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Cannan: Federal budget will be all about the economy

The 2011 budget will be delivered by the federal government on Tuesday, March 22.

It represents the next phase of the government’s Economic Action Plan, which to date, with the hard work and perseverance of Canadians, has been effective in helping Canada weather the global economic downturn.

It’s important we keep the economic momentum going. I hope the federal budget will be supported by the Opposition so we can continue to focus on building up our economy and creating more jobs.

***

While in Ottawa this week, I had a good meeting with Joe Sardinha and Glen Lucas, representing the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association, to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the tree fruit industry in the Okanagan.

The federal and provincial governments continue to work together to support the tree fruit industry, most recently through a $5 million investment to help the industry develop new marketing opportunities, infrastructure and further improve orchard pest management.

It’s important that we do all we can to support our local orchardists and help them remain competitive in the global marketplace.

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I’m also anticipating a meeting to be held shortly with representatives of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, local MLAs Norm Letnick, Ben Stewart and Steve Thomson and Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

I find these quarterly meetings very valuable as it gives each of us the opportunity to share issues and ideas and figure out how we can work together to better serve and support the community.

One such area where we have committed to work together involves area cyclists.

Cycling is not only a favourite pastime for many families, including my own, but it’s an important mode of transport for UBC Okanagan students on campus who ride their bike to the university year round.

However, students have some real concerns regarding their safety enroute to the campus.

For that reason, Shepherd, Letnick, B.C. Ministry of Transportation staff and I had a recent meeting with the students and will be working together with UBCO to increase the safety of the cycling corridor for the students and staff who ride to the campus.

As spring approaches, it’s an important reminder to us all to share the road so cycling can be a safe pursuit.

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One last item of interest is the federal government’s work to reduce the red tape burden on small and medium-sized businesses.

In January,  Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Red Tape Reduction Commission, with the mandate to hear from small business owners about their major red tape concerns.

The roundtable consultation process has almost concluded. The commission will soon provide an interim report in the spring, with our final report to come in the fall, but there is still an opportunity to participate.

I encourage local businesses to go to www.reduceredtape.gc.ca and share your concerns and solutions.

You provided our finance minister with some excellent feedback for this year’s budget. I have no doubt your common sense will help us achieve our goal of reducing red tape.

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Next week, March 14 to 20, I will be back in the riding to meet with constituents, attend local events and knock on a few doors.

Anyone wishing to make an appointment can call my constituency office at 250-470-5075. Alternatively, feel free at anytime to drop me a line at ron@cannan.ca.

Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

 

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