Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the member's comments.
Whether as a municipal councillor over the years, as an employee of the provincial government, or here as a federal member of Parliament in the House of Commons, when I negotiate things on behalf of the people in my riding, I certainly want to defend them in the House of Commons and I certainly want to promote them in the House of Commons. However, I find that when I negotiate on behalf of my riding, on behalf of the region of Niagara, I am a lot more successful in those negotiations when I do them behind closed doors. I do not attempt to criticize those who are within a particular ministry to assist them in achieving the goal, which the member for Québec City is trying to do. I find that being critical publicly does not always enhance one's ability to succeed in assisting those she obviously cares deeply for in her riding.
Tourism makes an important contribution to the Canadian economy, with 618,000 direct jobs across Canada, including in Niagara and the riding of Québec City. Last year, tourism revenue in this country was just under $85 billion.
The Government of Canada is proud to support initiatives that bring clear economic tourism benefits to communities across our country. We have made significant federal investments and support the industry, underlining the importance of tourism to the local, provincial, and Canadian economy.
The Department of Canadian Heritage provided funding for the 2014 SAQ New France Festival, which helped visitors to Québec City discover the history and the way of life of North America's first European settlers.
The department also provided funding to allow the l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario to organize artistic and cultural activities during the festival and to extend its reach outside of Québec. We also saw investments provided for the festival's 2013 and 2014 editions through the Québec economic development program
The Government of Canada also supported the Festival d’été de Québec in 2014 and 2015. Taxpayers across this country invested significantly in programs from Canadian Heritage to offer a wide range of musical performances, street theatre, circus arts, and more. This was in addition to the funds provided to the Québec economic development program to promote and market the festival internationally in both 2013 and 2014.
This year the Department of Canadian Heritage provided significant funding to the 2014 edition of the Rendez-vous naval de Québec.
In 2014, as in past years, we supported many projects that benefited Québec City and helped to raise the profile of the greater Québec region. I would argue that the member herself has applauded some of these investments. She in fact bragged a bit about them when the opportunity arose in her riding to talk about the investments made, in part, by the efforts she put forward.
Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 will provide an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved as a country, to promote a sense of strong pride among Canadians, and to inspire a bright future for Canada in Québec and across our country.
We are well aware of the timelines and the required plan to prepare for Rendez-vous 2017. It is an ambitious and attractive project in the context of the 150th anniversary of our Confederation. We are consulting, discussing, negotiating, and preparing. The member will be happy to know that Québec City is going to be included in a significant way in those celebrations.