Evidence of meeting #25 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was museums.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to thank all of you for being here. It's an honour to sit on this committee and have the opportunity to hear some very expert opinion on and insight into Canada's 150th and the plans for that and generally on the state of play in terms of Canadian culture right across the country. I want to thank you for that.

We have been debating in the House of Commons, and have raised much concern about, the cutting of the Katimavik program, which is a youth exchange initiative that is essentially about nation-building.

Ms. McKenzie, by the way, I thought the video was excellent and the initiative is excellent. I have travelled across the country, I don't know, maybe 30 times in my life, and I've had the opportunity you are talking about that many young people lack.

I have to say, as a parent of young kids, first of all, that I really have a hard time considering young people as a market that we can capture and keep as long-term consumers of a product, which in this case is tourism.

We have this program, which the government and the Heritage Minister have actually spoken about in the House. The minister has said that it was the easiest program for him to cut, which is really shocking. I'm sure it shocked some of the members opposite that Katimavik would be so easy to cut. That essentially is a program that could be expanded to really honour Canada's 150th, because that program is not about corporate tie-ins. It's not about young people as a market; it's about how we see ourselves as a country. It would seem that if we're doing something for Canada's 150th, it should be about who we are as a country.

When I hear this, about young people as a market, it really concerns me. The language really concerns me, and I think it would concern most parents.

I don't want to get on your case, because I respect the work you do, and I know that for all of us, tourism is very important. But Canada's 150th is an opportunity for us to step beyond the narrow confines of our commercial understanding of what we're doing and take a broader look, which is why we are concerned that, on many different levels, the agenda of Canada's 150th could creep into a more overtly, partisan, political exercise.

You've given us a big document. We were enraptured by the presentation, so I haven't really had a chance to look at it.

Don't you think that's a concern to just look at young people as a market?

11:35 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

Whether or not you call young people a market, we talked about what Australia is doing. Australia is doing a very good job attracting Canadian youth with the idea of travelling to Australia, because they have really branded themselves as a great place for youth travel. That's what we're talking about. We're talking about inspiring young people to travel in their own country.

What our research tells us is that we're raising a generation of young people who have great travel aspirations, but they don't see Canada as a destination. They don't have the same understanding or the same dreams about travelling across Canada as they have about travelling across other countries. So we're saying, let's inspire them with all the wonderful things we have and they can do here in our country. They will become lifetime travellers of Canada if they start to have those experiences.

We're not really talking about a market of people who are 18 to 29. We're talking about inspiring young people to have a lifetime of love for their country. Other countries are inspiring our youth with those ideas, and we want to compete in that segment as well.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

I understand that and also that's it your job. You do it very well, and we need you to do it well.

But we're talking about Canada's 150th here. In a way, we're having two different conversations. Your conversation is about how we get young people engaged in travelling in our country. There are all sorts of other tie-ins, and I understand all of that. But if we're going to talk about Canada's 150th, surely we have to talk about something bigger and grander than narrow marketing plans to harness a potential high-spend demographic that we haven't grabbed yet.

I guess I'm looking for something a little more inspiring. I understand there's a market vision that the government is promoting. It's their ideology—but that's not Canada.

I want to hear if there's a grander picture here, because I'd like to buy into this. I'm using market terms myself now.

11:35 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

The inspiration is really to inspire young people with the idea of travelling in their country, making them lifetime travellers of Canada, not unlike the way those of us who were in school in 1967 dreamed about the idea of travelling to every single province and territory in Canada. In fact I've done that, and I've ensured that my own children have done that. I know that's a direct result of living through Canada's centennial year and having had that great inspiration.

If this is not coming through in my presentation, I do invite you to read the full proposal. I'd be happy to review that with you.

This is about a big idea of inspiring lifetime travel in Canada by Canadians.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Cash.

Next, Mr. Trudeau.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Thank you very much, Chair.

I'd like to start with the CTC, with you, Michele.

A number of people were talking about their experiences from Canada '67. Obviously the Expo still resonates, certainly in Montreal, but also across the country, as a moment when we came of age and drew in the world to discover what Canada was a hundred years after its founding.

My own experiences are more wrapped up in 1992, which was Canada's 125th anniversary. It wasn't a big anniversary on many levels, but one initiative then that I found resonated extremely well was something that the airlines put together—I believe it was Air Canada, but it might have been both Air Canada and Canadian Airlines—which was a $125 standby ticket to anywhere in the country for anyone under the age of 25.

I went to Whitehorse on one of those tickets, because it was the farthest I could go, and I met a fellow from Newfoundland who was in Whitehorse because it was the farthest he could go. This idea of getting to discover the country was an extremely powerful one.

I am bemused by my friend in the NDP's concern with the word “market”. The reality is that the youth market is one we absolutely need to tap into. The habits they develop as young people will echo throughout their lives. If they've seen the extraordinary corners of this country as young people because we reached out to them and engaged them, they're more likely to want to show their kids them and travel more throughout their lives.

I absolutely congratulate you, and I encourage you. As the youth critic for the only party in the House that actually has a youth critic, I'm extremely supportive of your focus on this. As my colleague in the official opposition pointed out, I am worried that cutting Katimavik demonstrated a lack of willingness to invest in youth, and I'm concerned about the kinds of resources you see would be necessary to truly mount a campaign targeted at young people.

What do you think it would cost—ball park? What kind of up-front investment are we looking at to do this?

11:40 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

We see our proposal being part of a bigger idea of how Canada will celebrate its 150th year. The proposal we have structured is a $30-million proposal over four years, which would allow for those types of partnerships and campaigns, be they with travel companies or the media—the full range of partnerships with the tourism industry.

We see it as something that would gear up as early as 2013 or 2014 and really culminate in ideas around 2017 travel.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Again, the question that comes to mind linked to Expo 67 is that we made a lot of effort to share Canada with the world in 1967. I appreciate and I love the Locals Know campaign, and it was tremendously successful. Is much thought being given to how we are showcasing ourselves to the world? I know you mentioned pitching to young people around the world to travel in Canada, but more broadly than that, is there thought being given to how we are going to draw the world to see how tremendous Canada is at 150, and what kind of model we can be?

11:40 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

Drawing to Canada the international travel of the world is our day job. That is what we do all the time. I think we'll be doing that around the events in 2017, in addition to our regular work. What we see as an opportunity with this youth program is to extend that programming to also inviting international youth to meet Canadian youth at events and activities that will be going on in that year. So that will be a big focus of what we do. We see bringing the youth theme into our international markets as well.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

The year 2017 isn't all that far away, so on top of doing events and drawing people in for punctual reasons, are there larger themes we're putting forward that you're aware of that say Canada is celebrating 150 years? What exactly are we celebrating? Are we celebrating our diversity? Are we celebrating our geographic space? Are we celebrating our health care system? What themes have come forward for you, and perhaps from partners you've talked to, about the big things we're going to celebrate? We had Terre des Hommes in '67.

What is the big theme you're working around for this year?

11:40 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

The CTC is focusing on youth travel as a theme, and internationally we're trying to connect that to the educational marketing activities that are going on, that Canada is not only a great place to travel but also a great place to study. So that's the work we are doing and are trying to link that to the broader program that will emerge through the work of this committee and through Canadian Heritage. So at this point we're trying to be quite flexible, because we think that the idea of this program could link to a broad number of themes.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Thank you.

Mayor Watson, first of all, it's wonderful to see you here and to be able to congratulate you for the extraordinary job that Ottawa has done on Canada Day and all the festivals recently.

I have the same question for you. You've talked with the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Heritage. Do you sense that there is already an indication of what we will be celebrating, other than a calendar birthday? Have particular themes come forward, such as our celebration in 2017 being about Canada being the best of this or the best of that, or of what we're to showcase to the world?

11:45 a.m.

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Jim Watson

I obviously can't speak for the government. They're in the preliminary stages, I believe, of determining answers to that question.

I commend the committee for putting it on the agenda and inviting us here today. It's one of the reasons that the concept of Canada House in the old U.S. embassy across the street would be an example of where, I think, we can boast as a nation of some pretty remarkable achievements as a relatively young country. While our American friends are very good at boasting, I think sometimes we're a little too reserved and shy. This would be our opportunity to have that wow moment when students go in there and didn't realize that we invented the arm that was on the space shuttle, or that Canadians invented insulin to fight diabetes.

When I met with officials from the Smithsonian Institution, in this case the American history museum, I asked them what the number one exhibit was that people wanted to see at the Smithsonian. They said it was the ruby slippers of Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz and Archie Bunker's chair. Maybe that says something about our friends in the States, but I think we want to have that opportunity whereby people can go in and see Celine Dion's gold record or the van from Terry Fox's remarkable Marathon of Hope, and have a chance for us as Canadians to see that we haven't realized that we invented everything from velcro and the zipper to the Canadarm, to the success we've had at hockey, to Bombardier's first snow machine in the world. It would give us an opportunity not only to celebrate those great Canadian artists and inventors and scientists and physicians, but also to look at our country in perhaps a different way than we have before, and to boast a little more about what we've accomplished as a country.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Trudeau.

Mr. Richards.

April 24th, 2012 / 11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Thank you all for being here today.

I'm going to focus my questions towards Michele from the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Obviously, as the chair of the parliamentary tourism caucus and as the member of Parliament for Banff, one of our most beautiful tourism areas in the country, I've had a lot of opportunity to talk about the work you do and the tourism industry in general. You understand, as I do, how important the tourism industry is. We talk about a $74 billion industry. We talk about 600,000 Canadian jobs. Obviously, the work you are doing on the marketing side is an important piece of the success that the tourism industry enjoys in Canada, so I want to commend you for that. You have demonstrated what we can accomplish in that regard by being innovative and focused in our marketing efforts.

An important part of that is how well you work together both with our government, in terms of some of the initiatives we have, and also with other organizations, such as provincial organizations and destination marketing organizations across the country. I think a great example of that was when our Prime Minister gained approved destination status from China, which was a very significant thing our government was able to accomplish for the tourism industry, in working together with you guys and destination marketing organizations in parts of the country. I certainly know that in my area of Banff-Lake Louise, there was an award-winning tourism campaign around that. So we've been able to demonstrate how successful we can be in drawing travel when we all work together.

You had the video on the “Locals Know” campaign, and I want to point out in particular how brilliant I thought that campaign was. It was certainly very helpful to the industry.

I want to look at the numbers you have provided us here about that campaign, in terms of how successful it has been. You talked about some of the measurables: 4.5 million more trips by Canadians as a result, $1.2 billion more in tourism revenue, and 10,000 more jobs. Those are pretty significant results you were able to garner from that.

I want to look at that and then at the proposal before us, which I'm very intrigued about, for youth travel for our 150th anniversary. What do you anticipate or project as the results of a campaign like that in terms of those same kinds of numbers? What would we expect in terms of increased trips and jobs for people in the industry and revenues for the tourism industry? Can you give us some idea of what your projections would be?