Categorized | Canadian Politics

Thomas Mulcair promises to spend $30 million more on tourism

Posted on 20 August 2015 by admin

Thomas Mulcair

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair travelled Monday to a tourist mecca — one that just so happens to be in a Conservative cabinet minister’s riding — to tout his party’s plan to boost the number of American visitors to Canada.

Mulcair took his campaign to Niagara Falls to promise that an NDP government would invest $30 million over three years in Destination Canada, a Crown corporation responsible for promoting Canada as a four-season tourist destination.

The Conservative government itself pledged $30 million over three years in its last budget to market Canadian destinations with the goal of attracting an additional 680,000 Americans over that period.

Mulcair is promising an additional $30 million on top of the money already budgeted, the NDP said.

The New Democrat leader said Prime Minister Stephen Harper has actually cut $24 million from the agency during his time in office, even though it coincided with a drop in American visitors.

“It was a decision that simply didn’t make any sense,” Mulcair said. “We want to get back the same number, in fact a little bit more, of tourists that were lost under Mr. Harper’s watch.”

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair made his latest campaign pledge during a stop in Niagara Falls, Ont., a riding that has been held by conservative cabinet member Rob Nicholson.

In 2002, there were more than 16 million overnight visitors to Canada from the United States, but in 2014, that number was down to 11.5 million, according to Statistics Canada.

But Harper’s tenure has coincided with periods that saw a very strong Canadian dollar. Mulcair acknowledged that a $24-million cut from a tourism agency is likely not solely to blame for fewer American tourists.

“There’s no doubt that tourism is a cyclical industry,” he said. “Some of it has to do with cycles and with levels of the Canadian dollar. But at the same time what we need is a reliable federal partner.”

Niagara Falls, where the tourism and hospitality sectors support 33,000 people, has been held by conservative Rob Nicholson, who served as both defence minister and foreign affairs minister in Harper’s cabinet.

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