Mr. Speaker, tourists spend billions of dollars in northern Ontario supporting thousands of jobs. Clearly, that does not matter much to the government, which cannot stop penny-pinching on the backs of small businesses that are the heart of the region's tourism economy.
Last year, a showdown with the province threatened to cancel the season for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry and Manitoulin Island tourism.
This year they are blaming CN after killing a subsidy that offset some of the losses from the Algoma Central Railway's passenger service from Hearst to Sault Ste. Marie.
It is unbelievable. Although the government recently invested in upgrading rail passenger cars, now it is forcing those same cars off the rails.
Most tourist operations in northern Ontario are small and family-run. They work especially hard and do not deserve last minute roadblocks from the Conservatives. Just as they are drumming up business for the summer, they are forced to wonder if they will have a season at all.
Why will the government not sit down with the stakeholders to find a way to ensure a long healthy future for the ACR's passenger service and the communities, including the town of Oba, and the businesses and people who rely on it?