Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr (left) along with, among others, defense minister Harjit Singh Sajjan (second from right) - Image: Contributed

Keeping the Okanagan on the Federal Radar

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr’s column

By Stephen Fuhr

We have had the opportunity to welcome several Cabinet Ministers and both Pacific and National caucus to the Okanagan, a clear demonstration of the commitment by our government to listen and work with us to support and grow our local and regional economy.

I want to thank Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Alaina Lockhart, MP, for spending a week here in the Okanagan and getting to know the people and the issues in our riding.

Together, Alaina and I attended the Canadian Accelerator Summit and the BC Tourism Industry Conference, where we met with a number of great local businesses, and stopped by Okanagan College to speak with some of the folks auditioning for Dragons’ Den.

We also had the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day by sitting down and talking with local women entrepreneurs from our community.

The number of private businesses majority-owned by women in the small and medium sized enterprise landscape has grown in Canada, and women in Canada are more involved in business start-ups than in most other OECD countries, yet they are less likely than male entrepreneurs to seek to grow their businesses and to export.

Alaina’s visit provided an opportunity to discuss the barriers that are preventing growth, and to highlight the proposals in Budget 2018 that will help women entrepreneurs access talent, networks, expertise, and $1.4 billion in financing through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

Our community also welcomed Minister of Defence, the honorable Harjit Singh Sajjan, back to the Okanagan.

While here, the Minister announced the launch of the Full-Time Summer Employment program for CAF Reservists, supporting our commitment to employing new and recently enrolled members of the Reserves; and participated in a roundtable with our Okanagan orchardists to discuss issues surrounding the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).

According to the Canadian Horticulture Council, Canadian farmers feed 36 million Canadians and people around the world, employ 2.3M Canadians, and contribute $108 Billion to Canada’s GDP.

Additionally, last year’s federal budget committed to growing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

Both Minister Sajjan and I recognize that in order to maintain growth and expand exports, our growers must be able to count on programs like SAWP to fill their labour needs in time for their growing and harvest seasons. We are working to improve current delays and ensuring our growers are supported.

Rounding out his visit, Minister Sajjan also had the opportunity to visit the UBC Okanagan campus for a discussion of innovation in advanced manufacturing and composite materials and a tour of STAR research labs.

As the Minister observed, cutting edge equipment for our CAF women and men often starts in the lab through collaboration between academia and industry. That is why Budget 2018 is providing historic funding for research and innovation through collaboration, support UBCO researchers and encouraging innovative approaches like UNCO’s Learning Factory.

Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to make these visits worthwhile. You have once again demonstrated that the Okanagan is a driving force in Canadian entrepreneurship and innovation and making an essential contribution to economic growth for the benefit of the whole country.

Stephen Fuhr is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna production company keeps filming through COVID-19 pandemic

DCD Productions uses drones so crew can keep their physical distance

Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Total accumulations of up to 25 cm can be expected by this evening

Crews repair damage caused by water main break in Lake Country

The water main broke during construction last year

70-year-old Kelowna man arrested after report of shots fired inside a home

The incident occurred just after 4 p.m. on March 28 in Kelowna

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Canadian COVID-19 update: Cases spike in Quebec & Ontario; Nine O’Clock Gun salutes health workers

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 12:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

WATCH: Police, fire rally for Vernon hospital workers in COVID-19 fight

Sirens blaring and pots clanging, residents and emergency responders cheer on nurses, doctors

North Okanagan woman helps others apply for EI amid COVID-19

Pandemic has locals retooling skillsets to help others

North Okanagan woman sews masks amid pandemic

Masks offer sense of safety and people need that now, says Becca Hoffmann

COVID-19: No fines to be issued by Vernon bylaw

Officers can provide assistance ‘as may be required for purposes of enforcing public health orders’

One dead, three others injured following stabbing in Kamloops

Police arrested 43-year-old man at 1 a.m. on Sunday

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

’The energy sector is destroyed beyond repair’: expert on COVID-19’s impact on economy

‘That’s never been heard of before; no one sells oil for $4 a barrel.’ – Dan McTeague

Most Read