Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As the official opposition critic for tourism, it's my pleasure to welcome our witnesses.
You are most definitely contributing to the Canadian tourism industry.
Therefore, I was a bit worried when I heard you say that we had to accommodate the Americans. In my opinion, given all the free trade agreements we are now signing, we should not forget about Europeans and others from around the world. Canada is definitely a country of open green spaces where people can reconnect with certain activities. We have the necessary space. In fact, we have all that is needed for activities such as fishing or hunting.
So I would like to know what you think about the drastic cuts to Parks Canada in the 2012 budget. That really hurt our tourism industry in terms of access to parks and trip length. The Canadian Tourism Commission also had its budget from last year cut by 19%. So organizations like yours are no longer in the brochures. We cannot develop long-term tourism with the Americans, the French or tourists from other countries. I think that prevents us from fully benefiting from an industry that could be flourishing. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
I would also like to hear your opinion on the protection of the resource. I think that, when tourists know that we are protecting the resource, we can attract them to come here. When cuts are made to environmental assessments as the Conservatives have done, that gives us a bad reputation. That can also discourage fishers and hunters from coming to Canada, as they may be wondering what they are participating in. If we can guarantee that everything is done within an appropriate framework, I think we could....