Mr. 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 petitioners are concerned that American tourists visiting Canada are at their lowest levels since 1972. American tourism has fallen by 5 million visits in the last seven years, from 16 million in 2002 to only 11 million in 2009.
Currently, one-half of Canadians have passports but only one-quarter of Americans have passports.
At the recent Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, attended by myself and 500 other elected representatives from 11 border states and 3 provinces, the following resolution was passed unanimously. It reads, be it:
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;
...we encourage the governments to examine the idea of a limited time two-for-one passport renewal or new application; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this resolution be submitted to appropriate federal, state and provincial officials.
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 the 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.