Opportunity for small businesses

It was busy in the riding prior to my return to Parliament for our winter session, which began on January 26th.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosted a very productive pre-budget round table with community business leaders and my colleague, the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue.

Key suggestions for the Government of Canada were to continue to cut red tape, and to simplify, enhance and introduce services to meet the needs of Canadian small businesses so they can focus more of their time on what they do best: creating jobs and economic growth in our communities.

As the Prime Minister announced, the Government intends to make changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Program which will provide more opportunity for small businesses to apply for loans to purchase or improve their land or buildings. The changes to the program will make loans available to more firms by increasing the revenue threshold under which a small business can apply, and will support business start-up and growth by increasing the maximum loan amount and the maximum term length for loans financing the purchase or improvement of land and buildings.

It was a pleasure to represent the Minister of Sport, the Honourable Bal Gosal, at the 2015 Canada Snowboard IPC Para World Cup held at the Big White Ski Resort. Four Sochi Olympians were in attendance, plus a team of four Canadian para-snowboarders. These amazing athletes and ambassadors of sport included John Leslie, Alex Massie, Michelle Salt and Daniel Shoemaker. Thanks to Michael J and his Big White Team for being such a great host!

Our riding also had the opportunity to host the VP of Government Operations for Blackberry, Morgan Elliott. We met with some great innovative start-up companies who are working with Accelerate Okanagan and spent time at the UBCO campus and met with faculty, students and officials of Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR). STAR brings together industry, government and the university to bring innovative technologies to market. This was Morgan’s first trip to the Okanagan, hopefully the first of many!

I want to thank Kelowna Legion Branch #26 for organizing an information meeting for our veterans with myself and my colleagues MP Laurie Hawn and MP Dan Albas. The turnout was good and the opportunity to talk was welcomed by our veterans.

While many of the vets had few problems, some were frustrated. That’s what forums are for and we won’t shy away from valid criticisms. That’s our job and we are on their side.

Feedback will be shared with the Minister of Veterans Affairs who, like us, is committed to listening to our veterans and making the system work in a more timely and efficient manner. This is a work in progress and we will continue to work hard to find ways to help our veterans receive the services they deserve. Thanks again to all our veterans for their service and those presently serving and protecting our nation.

Finally, last Friday was my 9th year serving as your Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country. Thank you for this honour and for the privilege to be your voice in Ottawa.

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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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