Masse in the House on WHTI and tourism

From Hansard

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, again this week in Washington there will be debates surrounding the western hemisphere travel initiative, a new law that will require both Americans and Canadians to have passports or new identification to enter and exit the United States.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that this ill thought law will have devastating consequences to Canadian and U.S. tourism, trade and social-cultural exchange.

Most recently, the Zogby study went so far to demonstrate that many Americans will not comply with the new rules at all. With a looming deadline fast approaching, no specific regulations implemented and no detailed plan of implementation, we are on the fast track for economic loss. This is no longer theory as investor Jim Pattison of Ripley's fame recently pulled out of a $100 million investment for the Niagara region causing another loss.

New Democrats have been speaking on this issue since day one by forcing the Canadian Tourism Commission to study the consequences, demand expectations from the Bush administration, and calling for a Canadian tourism strategy specific to WHTI.

While in opposition, the Conservatives joined the initial fight for accountability. However, the government since abandoned Canadians in Cancun, when the Prime Minister told us to get used to it and was star struck by Condoleezza Rice while in Washington. What happened to standing up for Canadians? Canadian jobs in tourism and trade are at risk. The Conservatives should not be like the Liberals in the last administration. They should stand up for Canadians.