‘No one to blame but this liberal government’ if third tourism year is lost due to pandemic measures, says Niagara Falls MP

Niagara Falls Conservative MP Tony Baldinelli and Liberal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra had a heated exchange during a recent committee meeting in Ottawa about ongoing issues and concerns with the ArriveCan app and airport/land-border delays in Canada.

Baldinelli questioned the federal government’s continued mandated use of ArriveCAN at Friday’s meeting of the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities.

He recently read a public comment left on TripAdvisor by a Canadian traveler who described their personal smooth travel experience in the United States vs. Canada.

Baldinelli said Niagara Falls is Canada’s No. 1 tourism and entertainment destination.

“Yet, every taxpayer dollar that Destination Canada spends on our border communities in our prime market, international markets including the United States, is constantly being wasted by headlines in the press that Pearson Airport is the worst airport in the world,” he said, adding that 60 countries all air- Travel pandemic restrictions have been “waived”.

“So, why does this government persist in these restrictions, which only create an inconvenience for this country and discourage travel?”

Alghabra said it “doesn’t help anyone to lose confidence” in Canada’s aviation sector “and in our institution.”

“I acknowledge the fact that Canadian airports and airlines have seen, and continue to witness, some of the congestion we’ve seen around the world, including in the United States,” he said. “I also acknowledge that the only public health measure currently in place at our borders requires proof of vaccination, as do many countries in the US and around the world.”

Alghabra said daily work is being done to address congestion issues “and the evidence proves things are getting better.”

“I want to ask my honorable colleague, if he really cares about the fluidity of our borders, why he and his colleagues supported these blockades, which blocked our borders, which blocked our borders for weeks, preventing Canadians and others from crossing. … “

Baldinelli interrupted Alghabra saying that it was time to ask the question.

“If you do your job, minister, and you talk to the stakeholders, including the federal bridge that regulates Fort Erie, the Fort Erie Peace Bridge Authority, you appointed members of that commission, they can tell you about border delays. Traffic is 50 percent down. , Minister, the waiting time is almost more than two hours, yet you have done nothing,’ he said. Do you keep it?”

Baldinelli said that 40,000 people from his community work in the tourism sector.

“We have lost two tourism years due to covid. This year, if we lose it, it’s self-inflicted and there’s no one to blame but this Liberal government.”

Alghabra said he wanted to set aside the “bluster” as the government “continues to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of Canadians and facilitate smooth border crossings for all travelers.”

“We have all hands-on-deck, whether it’s at airports or at land borders. My colleagues and I are working to ensure that border communities have the tools they need to cross the border safely and effectively,” he said.

Alghabara continued to speak but was again interrupted by Baldinelli.

“Who have you talked to, Mr. Minister?” Have you talked to the stakeholders? Have you talked to the bridge commission? Have you talked to tourism stakeholders?” he asked. “I understand the Liberal caucus was meeting recently in the Niagara Falls, Ontario caucus — did they meet with any stakeholders to hear firsthand about the impact on my community?”

Alghabra said Niagara Center Liberal MP Vance Badaway, a member of the committee, has been a “proud and vocal advocate for the Niagara Region,” as well as a “champion” for the Great Lakes and communities.

Baldinelli stopped Alghabra again and asked, “Then why don’t you listen to her?”

Alghabra said Badawe was working “collaboratively” with ministers and stakeholders.

‘I have met with the stakeholders. I have met with tourism experts,” he said, explaining why Baldinelli “takes months to respond to your own government agency that reports to you.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Conservatives never took Covid seriously,” Alghabra said.

“It is unfortunate that the Conservatives supported these illegal blockades that blocked our borders and had a huge impact on border communities, without apologizing for it to this day,” he said before being interrupted one last time by Baldinelli.

“Minister, they’re going to parade for you on buffalo.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.