During the study of budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Tourism, the Leader of the Official Opposition and Critic for the Charter for Regions, Ms. Dominique Anglade, and the Official Opposition Critic for Tourism, Ms. Isabelle Melançon, demonstrated how Minister Caroline Proulx’s lack of vision created considerable uncertainty for Quebec’s tourism stakeholders, who have been awaiting concrete action from the minister for weeks, despite the minister being well aware that the summer season was upon us.
What we heard from Minister Proulx this morning is concerning considering she had the power to implement the demands we made to her to reassure the industry. From the very first signs of economic instability, we asked the minister to demonstrate leadership and offer direct assistance, but it was futile; no such assistance was sent to the industry. As proof, recall that after being ignored, many sector stakeholders such as owners of water parks made public statements demanding that the Minister respond.
In reality, today we learned that the plan Caroline Proulx presented in June was mere improvisation.
Unfortunately, this improvisation, combined with her absence, has had tragic consequences for our regions. Recall that this regional tour has provided the Liberal Leader with opportunities to talk to people from the tourism industry and see the extent to which Minister Proulx’s absence continues to negatively affect numerous partners and hinder economic recovery in our regions.
After two hours studying the Ministry of Tourism’s budget allocations, it is evident that Minister Proulx still does not have a plan in anticipation of a second wave, and that as of August 18th, 2020, she is still unable to quantify the impacts of confinement on our tourism industry. With that in mind, two weeks ago I met with a variety of tourism stakeholders in the Mauricie region and all of them confirmed a sad reality; the 2020 summer season is a loss. This situation does not only impact the heart of our regions, but also the thousands of families that own SMEs, whose livelihoods depend on tourism and who are now having difficulties making ends meet, in addition to having been abandoned by the minister. Clearly, after such improvisation, Minister Proulx is not capable of establishing a climate of trust and that is detrimental to our economic recovery as recovery is also contingent on the sustainability of the entire tourism industry well beyond 2021.
–Ms. Dominique Anglade, MNA representing Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne and Leader of the Official Opposition
For weeks, I have been speaking to representatives and entrepreneurs who work in the tourism industry and the evidence is overwhelming. The summer of 2020 will have been very difficult for various parts of the industry, in particular the hotel and restaurant sectors. The minister’s $753 million plan is just smoke and mirrors. The plan mostly represents loans and renovation projects at a time when businesses cannot afford to invest and are struggling to just survive. I am very concerned about what will happen next and it is worrisome to note the Minister’s inability to provide answers to questions that stakeholders are asking.
–Ms. Isabelle Melançon, MNA representing Verdun and Official Opposition Critic for Tourism