Gerry Rogers Question Period (05.03.2012)

Gerry Rogers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, government has wisely spent money on expanding the tourism season in the Province, but yesterday we saw from a memo that their friends in the federal government pulled the rug out from under the Province by surprising us with cuts to Parks Canada sites in the Province. The minister has said no one in government saw the cuts coming. Mr. Speaker, we all know these cuts will impact tourism operators near the affected sites. While the apex of the tourism season is fast approaching, the minister says they will be refocusing their efforts in light of these cuts.

<.b>So, I ask the minister: When can the people involved in the tourism industry expect a response from this government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, the national parks and our national sites in Newfoundland and Labrador are obviously a very important part of our tourism appeal. These cuts are concerns to us, obviously. We have invested; we have worked with industry, the leadership in the industry, our tourism board, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, our destination management organizations, and all of the non-profit and private investors out there that help support this industry. We have worked very closely with them to build a very solid and strong tourism industry in this Province, and, Mr. Speaker, despite the cuts, we are open for business, we have a lot of tourist attractions in this Province, and we will continue to grow our tourism industry and continue to be able to deal with whatever challenges we face.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, the tourism industry is lucky to have programs such as SWASP and JCP, but the funding announcements arrive too late, leaving businesses and organizations in a state of uncertainty while the tourist season fast approaches. Mr. Speaker, I left the Estimates meeting today with the impression that there is a lack of coordination between departments on these programs.

So, I ask the minister: What will the minister do to help make these programs more responsive to the tourism and cultural industry’s needs?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify for the member that the employment programs, whether it be SWASP or whether it be the job creation project, are funded through the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, because the aim for these jobs that are created from this government money is to be able to provide work experience to help people attach to the labour market, and provide meaningful work experience. That means that it is not directed solely at tourism or the arts or anything like that. It can go to those areas, as well as it can go to other areas, Mr. Speaker. So I just want to clarify the program is not there to solely support tourism and the arts.

Thank you

Associated Caucus Members: 

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