Mr. J. C. MacRae (York-Sunbury):
Mr. Speaker, the resolution proposed by the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka (Mr. Aiken) reads:
That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration the advisability of introducing legislation to authorize the making of loans, jointly with an approved lending institution, to tourist resort operators for the purpose of constructing or making capital improvements to tourist accommodation.
This is, I feel, an excellent one, and most timely. I was deeply interested in this resolution when I saw it on the order paper because I have spent all my life in a province which is very tourist conscious. I refer of course, to New Brunswick, which has been called the picture province of the dominion. It has been said by previous speakers that the tourist industry is big business, and that is quite true. That is borne out by figures which have been given, but which, I feel, bear repetition. In 1948 the money which came into this country as a result of this industry amounted to $280 million; by 1957 it had risen to $362 million.
Since the end of the second world war travel has grown from being a luxury of the wealthy few to being an accepted way of life for every portion of the North American population. The increase in wages and salaries, the shorter working week and longer paid holidays have put the travelling vacation within the reach of everyone. Tourism has reached the status of a major industry. In addition to the moneys spent in Canada by visitors from foreign lands, millions of Canadians spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year travelling in Canada. Tourism has a special significance for the Canadian economy and society in three ways:
1. Through travel from other countries it is the source of new found money which creates additional commerce and employment in Canada.
2. An efficient, attractive tourist "plant" in this country can hold travelling Canadians in Canada and keep in circulation here money which would otherwise be lured abroad.
3. Travel by Canadians within Canada promotes a deeper understanding of our own country and a greater appreciation of our land and our rich heritage, and it fosters national unity.
Tourism means much to Canada, but it could mean a great deal more if the tourist industry were more adequately equipped to meet competition in the international market. In the United States, for example, the tourist business in 1956 grossed about two-thirds as much as the whole agricultural and livestock industry, according to the United States department of commerce. If this trend continues, tourism in the United States may soon surpass agriculture as a major industry.
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Obviously, with more potential tourists than ever before, tourism could be very much bigger business in Canada. But under existing conditions Canada is not holding its own, because last year we had a deficit of $161 million in our tourist account. In other words, while those visiting Canada-and these are dominion bureau of statistics figures-spent $362 million, Canadian visitors to the United States and other countries abroad spent $523 million, a deficit of $161 million which is approximately the same figure as in 1956. It has gone up from a balance, on the other side of the ledger, since 1948, of $145 million.
Canada formerly received the largest share of the money which residents of the United States spent in visiting other countries but that is no longer the case. Since 1953 Europe has attracted more United States dollars through visiting tourists than Canada has. Despite the increase in the cost of transportation, spending by United States travellers in all countries outside the United States is almost double since 1949 but during that same period United States spending in Canada increased by only 23 per cent while Canadian expenditure in the United States rose by 144 per cent.
Many reasons can be given for these travel trends. Among the most important and the more obvious in this competition are the romance of distant areas, the speed of modern air travel, the premium on the Canadian dollar about which I should like to speak later, and the comforts offered by facilities abroad. Competition for the Canadian and United States travel dollar will increase as the world shrinks and as North Americans take more to the motor car and as we, as a people, grow more curious about the world itself. This makes it imperative that Canadians who cater to tourists be able to offer the very best services and facilities to those who demand them when they come here.
It is, of course, sound business practice to improve tourist facilities and accommodation. Millions of dollars are being spent every year by governments, transportation companies and other businesses by way of large advertising campaigns inviting our neighbours in that great country to the south of us to visit Canada and inviting Canadians to travel in Canada. Last year the Canadian government travel bureau spent more than $1,200,000 on an excellent promotion campaign in the United States. I believe that it is economic to back up this expenditure with a product of the highest quality. Promotion of this type abroad and improvement to the tourist plant at home are inseparable. Good advertising alone will not sell an inferior product.
We must offer the traveller more when he gets here. We want him to enjoy the longest possible vacation in Canada and, even more important, to return another year with his friends.
I feel that one of the major deterrents to improvement in tourist facilities and accommodation is the lack of credit facilities. The tourist industry needs long term credit at a reasonable rate of interest. Loans of this nature are not readily available from the chartered banks, insurance companies and trust companies. Without long term credit at moderate interest rates, the return on investment in the tourist industry, especially in the seasonal establishments, is not high enough to allow for the extensive upgrading which is required. The prices charged by the older establishments are low in comparison with those charged by newer places and yet, for what many operators have to offer, the rates are perhaps all that the service is worth. Most of these operators realize that their facilities should be improved and they are anxious to carry out a modernization program but they lack the needed resources. Should an operator improve his facilities by borrowing other than from a bank, insurance company or trust company, he is often obliged to pay a bonus of 10 per cent to 12 per cent and interest payments of eight to 10 per cent or higher. He is then forced to charge very high prices in order to be able to repay the loan in the allotted time. This situation gives the tourist industry a bad name and decreases Canada's competitive position in the industry.
In a recent brief presented to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) the Canadian tourist association advocated that this government should enact legislation to be known as the "tourist establishment improvement loan act". The resolution now being discussed follows along that line. I should like to place on the record the recommendations of the association with respect to the provisions of the proposed act:
Such an act should provide:
(a) Moneys for the improvement, replacement and expansion of established resorts, restaurants, hotels, motels and camps.
(b) A maximum on individual loans of not less than $50,000.
(c) A maximum term of not less than 10 years.
(d) Loans to be made at a reasonable rate of interest, not to exceed the prevailing rate at the chartered banks.
(e) Funds to be made available by means of government guaranteed loans through the chartered banks.
(f) Total amount to be guaranteed by the government of Canada, not less than $15 million.
The Canadian tourist association is the authority on this particular phase of our economy and it is interesting to consider what
it feels the adoption of these provisions would accomplish. The brief states that in the opinion of the Canadian tourist association the adoption of these provisions would reduce the risk factor of the lending program in two ways:
(i) The operation of tourist enterprises requires specialized knowledge and techniques. It is therefore prudent to guarantee loans only to persons who are established in the industry and have demonstrated success.
The hon. member for Parry Sound-Mus-koka (Mr. Aiken) made that point very well but I feel it bears repetition. The brief continues with these words:
The risk of lending to inexperienced operators, who might fail in business, is therefore minimized.
(ii) Lending through the chartered banks would also minimize the risk factor. The manager of the local bank knows local conditions, and he is in the best position to assess the credit worthiness of the client-to assess his record as an operator and the improvements which are contemplated.
I feel that a loan of this type would have beneficial results beyond the improvement of many individual tourist establishments. It would assist in making Canada's tourist industry more competitive in the world market. It would generate new income which would ease Canada's international trade deficit, especially with the United States. It would support our extensive travel promotion program in other countries. It would provide construction and employment during the fall and winter months when seasonal unemployment is at its peak. It would stimulate every phase of the national economy.
The question was raised when the hon. member for Port Arthur (Mr. Fisher) was speaking about how long the tourist industry had been a factor in our economy. I can well remember as a very young lad on the Restigouche river in northern New Brunswick-that river which is famous all over the world for its Atlantic salmon, the finest fighting fish in the world-United States sportsmen who came up there summer after summer and who had been coming for years. Their contribution to the economy of that particular region was one of the most important factors in the livelihood of many of the people there. I had a personal interest in it because, as a young teacher in a community on that river, 90 per cent of my salary was paid by the United States sportsmen. I began to realize how much the Atlantic salmon was worth to the people there.
I feel, however, that we in Canada who are interested in the tourist industry-while most of us have no direct connection with it yet we are interested in the economy of the nation and the financial betterment of our country-have missed the boat badly in
28, 1958 2777
Loans to Tourist Resort Operators several ways. It has been said, and I should like to emphasize it, that we try to be merely carbon copies in too many ways of the United States. Take, for example, in the matter of food served. There is perhaps no finer dish in the world than a freshly boiled lobster recently taken from the sea off St. Andrew's or somewhere else in the east, or perhaps steamed clams or Atlantic salmon. But what do we see served so frequently in many Canadian restaurants? Southern fried chicken! I do not believe that visitors from the United States have come to Canada to enjoy southern fried chicken. I feel they would enjoy much more a St. Andrew's lobster or Atlantic salmon or some other fine Canadian dish. I could continue at some length but I need only say that all of us have had the unfortunate experience of eating in restaurants where the food has been poorly prepared and served although in all fairness I must say that many of our eating establishments are adequate.
As I have driven about the country-and in the last few years I have seen much of Canada-I have been amazed at the number of hotels and motels that are located right beside the road. Perhaps here in Ottawa where there are several fine motels that is necessary but when I go to bed at night I like to be located some distance from the road so my sleep is not disturbed by traffic and street noise. Many people do not seem to give any thought to the location of the tourist accommodation they construct. Perhaps the only thought they have is the cheapness of the land. I think a great mistake is made in this respect.
There is another thing about which I should like to speak very briefly. I think we miss the boat again with respect to the service that is provided in so many of the hotels, motels and restaurants in this country that cater to our people. I do not think there is any substitute for courtesy and cleanliness. At the 1957 annual meeting of the Canadian tourist association it was suggested by one of the panelists that there should be a school for those people who are in this type of service and I can quite appreciate that. As a teacher deeply interested for most of my life in education and teaching others certain skills, I think that is an excellent idea. For example, I think waitresses should be taught that it is not necessary to insert the whole thumb into a bowl of soup but only up to the first knuckle, and other things like that. In a more serious vein, I believe there certainly is scope for improvement in this direction. Too many times it seems to me that restaurant operators, motel operators and others seem to get their help from the cheapest possible source. That
Loans to Tourist Resort Operators may be so; I do not know. But I think if more care were exercised in hiring and training staff it might help.
I come now to another point with respect to which many will perhaps disagree. I think one of the curses of travel is that degrading habit known as tipping. I am told that some 100 or so years ago the word "tip" originated when a box was placed in Lloyds restaurant * at the beginning Lloyds was a coffee house before it became a great insurance firm- with the words "to insure promptness", and from that the word "T-I-P" evolved. On the other hand I have read that thousands of years ago this same practice was in effect. How many times in our travels, have we received poor service and yet have been expected to tip the person who has performed some service for us for which they have already been paid a salary?
I had occasion a few years ago to travel to Vancouver and to stay for a short time at one of the luxury hotels of the west. I do not do that very often because I never felt I could afford it. But in this particular instance in getting from the train to the hotel and then from the hotel back to the train I ransomed my luggage several times from the young lads who carried it. The president of the Canadian tourist association, W. Gordon Wood, who is also vice-president of sales for T.C.A., had this to say about tipping at the 1957 convention of the association:
Perhaps the time has come for us to consider the establishment of a committee to study the abolition of tipping. We are not saying that this is practical-
I think it is practical.
-or whether it is right or wrong-
Personally I feel it is wrong.
-but we *i know this-
This is the point made by this man who is very conversant with tourist affairs in general.
__that if Canada could announce to the United
States tomorrow that we have abolished all forms of tipping, we believe that we could wipe out our travel deficit.
That deficit, as I said earlier, is now $361 million a year. I believe that people who perform a service, whether as a porter on a railway train or as a waitress in the parliamentary restaurant, should be paid a salary commensurate with the work they do. I do not and never have believed in the practice of tipping because I feel it is degrading.
There is another point I wish to put forward and it is strange it has never been mentioned before. I refer to the handling of United States money in our country. When United States tourists come to the border no attempt is made to change their currency
into Canadian currency. A Canadian or anyone else travelling in France would very soon obtain French francs. A person travelling in England would immediately obtain his pounds, shillings and pence or his "quid" and "bob". But when United States tourists come to this country no such attempt is made.
What do we find? We find that because of economic factors their money is not worth as much as ours. The result is that time after time in our establishments we see arguments going on between some poor harassed cashier and a United States tourist because their dollar is only worth 96 cents. We have all had the experience in the past-I know I can remember it as as a youngster-of going across the border to the United States, having our money thrown back to us and being told that it was no good. Possibly that still happens. I do not know. But I believe it would be a very sensible thing for the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration or whatever department is concerned, to have at the larger border crossing points at least, the necessary facilities so that as soon as these people have been checked through by customs and immigration officials they can change their money into Canadian money. Then they would have the currency of our country as long as they were here and there would not be these arguments and hard feeling-there is hard feeling when United States tourists find that their money is not worth as much as ours.
Going back to my youth many years ago I can well remember living with a farmer who had a rather good mixed farm. He had done well and I asked him what was the secret of his success. He said, "My boy, on a farm like this the whole year round you have always got to have something to sell." I think that in Canada we have a great deal to sell if we package it properly.
Like other members who have spoken today, and as I will perhaps be the only speaker from the province of New Brunswick, I should like to take a few moments to tell about the beauties of my province and what it has to offer to the visitor. I am sure many hon. members have never been that far east. There is the beauty of the Restigouche, Miramichi and Saint John rivers, perhaps second to none on the whole North American continent, -the tidal bore of the Petitcodiac, the reversing falls on the Saint John river, the only phenomenon of its kind in the world the Magnetic Hill, the beauty of the islands of the bay of Fundy such as Grand Manan and Campobello. In fact, so beautiful is Campo-bello that for much of his life the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent his
summers there and, some say, loved it even more than his own country.
There is the beauty of the historic sites, the land that Cartier first saw in 1534, that was first settled in 1604 and to which the Loyalists came when they emigrated to this country. I could talk for many hours about the beauty of the province from which I come. I simply suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all other members that at the earliest opportunity you come to visit us in New Brunswick. I am sure you will receive a welcome second to none in the whole country.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding what was said by the hon. member for Port Arthur, I feel that the resolution of the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka is not socialism. It is merely justice. If it is implemented, and I am sure it will be at some time by this government in its wisdom, and it possesses a great deal of wisdom, it will be a great boon to this most important phase of the life of our country.
Subtopic: PROPOSAL FOR JOINT LOANS TO TOURIST RESORT OPERATORS