Madam Speaker, my petition calls upon the Canadian government to negotiate with the United States government to reduce the United States and Canadian passport fees. The number of American tourists visiting Canada is at its lowest level since 1972. It has fallen by five million visits in the last seven years, from 16 million in 2002 to only 11 million in 2009.
Passport fees for an American family of four can be over $500 U.S. While 50% of Canadians have passports, only 25% of Americans do.
At the recent Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council and State Governments, attended by myself and over 500 elected representatives from 11 border states and three provinces, a resolution was passed unanimously. It reads as follows:
...that [the] Conference calls on President Barack Obama and [the Canadian] Prime Minister...to immediately examine a reduced fee for passports to facilitate cross-border tourism; and be it further
RESOLVED, that [the Conference] encourage the governments to examine the idea of a limited two-for-one passport renewal or new application;
To be a fair process, passport fees must be reduced on both sides of the border. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government to work with the American government to examine a mutual reduction in passport fees to facilitate tourism and finally promote a limited time two-for-one passport renewal for renewed application fees on a mutual basis with the United States.