Deputy PM announces $48.5M tourism relief fund for Atlantic Canada

·2 min read
Freeland said the nation is proud of P.E.I.'s response to COVID-19. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC News - image credit)
Freeland said the nation is proud of P.E.I.'s response to COVID-19. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC News - image credit)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced $48.5 million for tourism relief in Atlantic Canada.

Freeland made the announcement at Founders Food Hall and Market in Charlottetown Thursday during a visit to Prince Edward Island. Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay joined her at the podium.

Freeland said during the event that the Liberal party is ready for an election this year.

"Lawrence and I, and our colleagues, were conscious every single time that we have to be ready. We have to be ready for other parties not to support us." Freeland said.

"I think that if you're a politician in a government which is a minority in Parliament, you need to be ready to face voters any time."

Rejuvenating tourism

The funding for tourism relief comes from a national $500 million COVID-19 tourism relief fund, which was set up last week. $50 million from that fund will be dedicated to Indigenous tourism projects.

"We know more support is still needed, and the fight is not over yet. We know that the tourism sector particularly needs to be supported," Freeland said.

"This is direct support that will help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations, finish the fight against COVID and get through to the other side."

Freeland said she came to P.E.I. to make the announcement because it's best to talk in person — and because it was safe to do so.

"As a minister, it's so useful to talk to human beings in person, to hear from them how things are going, to hear from them what they need," she said. "To see the people who are here, and talk to my colleagues in person."

Announcement an election campaign

University of Prince Edward Island political science professor Don Desserud said he expects to see more federal politicians on the Island ahead of a widely anticipated election call.

"This is typical behaviour, in a normal year anyway, to see cabinet ministers and prime minister and leaders of the other parties already crisscrossing the country, making announcements of this sort," he said.

Desserud said P.E.I. is an appealing destination for politicians looking for safer places to travel and make announcements.

"They are looking for areas where COVID is not a huge problem anymore, as we've seen here in Prince Edward Island," he said.

"The effectiveness of these announcements is certainly increased when the minister is able to be there in person."

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC News
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC News

Desserud said announcements such as Freeland's on Thursday, are common when an election is coming. He added that P.E.I. is a good place for the Liberal party to start its campaign.

"This is a Liberal-friendly province right now, and I think they see it that way," he said. "We'll find out in the next election whether it is or not, but as far as they're concerned, it is."

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