I wish to write to Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Ken Boshcoff and Kenora MP Roger Valley to advise them of a serious problem in the tourist industry of Northwestern Ontario, which came to a head at the establishment our family has operated here at Nestor Falls for the last 70 years.
On July 1, I received a phone call from Mr. Richard Rhoades, a long-time customer of ours, who was calling from International Falls, Mn. to advise that his son, Richard Jr., 33, was denied access to Canada because he had an impaired driving charge in 1996.
Mr. Rhoades Sr. and his three sons and son-in-law had driven 18 hours from Joplin, Missouri to fish for a week at our resort. We had booked our largest cabin for a week, and had reserved three boats and motors as well as a guide for one day for this group.
Now to put this in perspective, Mr. Rhoades Jr. and his father had stayed twice at our place in 2005 (in July and in September). This being the case, he could reasonably expect to be allowed into Canada again this year.
What the hell is going on here? The papers this year have been full of the stories of football players with dubious records who are coming here to take someone’s job and yet they seem to be welcomed with open arms.
Why would someone who made a mistake nine-and-a-half years ago not be allowed to come fishing for a week.
Just this week, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers brought in a guy who was charged with shoving his wife’s head under water.
This is the third case we’ve had this year of people being refused. This one was the most costly for us since the party stayed in Minnesota for the duration of their vacation. Since they are long-time loyal customers, they will be back, but if they had been newcomers, we would never seen them again.
If you think it’s only one or two people affected, be advised that there are 15 of us working here. This already had been a slow season for various other reasons and we don’t need this kind of crap going on.
We have to presume the Border Services officer was enforcing the rules she was given. We don’t know whether or not she has any discretion in the matter, but it seems there could be a case for a little common sense to be applied.
In any case, rule changes need to be made. I write to both of you because this occurred in Mr. Boshcoff’s area and we are located in Mr. Valley’s area by about one-half mile.
In view of the difficulties experienced by our other major industry (forestry), I would think you would want to preserve our tourist business. The economy is not that great around here that we can afford to throw anything away the way we are doing.
I would expect both of you to make representations at the highest level to get a change in policy at the ports of entry (for what it is worth, there are 35 resorts in Nestor Falls alone).
Please do what you can to get some results to alleviate this problem.
Les Helliar, President,
Helliar’s Resort Ltd.
Nestor Falls, Ont.