Mr. Speaker, I present a petition signed by dozens of Canadians. The 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 could be over $500 U.S. In fact, 50% of Canadians have passports but only 25% of Americans have passports.
At a recent Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, which comprises the 11 border states from North Dakota to Illinois and three Canadian provinces, the following resolution was passed unanimously:
RESOLVED, that the Midwestern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments 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 the 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 to promote a limited time two for one passport renewal or new application fee on a mutual basis with the United States.