Local teacher honoured

On July 13, 2015 the Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, presented the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation to local secondary school teacher Don Bingham of Kelowna.  

Don is a social studies teacher at Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) and has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to ensure that his students and fellow teachers understand the important place our Veterans have in Canada’s history and why we honour them through acts of remembrance like our annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Don is the second KSS teacher to be honoured in this way.  Last year, KSS teacher Graeme Stacey, who was instrumental in having the story of Hong Kong Veterans of the Second World War included in a resource guide for British Columbia social studies teachers, also received the Commendation.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting their classrooms and witnessed their dedication, enthusiasm & passion for their students and our veterans.  

It’s great to see their years of effort acknowledged in such a meaningful way.

In addition to organizing, maintaining, and acting as master of ceremonies for the school’s Remembrance Day assembly, Don has created a moving PowerPoint presentation on the importance of the school’s ceremony, which explains the protocol set out by the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL). 
He has also tailored another presentation to promote the reasons we mark Remembrance Day and its value to Canada, describing Kelowna’s contributions to Canada’s 20th century military history through the use of local stories, artifacts, primary source images, pictures, and diaries. 

Don has also forged a partnership with the Okanagan Military Museum to have every Grade 11 Social Studies students visit the museum and be taught by local military experts and have museum representatives visit the school and provide a chronicle of Canadians in Conflict from the Boer War to Afghanistan.

In 2012, Don travelled to Juno Beach with local students and has sought to raise funds to commemorate Kelowna’s casualties of WWII, including a plaque to be inscribed by the students of Kelowna Secondary School and laid at the Juno Beach Centre. 

The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation was created in 2001 by warrant of the Governor General and with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.   Although the Commendation is intended primarily for Veterans, it may be awarded to non-Veterans who have supported the Veteran community in some way.

Anyone in the community who knows of someone who would be worthy of this honour can nominate them through Veterans Affairs Canada.  You can learn more about the nomination process at veterans.gc.ca or if you have any questions, please contact my office at 250 470-5075.  
I would like to congratulate Don Bingham and Graham Stacey and thank them both for their important contribution to keeping the history and memory of our Veterans alive, especially in the hearts and minds of our young people.

I also want to thank all those in our community who in one way or another support our local Veterans.  They are important to us and we must continue to do all we can to support them.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].


Respecting citizenship

A few constituents have written to me concerned by misinformation that dual citizens in Canada are under attack because of legislation that was passed by Parliament to strengthen the integrity of Canadian citizenship.

I want to assure constituents it is not the case.

In an effort to underscore our government’s commitment to protecting the safety and security of Canadians and reinforce the value of Canadian citizenship, Bill C-24 enabled the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens and deny it to permanent residents (PRs) when they are members in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada, or are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence.

There have been numerous attempts to amend the Citizenship Act since 1977 without success, yet our government has succeeded in making some significant changes: we enacted legislation to provide that children adopted overseas could acquire Canadian citizenship by grant rather than going through the naturalization process; and granted Canadian citizenship to groups of people known as “lost Canadians”.

Through C-24 we have also streamlined Canada’s citizenship program to reduce processing times; aligned citizenship application fees with the actual cost, relieving the burden on Canadian taxpayers who currently subsidize 80 percent of the cost; require a physical presence in Canada to qualify for citizenship, as well as language requirements and a knowledge test to ensure that new citizens are better prepared to fully participate in Canadian society; and established stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation.

Canadians who embrace their citizenship and have strong ties to Canada, including those who hold dual citizenship, fully expect the government to uphold the integrity of citizenship.

I attend several citizenship ceremonies a year and get to witness that special moment when new Canadians take the citizenship oath. So many who have chosen to come to Canada from other countries or have parents and grandparents who did the same, have done so in order to live in a country that is tolerant and peaceful, to have the opportunity to provide for their families, and contribute to building what is surely one of the best countries in which to live.

Part of being Canadian is to respect the contribution that immigration has made to this great country and it is why we continue to support a very generous immigration system; more than 85 percent of eligible permanent residents in Canada go on to become citizens. 

As fellow citizens we share an expectation of each other to take part in our democratic way of life, our economic potential, and our rich cultural traditions. As our Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the honourable Chris Alexander has reiterated, citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to the values rooted in our history.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

Science funding for UBC-O

As a top priority of the federal government, science and research funding was again front and center when our Minister of State for Science and Technology, the Honourable Ed Holder announced that UBC Okanagan researchers were the recipients of more than $2.6 million in financial grants, fellowships, and scholarships via the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The funding helps researchers as they make new discoveries in science and engineering that push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs, opportunities, and improve the quality of life of Canadians.

Congratulations to Deborah Buszard, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus, and all the recipients.


Trade and the Investor State Dispute Mechanism

Gus Van Harten has once again been given the opportunity in our local media to share his views on Canada’s trade efforts and the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

As a long-time member of the Standing Committee on International Trade I have heard similar arguments a number of times from Mr. Van Harten and the NDP which have been rejected by trade experts, including Canada’s chief trade negotiators.

Canada is a leader in dispute settlement transparency. Hearings are open to the public and documents are available on the DFATD's website.

Canada explicitly safeguards health, safety and environmental protections in investment agreements. Nothing prevents the Parties from regulating in the public interest. Nothing allows foreign companies or a Tribunal to force a government to change its laws and regulations.

Foreign investors are subject to the exact same laws and regulations as domestic investors, including those aimed at protecting the environment and ensuring high labour, health and safety standards.

Providing companies that invest abroad, including Canada, with a safe and predictable investment environment and an effective and enforceable ISDS mechanism benefits businesses and provides a clear signal that countries intend to maintain an attractive destination for investment. 

Canadians have been the clear beneficiaries: our overwhelmingly positive trade relationship with the US has resulted in US investments in Canada of well over $300 billion under NAFTA.

Robust investment and trade is essential to supporting Canadian companies, creating jobs, and maintaining strong economic growth.  Our sovereignty is secure and Canada will continue to pursue a robust trade agenda, one that is fair and beneficial to Canadians.


Infrastructure Update on Highway Improvements

Infrastructure support is essential to growth in the local and regional economy and many have asked about the status of some of our local transportation projects.

MLA Norm Letnick and I recently met with the BC Ministry of Transportation and were informed that plans are 90% complete for the Hwy 97 Edwards Rd. to Hwy 33, as well as the John Hindle Dr. connection from Glenmore Rd. to UBCO and Hwy 97.  Major intersection improvements on Hwy 97 at Oceola Road are starting this month and expected to finish in the fall of 2015.  Upgrades will improve pedestrian and vehicular safety by installing new crosswalks, acceleration lane, raised centre medians, new signal with left turn advances and more. 

Lastly, Parliament has recessed and I am home working in the riding and meeting regularly with constituents.  If you have any questions or would like to talk about any federal issues or concerns, please feel free to contact me at: [email protected]  or 250-470-5075.


Protect women and girls

As a father of three grown daughters, I proudly support the action our Government is taking to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls.

It was our Government that established the special committee on missing and murdered aboriginal women in 2013 and it was our Government, under the strong leadership of the Minister of Status of Women, the Hnonourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, that responded to the committee’s findings in its report Invisible Women: A Call to Action by announcing Canada’s Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes against Aboriginal Women and Girls.  

Our Government has invested millions of dollars in community-based projects which support preventing and ending violence against women and girls, including funding programs and services that support victims, improving community safety by giving law enforcement the tools to fight crimes that target women and girls such as online exploitation and human trafficking, providing matrimonial rights for women on reserve, and strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system through tougher penalties for violent crimes.

The stark reality is that women and girls continue to face violence and exploitation in their homes, schools, workplaces, online and on the streets.   Statistics show that one in three women in Canada will experience sexual assault at some point in their lives, especially young women between the ages of 15-24.

That is why in May, I was pleased to invite local organizations to participate in a roundtable discussion to discuss ways in which we as a community can work together to end exploitation and violence against women and girls in Kelowna-Lake Country. 

My co-hosts were the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and MP Joy Smith, a long-time advocate for the protection of women and girls. 

The feedback was positive and the work that is being done by local organizations is outstanding.

As my colleague MP Joy Smith noted, “Creating a society in which violence against women is no longer tolerated will take ongoing commitment and continuous dialogue."

And as Karen Mason, Executive Director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter noted, “Exploitation and violence against women and girls are complex, multi-layered issues which require a collaborative approach if we are going to make inroads to solving them.”

Violence against women and girls is an ongoing challenge in our society requiring cooperation and vigilance by all levels of government, law enforcement, communities and families.  Misleading information and partisan politics has no place here; it is counter-productive and does not reflect the genuine sense of responsibility we all share and want to encourage.

I want to thank those in our community who work so hard to deliver the programs and services that support women and girls, including all those who came out recently to support the Party in Pink Gala fundraiser for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.  Not only are you helping to change lives, it is because of you that we are making progress.


Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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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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