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].

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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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