As a top priority of the federal government, science and research funding was again front and centre 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.
Grant for museum
The Kelowna Museums Society will broaden its conservation skills thanks to $8,942 in funding through the Museums Assistance Program.
This funding will enable the society to partner with multiple heritage organizations to present a series of workshops to foster specialized conservation practices for textile, paper and object collections. The workshops will be held at the Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory in Kelowna—the only facility of its kind in British Columbia outside of the Lower Mainland.
The project will build and strengthen regional conservation knowledge by bringing together staff from the Kelowna Museums Society, as well as from the Sncewips Heritage Museum in Westbank and the SS Sicamous Paddle Wheeler and Heritage Park in Penticton.
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 per cent complete for the Hwy 97 Edwards Rd. to Hwy 33, as well as the John Hindle Dr. connection from Glenmore Road to UBCO and Hwy 97.
Major intersection improvements on Hwy 97 at Oceola Road are starting this month and are 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, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-470-5075.