Ted Arnott, MPP
Wellington – Halton Hills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2010
‘Tourism needs a champion, not an apologist,’ says MPP Arnott
(Queen’s Park) – Tourism appears to have fallen off the McGuinty Liberals’ radar, and the Tourism Minister should be embarrassed about it, says Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
“Tourism needs a champion, not an apologist,” said Mr. Arnott, who serves as the Progressive
Conservative Critic to the Minister of Tourism.
In the Legislature’s Question Period on April 13, Mr. Arnott noted that Ontario’s tourism industry
wasn’t mentioned in the recent Liberal budget or in its Speech from the Throne. Meanwhile, the
number of visits to Ontario continues to drop, along with employment in the industry, according to figures published on the Ministry of Tourism’s own website.
Opposition MPPs were astonished when, in response to Mr. Arnott’s questions, the Minister of
Tourism extolled the virtues of the Harmonized Sales Tax as a way to help tourism.
“If he truly believes that higher taxes on attractions and accommodations will help tourism, he should think again,” said Mr. Arnott after Question Period. “It’s time he started listening to the industry.”
With vast, untapped economic potential, our tourism businesses, attractions, and hospitality sector should be a cornerstone of the government’s plans for economic recovery, says Mr. Arnott.
“Instead, they are forgotten.”
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Ontario Hansard – 13-April2010
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the new Minister of Tourism. Is the minister embarrassed that tourism wasn’t mentioned in the throne speech, wasn’t mentioned in the budget and isn’t even mentioned in the “oops” plan?
Hon. Michael Chan: Thank you very much for the question. There are challenges in the tourism
industry; for example, the high dollar, the border crossings, and also the economy in general. Because of those challenges, my ministry continues to invest in tourism as well as culture. Since 2003, my ministry has invested $700 million in tourism agencies.
We will continue to invest in tourism as well as culture. Thank you very much for the question.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?
Mr. Ted Arnott: The minister should be embarrassed. Tourism in Ontario needs a champion, not an apologist.
The latest statistics show that tourism spending in Canada is up, but visits to Ontario are way down, even from last year’s poor results. Fewer visitors are coming to Ontario from the US and fewer visitors from overseas. Employment in tourism-related industries is down. The only thing going up in Ontario is taxes.
I’m hearing from the industry that the HST this summer will kill tourism.
Will the minister admit that the government has run out of ideas and run out of gas, is running out of time and in 18 months is going to be run out of town by the voters of Ontario?
Hon. Michael Chan: Thank you again for the question. We are proud of the tourism industry in Ontario.
We understand those challenges. That’s why our government introduced the harmonized sales tax. It will help tourism business. According to the Jack Mintz report, it will attract $47 billion in investment-Interjections.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Please continue.
Hon. Michael Chan: As well, it will create over 500,000 jobs, according to the report.
We are doing more. We are dividing Ontario into 13 new tourism regions. That will improve and
coordinate tourism markets. It will attract more visitors. As well, it will generate more economic impact for this province.