South Okanagan — West Kootenay member of Parliament Richard Cannings poses next to some Christmas ornaments in his constituency office in Penticton, after sitting down to talk about his view of 2017. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Cannings reflects on a productive year

Cannings managed to get positive treatment on two bills and one motion this year

For a third-party member of Parliament, Richard Cannings has seen quite a number of successes in 2017.

Typically an MP will introduce maybe five private member’s bills and feel lucky to get one of them passed, Cannings said. But this year, he has seen two of his bills and a motion get positive treatment from the governing Liberal Party.

Cannings introduced Bill C-363 in on Sept. 22 this year, intending to amend the Species at Risk Act, but was at first told the government would not be moving forward with the bill.

Related: Cannings introduces bill for species at risk

“I was a bit surprised and disappointed by that because it was such an eminently reasonable bill,” Cannings said. “Then at the last minute, the minister’s parliamentary secretary called me and said ‘can we talk about this?’ and so they offered to move ahead with it in policy instead of in legislation.”

That was all the better for Cannings, because that would accomplish almost all of what Cannings wanted to with that bill, but without the glacial pace of the legislative process.

But the policy did fall short of Cannings’ proposal — the proposal was to close a loophole first utilized by the previous Conservative government to essentially never need to update the government’s official species-at-risk list.

The bill would have given government up to a year to update the list after they have received advice from scientists. Instead, the government implemented a two- to three-year limit.

“This rarely ever happens. You know this is probably only a handful of times,” Cannings said. “People I talked to could only think of two private members’ initiatives over the last 10 years that have been resolved in this way. So they were very congratulatory about how that worked.”

In January, Cannings’ bill to recommend the government consider using wood to build federal buildings will be going to debate, and is on track to making committee.

Related: Cannings calls for support for softwood workers

“It’s going to get that far, so I’m very happy with that, because, again, very few private members’ bills get over that first hurdle of getting to committee,” he said.

Recently, too, a motion from Cannings to push the government to apologize to British home children was picked up by the Bloc Quebecois and was passed as a motion since, in an odd sort of way.

“In a very kind of confused moment at the end of some question period, we all said ‘yeah,’ and that sort of served as the apology, so I’ve been trying to get the government to say let’s have a real apology,” he said.

What doesn’t appear to have made it past the Liberal’s chopping block was Cannings’ proposed amendment to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, changed by the previous Conservatives to the Navigation Protection Act to restore all previous protections.

On a more challenging side, Cannings said he was disturbed by what he characterized as a tone deaf Liberal government, between conflict of interest issues with both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a helicopter ride last Christmas and with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who was found not to have divested from his company or put those shares in a blind trust.

Moving forward, Cannings said he was happy with the new leadership in the NDP, with Jagmeet Singh elected party leader on Oct. 1.

More locally, Cannings said he hopes to see some progress on the softwood lumber file, as Canada battles with the U.S. over trade disputes and more engagement from Environment Canada with locals opposing a national park in the South Okanagan.


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gold for Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Penticton judge tosses child custody time-to-trial complaint

Though the judge sympathized with the need to speed up matters, he kept the proceedings on track

Stolen truck, resisting cops in Naramata nets 19 months

Derek John Ledgard, 24, will spend nearly 16 more months in jail after time served

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Man facing additional drug charges

Targeted enforcement unit arrests man at community centre

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read