It has been a difficult week for our community.
The incident that took place at the Delta Grand Hotel has left many of us shocked and angry. Gang-related crimes such as this show just how vulnerable the community can be to organized crime.
It is a miracle that no innocent bystanders were hurt.
I had a chance to have lunch with Daniel Bibby, the GM of the Delta Hotel. He said that he received several e-mails, cards and calls from folks in the community offering their support.
I want to thank Bibby and his team for their patience and professionalism through all of this. The Delta Grand is one of the premier tourist locations in the Okanagan and Bibby and his team have done their utmost to ensure that visitors to the Delta feel safe and well taken care of.
I was also in communication with Mayor Sharon Shepherd, local government representatives and the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Policing of our communities is a shared responsibility between the province and local governments. The federal government works with the province by maintaining transfer payments to fund the RCMP.
In 2008, the federal government delivered a one-time boost of $400 million to the RCMP for the hiring of provincial police. The goal was to hire 2,500 more police officers across Canada.
The provinces were given the discretion to disburse the funds as they saw fit and, in B.C., the provincial government chose to use the $53.3 million to make a three-year commitment to establish the Organized Crime Task Force.
I was encouraged to learn that the province, under Solicitor-General Shirley Bond, has committed to the continued funding of these dedicated resources and will maintain a focus on guns and gangs.
This is no doubt due to ongoing efforts by the city, local organizations like the chamber of commerce, MLAs Ben Stewart, Steve Thomson and Norm Letnick and the outstanding leadership of RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon and his team who have kept the necessity of the Organized Crime Task Force front and centre.
The issue of guns and gangs is a serious concern to our community and I assure you that it will also remain a priority for the federal government.
By maintaining our funding commitments to the provinces and ensuring that legislation is in place to address organized crime through tough mandatory sentencing, the federal government continues to support police enforcement and their continued efforts to keep our streets and communities safe.
I was excited to hear the recent announcement by my colleague, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, that a clinical trial for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis will proceed at the phase one and two levels.
When we first heard of the CCSVI treatment, I received a number of emails and telephone calls about the procedure. People were understandably anxious to learn when the treatment would be available in Canada. The recent news that there is enough scientific evidence for Canada to move forward with clinical trials is therefore welcome.
It is too early to know yet how many patients will be recruited and where the study will be conducted.
However, more detailed information about the trials and multiple sclerosis research in Canada will be made available through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website at www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/42381.html. I encourage anyone with an interest to monitor the CIHR site for updates.
One way the community can help support our local MS Society is by polishing your ride and Cruisin’ the Dub!
Thursday, August 25 is Cruisin’ for a Cause day at all A&W outlets. Have an A&W Teen Burger and $1 from each sale will be donated to help end MS.
Leading up to this day, donations to end MS will be received at every A&W location.
Volunteer ambassadors for the MS Society Okanagan Chapter are needed to help promote this event and to help on the day of the event.
If you would like to participate, please contact Miriam at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 250-762-5850.
RonCannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country