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Representing You in Ottawa
I am committed to bringing your voice to Ottawa, by ensuring your concerns are heard and working with you to create opportunities for growth in our province.
OTTAWA, ON- Malpeque MP, Wayne Easter, raised concerns today in the House of Commons regarding the Canadian Tourism Commission is axing U.S. advertising for Canada’s tourism industry.
“Tourism operators on Prince Edward Island who depend on American visitors should be extremely concerned by the decision of the Harper government to eliminate all general advertising in the U.S.”, said Easter. “This government is no longer investing in strengthening Canada’s tourism industry.”
“It was unbelievable,” said Easter, “to hear that it didn’t seem to matter to the Minister of Industry (responsible for tourism), Christian Paradis, that Canada has slid from 7th to 18th in terms of being a destination for international tourists. He confirmed that the Canadian Tourism Commission has eliminated its general advertising program into the United States promoting Canada as a tourist destination. For Canada to ignore the United States as the largest middle class base in the world is extremely poor decision-making on the part of the Harper government”, continued Easter.
“This type of blatant disregard for Canada’s tourism industry is a sincere slap in the face to all of those tourist operators on Prince Edward Island who work so hard to provide exceptional service to our visitors. Without the support of the government to promote Canada as a tourist destination for Americans, we shall surely see the ramifications”, finished Easter.
The question & answer read:
Hon. Wayne Easter (Critic for International Trade, LPC): Mr. Speaker, how can the minister stand there and reads those words, that the Canadian Tourism Commission will continue to promote Canada, when he knows full well that is wrong? The headlines in the paper state: Tourism Commission Axes United States Advertising. The Canadian Tourism Commission confirms it has eliminated all general advertising in the United States. International tourism is the fastest growing market in the world and Canada has dropped from 7th place as the most visited country to the 18th.Why is the government spending money on its own propaganda rather than creating jobs for the tourism business?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), CPC): Mr. Speaker, that is total nonsense. It is a typical Liberal way to badly manage the economy. When we talk about tourism, we have to look at where the potential is. That is what the CTC is doing. It has refocused its resources to places like India and China where tourism has a high potential. What we have seen in the last quarter is a growth of tourists in Canada. We are proud of Canada. We will promote Canada correctly. We will not do it as badly as the Liberals suggest.
Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, did the minister just not hear the facts put to him? The facts of the matter are that on international tourism Canada has dropped from seventh in visits to 18th. Now in terms of attractions, Parks Canada has cut staff, increased entry fees, and implemented user fees. That is a negative to attracting tourism. The Canadian Tourism Commission’s spending has been cut to the point that we are spending one-third what Australia does. That is also a negative to attracting tourism.
Why can the government not promote tourism in Canada?
Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), CPC): Mr. Speaker, I just want to let my colleague know that the mandate of the CTC, the Canadian Tourism Commission, is not to promote tourism in Canada. It is to promote Canada outside our country. It is to promote our country to our visitors. That is the mandate of CTC. He must know that and it is doing that very well. The numbers are increasing. We have more visitors from abroad and I am very proud of the work done by the CTC.
Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased to speak to this budget implementation bill, Bill C-60, but I think we have to understand in the beginning that many of us do it under some duress because again it is a case where under the Prime Minister’s leadership, he is again suppressing debate with another time allocation motion which seems to become the norm in this place and a budget that seems to be prepared without the proper analysis. Certainly, the Atlantic premiers are saying that the proper analysis was not done and I will get to that in a moment.
On the positive side, this document is not quite as big an omnibus bill as the previous two budgets were, so it is a little shorter and does not cover pretty near everything that the government does. But on the negative side, in following up on the budget, the budget implementation bill really builds on the damage already done by the government on the ability of the federal government to be a leader in Canada among the provinces to build our economy, to put some foundation under our social programs, to assist industries, to establish more trade in a way that benefits Canadians. This builds on the damage and even makes it worse from previous budgets.
I might say as well in the beginning, Mr. Speaker, because you will recall quite vividly when the Minister of Finance stood in his place and said “we’ll balance the budget by 2015”. Is there a Canadian out there who actually believes that? There are a couple raising their hands over there, but they raise their hands any time the Prime Minister says anything. They jump to the tune. I say to Canadians and the members opposite, there has never been a target that the Minister of Finance has hit, whether it was when he was the provincial minister of finance and did the great damage to Ontario it is still suffering from, or when he was federal finance minister that the whole country is suffering from now.
It is important to note in the beginning a couple of key messages and summarize them. There is no question that this budget will make it harder to Canadian middle-class families to make ends meet. Middle-class families in this country are really starting to suffer and suffer substantially as a result of the activities of the government. Bill C-60 raises taxes on Canadians in order to pay for Conservatives’ wasteful spending. Last night in the media the Minister of National Defence, who is becoming infamous for his inability to manage his portfolio, is seeing Canadians spending twice as much on ships as other countries are. There is not time in the rest of the day to spell out all the other areas the Minister of National Defence has been spending money wastefully.
The problem is that there is no joy in the Minister of National Defence, backed up by the Minister of Finance, spending wastefully because middle-class Canadians are the ones being asked to suffer and pay for that irresponsible fiscal and financial spending by the government.
The budget raises taxes on small business owners by $2.3 billion over the next five years, directly hurting 750,000 Canadians and risking Canadian jobs. There are other policy cuts. In the area of agriculture where I used to be the critic, I went to an announcement in P.E.I. two weeks ago on a Friday.
I listened closely while the Minister of National Revenue made the announcement for the minister, and she said, “We’re increasing by 50% the shared funding”. It sounds really good, does it not? They are increasing the funding. However, what we have to understand is the key words “the shared funding”. That means that farmers are picking up half, where the previous government was really paying for it. If we look closely, we will find that the safety-net programs, like AgriStability and AgriInvest, have been cut substantially by the current federal government. Therefore, what happens the next time when, in your case Mr. Speaker, prices fall on grains in Alberta? What happens then? The safety nets are not going to be there for the farm community. More middle class families have been asked to suffer for the incompetence of the current government.
Last Sunday, I happened to be at some of the harbours in my own riding, including Stanley Bridge and Malpeque. Fishing season started early Monday morning. What were fishermen doing on Saturday and Sunday afternoon? They were stressed out and nerved up because DFO, through small-craft harbours, had not got the dredging done so they could even get out of their harbours. Finally, after a lot of pressure, the dredge got working and the fishermen did get out of Malpeque at six o’clock in the morning. In Stanley Bridge the fishermen had to load their traps from elsewhere because, with the cutbacks to Fisheries and Oceans small-craft harbours by the current government, fishermen are being asked to pay and suffer as a result of the federal government failing to live up to its responsibilities.
As well, this budget would raise taxes on credit unions by $75 million per year, which is an attack on rural Canadians and Canada’s rural economy. The credit unions are right across the country. The people who invest in them and put their money in those are usually small-business owners. Here the government would again impose further taxes on the credit union.
I have not got time to go into all the nickel and dime issues where the Conservatives would tax Canadians, but they would put GST and HST on health care services, including medical work that victims of crimes need in order to establish their case in court, and hospital parking lots would have extra tax on them. Those things add up and they would all be imposed on Canadians as a result of the absolute incompetence of this Minister of Finance. I am really just getting started.
Let us turn for a moment to the attack on workers and seasonal industries. Except for the minister in charge, we all know the damage that has been done to the seasonal industries and seasonal workers through the changes to employment insurance. However, a special thing happened last weekend, and that was that the Atlantic premiers issued a press release through The Council of Atlantic Premiers on April 29, in which they came together. They are from three different political parties, four premiers representing four provinces, and they spelled out fairly clearly the damage that the current federal government is doing to this federation called “Canada”. They talked about the impacts of employment insurance. One point they raised was:
These impacts are most acutely felt in seasonal industries, which make up a significant portion of the Atlantic economy. These changes were introduced without consultation or shared analysis, and therefore without a full understanding of the effects of the changes.
Clearly, the Atlantic premiers are coming together and saying that there is no federal leadership in this country and no consultation. The role of the federal government is to use its spending power, the budget and the budget implementation act to do things that will build up Canada and set a foundation under our economy and our social programs. All we would get in this budget implementation act from the current federal government is more and more damage, building on the poor fiscal management that it already has.
Worse yet, not only is Atlantic Canada being targeted here but middle class families right across the country are being asked to pay the price for the fiscal incompetence of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the backbenchers over there who failed to stand up and speak out against the Prime Minister and the damage that has been done to the Atlantic economy and to the country
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