South Okanagan—West Kootenay member of Parliament Richard Cannings hears from Penticton residents on their views of national issues at a town hall meeting in March.                                Dustin Godfrey/Western News

South Okanagan—West Kootenay member of Parliament Richard Cannings hears from Penticton residents on their views of national issues at a town hall meeting in March. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

The member of Parliament for South Okanagan—West Kootenay is celebrating a rare victory for a third-party member — Richard Cannings’ private member’s bill has passed a House of Commons vote.

Cannings’ Bill C-354, an Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, passed its final vote in the House late Wednesday and will be sent to Senate for debate.

The bill would require the federal government to consider the use of wood in federal infrastructure projects, particularly looking at associated reductions of greenhouse gas emissions through use of wood products.

A wood building would be a carbon sink unto itself, as the wood in the structure naturally deposits carbon and other greenhouse gasses.

The passing of a private member’s bill is not a common achievement, particularly for members of a third party, and for rookie MPs. Cannings is currently serving his first term in his position, and has the role of natural resources critic for the federal NDP.

“I want to thank all of my colleagues from all parties who supported C-354 and worked with me through out to make this bill the best it could be,” Cannings said in a news release. “It’s gratifying to see so many MPs from so many different backgrounds rally around this measure that will help sustain the Canadian forestry sector and promote environmentally friendly construction.”

A date for the bill’s consideration in Senate still has not been determined, according to Cannings, who said he looks forward “to working with the members of the Upper Chamber towards the passage of this important piece of legislation.”

Cannings was also awarded Forest Community Champion Award by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) for his work on Bill C-354 and in support of the forest industry across Canada.

“In South Okanagan–West Kootenay, we know that the forest industry is the important to many of our communities. Companies like Structurlam show us daily that the wood building sector is on the cutting edge of new, green building solutions,” Cannings said.

“I am proud to advocate for this sector, for the solutions they are bringing forward and to support the community-sustaining jobs that they bring to our communities.”