Masse in the House: Question on WHTI and tourism

From Hansard

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the government for once again following the advice of the NDP.

I agree with the Conservatives that the Liberals did nothing with regard to the passport laws and the WHTI. I agree with that.

However, what I cannot agree with is that if this is a strategy, it is not enough of a strategy as Canadian jobs and tourism are being put at risk right now. Five studies have shown the injurious effect and it is happening now.

Why has the minister responsible for tourism not stood in this chamber and outlined his plan to deal with this issue, and what is the Prime Minister going to give the premiers today in terms of an official strategy?

Hon. Stockwell Day (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I recall that when we were in the opposition and we raised this issue, the Liberals were absolutely inactive on this file. We brought it to a debate in the House and our Prime Minister has made it a priority.

We hear the broken record that is coming from the Liberals now being picked up by the NDP and here is why we hear that broken record. The Liberals did not just break the record in terms of non-action. They broke faith with Canadians in not taking action on this file.

We have taken action. We have made it a priority. There is great progress and we are delighted that the premiers, the mayors, the governors, and the congressmen in the United States are all involved.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in a previous question in this chamber, I asked the Prime Minister about this issue and he asked the NDP for ideas. We did so. We have a national tourism strategy that affects Canadian jobs right now by putting in investment to combat this issue.

Why will the Minister of Industry not get up and answer a question on this issue as he is the responsible member for tourism? Where is he? Where is the plan? Table it in the House of Commons right now.

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased--

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Windsor West is not going to be able to hear a word from the minister unless there is some order in the chamber. The minister has the floor to answer.

[Translation]

Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Speaker, as my honourable colleague knows, if he read the latest budget from the new Conservative government carefully, he should know that we have invested $303 million in the tourism industry. This is a lot more than was allocated in the previous Liberal Party budget.

What I would like to say to him is that the Canadian Tourism Commission is currently working on the development of an action plan to promote tourism throughout Canada, both foreign and Canadian, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics.