Keeping history alive

All year, I look forward to the summer months so I can get back home and reconnect with as many of you as I can.
Canada Day is a good jumping off point and it was good to see so many of you out and about with your families at the various celebrations taking place in our riding of Kelowna-Lake Country.
Kelowna Canada Day Orchestra performed one of their best concerts in their 19 year history followed by the fireworks display which capped off a wonderful day of celebration and sunshine. And it was great to see Ben Lee and his team members be recognized for starting Kelowna Folkfest 40 years ago. 
Folkfest is as popular as ever and continues to provide all of us an opportunity to learn more about the various cultures in our community through great food and the arts.  In great Canadian fashion, a little bit of something for everyone! A big thanks has to go the hundreds of volunteers who worked hard throughout the year to make July 1 such a great day for the rest of us.
July 1st also marks the beginning of Canadian History Week.
Canadian History Week runs until July 7th and is an excellent opportunity to keep the spirit of Canada Day alive and learn about our country’s history from coast to coast to coast. Many of us can agree that the older we grow, the more important it is that we learn as much as we can about our history and the different cultures and people who have made us the great nation we are today. 
Much like our own family histories, we can only keep history alive if we pass it on to our young people, which I try to do with my two grandsons. Yet, studies have shown that Canadians lack knowledge of our history and wish they knew more. With this in mind, our government has formally made July 1 to 7 Canada History Week, to provide Canadians of all ages, from coast to coast to coast an opportunity to get actively involved in learning about our country’s history.
To make that easier, our Government, through the efforts of Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and his team, has been undertaking a series of initiatives to showcase our history and our people. Minister Moore has announced the creation of the Canada History Fund, which will connect youth to their history through the first ever Government of Canada History Awards, honouring outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history. 
Teachers can have such a profound impact on students and I’m sure we all have memories of our school days and favourite teachers.  Schooled in Edmonton, I remember a fun class called Western Canadian History. Two teachers, Mr. Malcolm and Mr. McLean collaborated to form Mal-Mac Productions and taught the class in a fun and interactive way. Something I still remember today, over 35 years later.
The Government will also partner with the Historica-Dominion Institute to create two new Heritage Minutes per year between now and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. 
Additionally, existing programs at Canadian Heritage will be strengthened to improve access to funding for local organizations that wish to promote Canadian history in their communities, including local museums and youth groups.
More information is available at www.pch.gc.ca.
These initiatives are a great way to become better acquainted with Canada’s history, but it will need every one of us to do our part. 
Whether recounting the stories that built our nation or  our communities, by sharing them, we can tell the whole story of Canada and keep our history alive.
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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