Talking to constituents

Many of you have been asking for my viewpoint on matters regarding the Senate and I appreciate the time constituents have taken to share their views. 
As a taxpayer I share your concerns and frustrations as to recent events in the Senate of Canada.

It is the duty of all elected and appointed officials to conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity and Canadians have a right to expect Members of Parliament and Senators to respect the rules and guidelines set out for them.
I remain vigilant in this respect, as do the majority of parliamentarians.    

For those elected and appointed officials who believe they are above the rules, the Prime Minister has been clear: “anyone, who wants to use public office for their own benefit, should make other plans.”
As for the decisions made by the former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, the matter has been referred to the Ethics Commissioner. 
Senate reform remains important to Canadians.  That is why our government put senate reform on the national agenda and colleagues from the Senate have agreed to support our efforts to achieve fundamental reform. 

In an effort to move senate reform forward, the Government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to comment on whether the reforms we have proposed can be accomplished by Parliament alone. Those reforms include term limits for senators, democratic selection of senate nominees, and net worth and property qualifications for senators.  The Government has also asked the Court to rule on options for abolishing the Senate completely. 
While we await the response of the Supreme Court, the Government has also committed to taking further steps in the area of Senate expenditure and accountability, to accelerate changes to the Senate’s rules on expenses, and close any loopholes in those existing rules.
In the meantime, the Government will continue to remain focussed on the economy and passing the budget bill before the House of Commons rises for the summer.
Canada remains the best economy in the G7, and as Economic Action Plan 2013 showed, we are well on our way to balancing the federal budget by 2015. 
Back here at home, a positive working relationship between the Mayors and their Councils from Kelowna and Lake Country, our 3 MLA's, and myself has resulted in significant funding for various projects and programs that are benefiting our communities.
I look forward to continuing to work with our three MLAs who successfully retained their seats in the recent provincial election.
The election results, which flew in the face of the pundits’ predictions, are a good reminder that what you read and hear from “the experts” is not always accurate. 
In my view, talking directly to constituents, the grassroots, is still the best way to gauge what matters to the communities we represent.
To all the constituents who take the time to share their views and concerns with me, thank you.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond.  Though we may not always agree, we are certainly better for having had a conversation with each other.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca .

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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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