Opinion

Cannan: Central Okanagan EDC receives matching federal funds

t was a pleasure this week to announce that the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission received funding under the Invest Canada-Community Initiatives (ICCI) program, which provides matching federal funds to help communities attract, retain and expand investment.

Investment is a key driver to creating jobs and opportunities for hard-working Canadians and their families

The COEDC will use the funds to help develop a business investment guide.

As the Commission’s hardworking director Robert Fine noted, “The guide will provide a detailed description of the investment climate in the region including cost of doing business, incentives, competitive advantages, skilled workforce information, infrastructure and R & D capacities; these assets will be communicated in a style that is cross cultural and visually appealing to readers including the availability of the guide in multiple languages. The Region has a great story to tell and this project will allow us to do exactly that, in a strategic way.  Foreign investors are feeling increasingly confident about Canada, evidenced by the fact that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Canada have increased for the fourth consecutive year. This was the highest amount of FDI coming into Canada since 2008.”

Canada is the easiest place in the G-7 to start a business, according to the World Bank and the best country in the G-20 for business, according to both Forbes and Bloomberg.

The Economist Intelligence Unit says Canada is the best country among the G-7 to do business over the next five years from 2014-2018.

In this positive business climate it is important to continue to attract foreign investment.

One in 10 working Canadians is employed by foreign-owned companies in Canada, and foreign-owned companies account for as much as 45 percent of Canada’s merchandise exports.

I have no doubt the COEDC will continue to be successful in its efforts to attract investment to the region.  The Okanagan has so much to offer including the second fastest growing city in Canada (Kelowna); access to one of Canada’s top 10 international airports; good schools; an excellent medical campus; and a lifestyle that is enhanced by our beautiful natural surroundings, sandy beaches, ski hills and gorgeous locales like our wineries.

With competitive costs, low taxes, a strong banking sector and vibrant communities like our own, Canada, and especially the Okanagan, is an attractive place to do business.

Government Introduces Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

On April 3, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights – a first in Canadian history.

Although all provinces and territories have legislation for victims of crime and currently manage successful victims’ services programs in their own jurisdictions, such legislation does not exist at the federal level.

Introducing a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is part of our Government’s Plan for Safe Streets and Communities which focuses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system.

During the consultations leading up to the bill’s introduction, many participants expressed the need for greater information for victims and for a clear role for victims at every stage of the justice process. Others called for an increased understanding of the needs of specific victims, including Aboriginal people, young victims of crime, or those who live in remote and rural communities. Throughout the consultations, there was strong support for the idea of formally recognizing the rights of victims of crime.

The legislation will create statutory rights for victims of crime including a right to information; a right to protection, particularly their security and privacy; a right to participation; and a right to restitution.

If you would like to learn more about the Victims’ Bill of Rights, I invite constituents to go to www.justice.gc.ca.

Every April, National Victims Awareness Week is held to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.

This year, the Central Okanagan RCMP Victim Services, led by the passionate and hardworking Cary Burger and her team of dedicated co-workers and volunteers, hosted several sessions to raise awareness of people in our community who are victims of crime and those who are caring for those who have been victimized.

They were able to do so as a recipient of $7,200 under the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada.

I want to thank all of our local organizations and individuals, many who are volunteers, that help victims of crime at a time when people in our community are in need of compassion and support.

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Community Events, October 2014

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