“SEE CANADA FIRST”: CAUCHON PROPOSES CANADIAN TRAVEL INCENTIVE PLAN
MONCTON, February 27th 2013 – While visiting a hub of Canadian tourism, Liberal leadership contender Martin Cauchon declared, “The importance of Canadians learning more about their own country, and the importance of the tourism sector to the Canadian economy, suggest that now is an ideal time to actively encourage and promote the advantages of “Seeing Canada First.”
“As part of my platform to put Canada back on track, I am proposing a “Canada First Travel Tax Credit” to encourage Canadians to explore every part of this great country.” Cauchon added that he plans to offer a tax credit up to $2,000 per family for vacation travel within Canada”, noting that minimum distance and methods of travel criteria would be determined to ensure the plan serves its intended purpose.
“There is every reason to believe Canadians will be receptive to this proposal”, Cauchon added. A November 2012 Harris-Decima poll found that fully 70% of those polled expressed enthusiastic support for the idea. Support was strong across Canada and especially in the regions farthest from central Canada, with nearly 80% in Atlantic Canada and 75% in Alberta and B.C. favouring the plan.
“The Harper Conservatives are ignoring this vital element of the Canadian economy at their peril,” Cauchon stated, noting that “Tourism is a crucial element of the economy in many outlying regions and rural areas of the country, and the jobs it provides are green jobs we should be encouraging.”
“I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Canadians expect leadership from their federal government. They look for reasons to feel good about their country and its future. Exploring Canada from one end to the other is a good place to start,” Cauchon concluded.
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Canada is the second-largest country in the world. With six time zones and a national highway system covering 7700 kilometers between St. John’s Newfoundland and Victoria, B.C., the physical diversity of the landscape is equaled only by the cultural diversity of its citizens. Yet many Canadians have never seen large portions of their country, and a major reason is the high cost of travel.
At the same time, the number of foreign visitors to Canada declined dramatically in the past decade, from 20 million in 2002 to 16 million in 2012, dropping Canada from 7th to 18th place as a destination choice. With the ongoing economic uncertainty in the United States and Europe this situation is not likely to improve in the near future.
Yet Canada’s travel and tourism sector plays a major role in Canada’s economy. It contributes more to GPD than the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors combined. It adds close to $80 billion to the economy, and accounts for more than 600,000 direct jobs and 1.6 million jobs supported by tourism spending. Federal and provincial government revenue from tourism and travel amounts to some $11 billion annually. As Vancouver Sun journalist Barbara Yaffe has noted, those jobs “often are badly needed ones, in remote and rural areas. And they help generate a non-polluting stream of revenue…”
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Chamber of Commerce Report: “Top Ten Barriers to Competitiveness for 2013”
Winnipeg Free Press, “Tax Credit for Canadian Travel Applauded”