MP Richard Cannings to "Ride the Riding" again this year
Richard Cannings, MP (South Okanagan-West Kootenay) is happy to announce that he will “Ride the Riding” for the second year in a row. Last year he decided to complete a bicycle trip through the riding, which gave him a unique chance to meet the people, businesses and industries that make up the riding.
The tour will use a combination of rail trails and highways, starting in Glenfir on August 22nd and finishing in Crescent Valley on August 30th. The trails are an important attraction for tourism and a key economic driver for many small communities throughout the riding. Cannings adds, “I enjoy riding these rail trails myself, and one of the reasons for this cycle trip is to highlight their importance to the riding”.
Like last year, Cannings invites people to ride sections of trails with him as he travels from community to community. He has scheduled also numerous coffee and meal breaks at various points where the public could meet him to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay. The complete itinerary is available online at richardcannings.ndp.ca.
“Last year’s ride was such a success and I’m really look forward to hitting the trails again,” he concluded. “Everyone is invited to join in on the ride and I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say”.
[Ed.: Meanwhile, Cannings has things to say himself. Here’s his most recent column, “From the Hill.”]
It seems hard to believe, but the summer school break is three-quarters gone. Members of Parliament are home for the summer too, however we do continue to work on local and national issues. I thought this would be a good time to highlight some of the work that we do here in the riding—especially the work of my staff.
I have two assistants in my Penticton office and one in my Castlegar office who are kept busy year-round with a wide variety of tasks. Much of their work is helping constituents navigate the federal bureaucracy, and with their years of experience and expertise they can certainly make that often daunting experience more fruitful, if not more enjoyable.
The big federal files of taxes, pensions, employment insurance and immigration make up about three-quarters of constituency work. A lot of baby boomers are applying for pensions for the first time, both through Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. This process usually goes smoothly, but any number of hiccups can occur that can cause significant cash flow problems for seniors.
Federal taxes of all sorts—notably income tax and GST—can be problematic for some and we can help you through some of that. Many people aren’t aware of certain benefits such as the Disability Tax Credit, and some constituents have received thousands of dollars in tax refunds after registering.
Crossing international borders is getting more difficult these days, and we can help there, too. For some, even getting a visitor’s visa to allow relatives to come to Canada for a special occasion can be a real problem. It’s always best to start well ahead of time for any issue regarding passports and visas, and if you run into problems please get in touch.
Over the past two years my staff have helped community groups working hard to bring families in from Syria, Somalia, and other war-torn countries. Welcoming those families as they start their new lives in Canada is one of the most heart-warming tasks I’ve been honoured with.
Sometimes we have to pass on requests for help to more appropriate government agencies, since not all bureaucracy is federal! Some provincial files include health care, highways, public utilities, labour, forestry and other natural resource extraction practices. And, of course there are many important services provided by municipal and regional governments.
Not all constituency tasks are about frustrations with bureaucracy. My staff often create certificates of appreciation and congratulations to thank community members for their dedication and hard work. Every spring we assist the Canada Summer Jobs program, which provides hundreds of local youth with valuable job experience in the South Okanagan and West Kootenay.
Please get in touch through Richard.Cannings@parl.gc.ca. If you want to chat in person, I’ll be hosting my second annual community barbecue on August 23rd, 5 pm to 7 pm, at the Rotary pavilion in Skaha Lake Park, Penticton. And I’ll be cycling around the riding from August 23rd to 30th with frequent stops for public breakfasts, coffee and lunch. The full itinerary is posted on my website: http://richardcannings.ndp.ca/ .