Cannan: Federal government invests in education, innovation for a prosperous economy

Post secondary research sparks the creation of new knowledge, products, services and policies that support Canada’s economy.

We often hear that Canada’s prosperity as a nation is increasingly based on investments in education and training, basic and applied research, and highly skilled and creative individuals.

Since 2006, our federal government has invested nearly $8 billion in funding for initiatives supporting science, technology, post secondary education, and the growth of innovation firms in Canada to create the knowledge and skilled workforce that is required for a more prosperous economy.

Particularly in our post secondary institutions, we look to support post secondary research that sparks the creation of new knowledge, products, services and policies that support Canada’s economic competitiveness, strengthen social foundations, sustain the environment and improve our quality of life.

That is why Prime Minister Harper and the federal government introduced the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program in Budget 2008.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, named for distinguished Canadian soldier and diplomat Major-General the Right Honourable Georges Philias Vanier (1888-1967) and Governor General of Canada from 1959 to 1967, aim to attract and retain world-class scholars and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health.

Scholarship recipients are awarded $50,000 each year for up to three years and are open to both Canadian and international PhD students studying at Canadian universities.

Scholarship candidates must go through a rigorous selection process including evaluation by selection committees established by Canada’s three research granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  Recommendations are made and then endorsed by the Vanier-Banting Board.

It gives me great pleasure to note that the Chair if the Vanier-Banting Board is none other than Kelowna’s own Robert Thirsk the distinguished engineer, physician and Canadian Space Agency astronaut who holds the Canadian records for the longest space flight (187 days 20 hours) and the most time spent in space (204 days 18 hours).   Mr. Thirsk was awarded the Order of British Columbia (OBC) this year.

The recent announcement of 156 scholarships in August 2012 brings the total number of scholarships awarded since the inception of the program to 660. Of the recently announced 156 scholarships, 24 were awarded to graduates studying at BC universities including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria.

The deadline for nomination by university in the next round of scholarships is November 6, 2012 (8:00 p.m. Eastern time).  Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the Canadian university at which they would like to study to determine the application deadline.  Those interested may also visit the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships website for more information at  www.vanier.gc.ca.

In closing, I would like to wish all those students heading back to school all the best in this coming school year.   Work hard and your efforts will be rewarded.

I’d also like to remind people that the Kelowna Community Resources 15th Annual Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair will be taking place on Saturday September 8th, 2012 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, Kelowna.  Over 75 non-profit organizations will be there interested in meeting you, sharing their vision and passion for our community, and offering ideas about how you can make a difference.  I encourage anyone with a passion for giving back to the community to attend.

I continue to work out of my constituency office until I return to Ottawa for the Sept. 15 opening of the next parliamentary session.  Should you wish to meet or to share questions or concerns about any of the federal government’s programs and services, please do not hesitate to contact me at 250 470-5075 or via e-mail at ron@cannan.ca.