Recent rumors of a fall snap election were dispelled pretty quickly by the Prime Minister last week.
Nevertheless, local potential candidates are actively out in the community preparing for the next election. Unfortunately, for some, it means peddling the idea that the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country are being ignored by the federal government or that they are not being well represented.
Nothing couldn’t be further from the truth.
Just in the past few months alone we’ve been able to highlight more than $5.5 million dollars in important federal investments that directly benefit our Okanagan communities including a $500,000 investment in research, education and outreach to help prevent invasive mussels from reaching local waterways, an additional $1.3 million for the rails to trails project, $3.0 million contribution which helped build the new state-of-the-art Okanagan College Trades Training facilities in both Kelowna and Vernon and $675,000 dollars for the Canada Summer Jobs program in Kelowna-Lake Country.
Last week and this coming week our riding will be visited by no less than 6 federal cabinet ministers all of whom will be meeting with local organizations and individuals to seek their input on where our government can continue to help.
August 23rd-24th, our riding will once again host Pacific Caucus, which it did earlier in our government’s mandate in 2016. Here again, a number of stakeholder meetings are being arranged so that my BC colleagues can better understand our local priorities and help me advocate for them in national caucus.
Many will remember that national caucus, including the Prime Minister and the cabinet, visited our riding last summer. To say they left energized by the innovation and progress in Kelowna-Lake Country would be an understatement.
Good economic news is welcome by governments and our communities are delivering it in spades as evidenced by the latest report from the Regional District of Central Okanagan’s Economic Development Commission (COEDC): median individual and household incomes have risen faster than Provincial rates, our tourism, aerospace, tech, health and film sectors continue to generate thousands of jobs and deliver billions of dollars in revenue generation and economic impact; and our post-secondary sector is educating more than 16,000 full time and part time students ensuring a skilled workforce is in place.
Additionally, Kelowna was named the best city in BC to open a small business by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2018.
Our federal government is actively working together with the other levels of government to make our communities better, safer and prosperous and it has infused millions of dollars in federal support to Kelowna-Lake Country and throughout the Okanagan.
It may be fair game in politics to be constantly critical of government but, in reality, it’s the kind of negativity that undermines all the good work that is driving local economic growth and making our communities some of the finest places to work and live in the country.
2019 will come soon enough. Until then I’m focused on delivering for our community.
Stephen Fuhr is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country