As we head toward the Thanksgiving weekend, there are a few things that have happened in Ottawa for which I am thankful.
My colleague Okanagan- Coquihalla Member of Parliament Dan Albas tabled Bill C-311, which builds on my motions M 218 and M 601.
C-311 seeks to amend the archaic Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act by creating an exemption that will allow individuals to transport wine for personal consumption across provincial borders without breaking the law.
Coming from the Okanagan Valley, which is home to a number of internationally award winning wineries, the proposed amendment will produce immediate benefits to the BC wine and culinary tourism sector. Not only will it generate jobs and create secondary economic activity, it will enhance consumer accessibility to BC wine and improve marketing options and sales to a larger consumer base.
I spoke with Premier Christy Clark in June when she met with our national BC caucus and she indicated she was willing to help move the issue forward.
With the resounding support already expressed from Canadian wine producers and consumers alike, Dan’s efforts are well-timed and will be a win-win for everyone especially in our province of BC and here in the Okanagan.
Economic indicators continue to look up for the business sector as well.
This week Forbes, the influential business magazine, has ranked Canada as the best country in the world to do business.
Forbes magazine also declared that “Canada’s economy has held up better than most”, praising our low-tax plan for Canadian businesses.
This comes on top of the fact that Canada has the strongest job growth record in the G–7, with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009; that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts Canada will have the strongest overall economic growth in the G-7 over the next two years; that we have the lowest total government net debt-to-GDP ratio in the entire G-7; that the World Economic Forum ranks Canada’s financial system as the soundest in the world for the fourth consecutive year; and that Moody’s has renewed Canada’s AAA credit rating due to our “economic resiliency, very high government financial strength, and a low susceptibility to event risk”.
I know that the global economic downturn is still cause for some anxiety but we can be thankful that Canadians are weathering the global economic challenges in relatively good shape and that the federal government remains focussed on the economy as the top priority.
As one of our wisest constituents said amid some very tough times, all he wanted was enough and that more than enough was too much.
These are not the words of someone who lived through the Great Depression. These were the words of 9 year old Caleb Lanz, a young boy in our constituency who passed away on September 24th after a 20 month battle with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) a rare form of brain cancer.
Attending the memorial service with my wife Cindy, it was clear that Caleb had touched many hearts and our thoughts and prayers are with Caleb’s mum Shelley, his dad Calvin, his sister Avery and their extended family and friends.
As we sit down together this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope we will remember this young man’s courage and determination. Even in the toughest of times we can smile in the face of fear and love with the fullest of hearts.
I wish each of you, your family and friends, a Happy Thanksgiving. May you always have enough.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country