Mr. Speaker, my petition calls on 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 alone, from 16 million in 2002 to only 11 million in 2009. Passport fees for an American family of four can be as high as more than $500 U.S. While 50% of Canadians have passports, only 25% of Americans do.
At the recent Midwest Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, attended by myself and over 500 elected representatives from 11 border states and three provinces, the following resolution was passed unanimously, which reads:
RESOLVED, 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-time 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 on 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 or new application fee on a mutual basis with the United States.