought and soul…  It makes me feel rich,” said Beverly Batten, another quilt recipient.
I can’t think of a truer Christmas story, one of kindness and friendship reaching across the miles, and I hope you will take a moment this busy time of year to go to www.cbc.ca/landandsea and have a listen.  It will warm your heart.
Thanks to the quilters of the Rutland Senior Centre for your caring and compassion and thank you to all the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country for being such a great community.  It is an honour to represent you in Parliament and I look forward to working on your behalf in the New Year. 
I’ll be home for Christmas.  Should you wish to meet or need my help, don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to [email protected] or call 250 470-5075.
Have a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!
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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