Saskatchewan government calls out Liberals for hoarding tourism relief for the East

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on June 26, 2020

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe ripped into the Liberal Party today over a spending increase of $46 million for Quebec and Atlantic Canada’s tourism industries hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Moe took issue with the fact that only Eastern Canada received substantial relief, while the entire country is facing setbacks, including Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

Premier Moe’s tweet includes a quote from the Saskatchewan Minister of Parks, Culture and Sports, Gene Makowsky, who said in a statement to the federal government: “It is outrageous that [Ottawa] acknowledges the devastation of the tourism sector across Canada while applying the support unequally.” 

In terms of relief for the tourism industry, Saskatchewan only received $1.5 million as part of the $3.4 million allocated to Western Canada in combined relief. Makowsky asserted that Saskachewan alone should be receiving $4.3 million if all was fair.

Concerning this inequality, Makowsky said that “…I don’t think a tour operator in Saskatchewan is less hurt than in Quebec. Our operators are hurting just as much as anywhere.”

It should be noted as well that the Calgary Stampede had to be canceled this year due to COVID-19, an event that (on average) generates $540 million in economic activity each summer and brings in a significant portion of Alberta’s tourists each year.

Nevertheless, the federal Liberal Parliamentary Secretary Terry Duguid has held the importance of Saskatchewan’s tourism industry in the national interest, stating: “Our message to Saskatchewan’s tourism businesses and those whose livelihoods depend on them is clear: We’ve been here for you with immediate measures, we’re here for you now as our economy reopens and we’ll get through this together.”

Despite this statement by Duguid, there is presently no indication of any extra funding coming Saskatchewan’s way, let alone any of the other Western provinces. 

To this, Makowsky responded: “I think we’re getting short-changed here in the West.” It is not hard to believe this action by the federal government won’t further exacerbate the problem of Western alienation and may fuel the growing Wexit movement.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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