Local MPP Sarah Campbell is asking the Ontario government to produce new road maps in light of troubling news that the communities of International Falls and Baudette no longer are parts of the United States.
The shocking revelation came during an adjournment debate yesterday on the closure of three Ontario Travel Information Centres with Kim Craitor, the parliamentary secretary to Tourism and Culture minister Michael Chan.
Reading from a prepared statement, Craitor suggested the Pigeon River travel information centre is vital because of the service it provides to tourists from the United States.
“Last time I checked, Fort Frances and Rainy River both serviced visitors from the United States,” Campbell said in response to Craitor’s statement, which once again failed to answer her question.
“Unless something changed while I was in a committee meeting this afternoon.”
Campbell said the response from the minister’s office illustrates the ignorance of those in decision-making roles at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
“This department continues to embarrass itself with the lack of understanding of our northern communities and the unique role tourism plays in our economy,” said Campbell.
“The government is grasping at straws, trying to justify a poor decision that was made in haste without talking to the stakeholders who know the industry best, and in doing so they are jeopardizing our northern economy once again,” she stressed.
Campbell again said the facts simply do not support the government’s case, as Fort Frances and Kenora consistently have drawn more people to their travel information centres over the last decade.
As well, significantly more Americans pass through the Fort Frances border crossing each and every month than use the Pigeon River one.
The full 10-minute debate is available online at http://www.youtube.com/krrndp