Cannings: Cycling through the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Richard Cannings is the MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

Richard Cannings is the MP for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding.

Richard Cannings is the MP for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding.

As summer winds down, our thoughts naturally turn to back-to-school shopping and back-to-work after a break for a good Canadian summer.

I’ll be going back to Ottawa in September to resume work on all the issues before Parliament; one of the major issues we will be discussing is electoral reform.  In last year’s campaign, both the NDP and Liberals promised that the 2015 election would be the last one carried out using the old first-past-the post system.

In response to an NDP motion passed by Parliament in June, a Special Committee to study Electoral Reform was created. That committee has been sitting through out the summer and will continue working through the fall, hearing testimony from experts and getting input from citizens across the country.

I’d like to hear from people throughout South Okanagan-West Kootenay on this important issue, so I’m hosting town hall meetings in September in Castlegar (September 1st, 7 pm at the Fireside Inn Hotel & Conference Centre) and Penticton (September 12th, 7 pm at the Public Library auditorium). If you can’t make it to either of the meetings, I invite you to share your thoughts with me via email

*  *

Members of Parliament, so the standard wisdom goes, spend the summer “on the barbecue circuit”, meeting constituents and flipping burgers.

I have been to quite a few community events over the past two months, but I thought it would be fun to put a new twist on this concept. My riding, South Okanagan-West Kootenay, contains over 40 communities, and it would be difficult to organize events in each one.  But it is a beautiful riding, and I love traveling through it, so I thought — why not cycle through the region?  That way I could go from one town to another, meeting people over breakfast, coffee, lunch and dinner, and showcase the scenic trails and highways that link our communities.

So the “Ride the Riding” event was born.  I decided a combination of highway and trails would be ideal and invite any interested cyclists to join me on some of the trail sections.  I’ll be starting in Nakusp on Wednesday, Aug. 24, going over the pass and finishing in Slocan that afternoon. Then it’s down the rail trail to South Slocan and on to Castlegar on Aug. 25, through Fruitvale, Trail and Rossland to Christina Lake on Aug. 26, and a short cycle down the rail trail to Grand Forks on Aug. 27, in time for the Fall Fair there.

On Aug. 28 I’ll be going to Midway, then cycling the KVR rail trail to Rock Creek and on to Osoyoos on Aug. 29. The trip will finish with a cycle up the river dyke trails of the south Okanagan to Penticton on Aug. 30. You can see a full itinerary of where to meet for coffee, meals or cycling on my website, or find me on Facebook at richardjcannings.

Richard Cannings is the MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

Penticton Western News