May 21st, 2024

In the news today: Tourism operators face heavy debt loads

By The Canadian Press on April 23, 2024.

Canadian tourism operators says the tourism sector hasn't returned to what it was pre-COVID. Unofficially named "The First Sidewalk" a 700-foot walking trail system to promote eco-tourism is shown in Bella Bella, B.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Tourism operators face heavy debt, even as business roars back

Canadian tourism operators says the tourism sector hasn’t returned to what it was pre-COVID.

Many businesses report carrying a heavy debt load, with Vancouver-based ecotourism company Maple Leaf Adventures saying it’s carrying it’s heaviest debt load in 38 years.

Co-owner Maureen Gordon says while she and her competitors are recovering, higher interest rates are putting a damper on the post-COVID rebound.

Tourism Industry Association of Canada C-E-O Beth Potter says while the sector brought in 109-billion dollars in revenue last year, the federal government must help out by bringing in a new low interest loan program.

Tourism Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada has said tourism operators have been affected by the warmest winter on record, but will be helped by the federal carbon rebate.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

Trudeau to make announcement in Saskatoon today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Saskatoon today, where he will make an announcement highlighting measures focused on youth, education, and health that were contained in last week’s budget.

Joining Trudeau at the announcement in Saskatchewan’s largest city are minister for northern affairs Dan Vandal and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien.

Trudeau has faced conflict with the Saskatchewan Party government, whose leader, Premier Scott Moe, has been a vocal and long-standing opponent of the federal carbon levy.

Moe is one of several premiers who have asked Trudeau to host a meeting to discuss alternatives to the consumer carbon price.

‘Perfect storm’: Quebec farmer protests continue

Quebec farmers are continuing a series of protests that have brought slow rolling tractors to communities across the province’s agricultural regions.

The president of Quebec’s farmers union Martin Caron says producers are struggling with higher interest rates, growing paperwork and fees on plastic products, like containers of seeds, fertilizer and pesticides.

His organization is asking the current Coalition Avenir Quebec government to ensure farmers can get loans with interest rates of three per cent.

A spokesperson for Quebec’s agriculture minister says farmers can get emergency financial aid through a new program and that the government is consulting with the farmers union about reducing paperwork.

Study shows caribou growth at wolves’ expense

New research suggests western Canada’s caribou population is growing.

But the same study also shows the biggest reason for the rebound is the slaughter of hundreds of wolves, a policy which will likely need to continue.

Thirty-four researchers compared notes on herds in Alberta and British Columbia based on a study in Ecological Applications and found between 1991 and 2023, the caribou population dropped by half.

However, over the last few years the numbers have begun to slowly rise, as it’s estimated there are now more than 1500 caribou than there were had not restoration effort been made.

Second World War hangar in Edmonton burns in fire

An aircraft hangar built during the Second World War at Edmonton’s former municipal airport has been destroyed by fire.

A spokesman for the City of Edmonton says in an email firefighters were called to Hangar 11 just before 7 p.m. Monday.

The city’s email says 11 fire crews were dispatched to the scene to deal with the heavy smoke and flames and the wooden building later collapsed.

How a Newfoundland town shaped creepy ‘King Tide’

A new movie shot in Newfoundland showcases a community heavily reliant on a magical child.

“The King Tide” is about an isolated villagers having their lives forever changed after a mysterious infant washes up on their shores, the sole survivor of a devastating boat wreck.

They name the baby Isla, raise and learn she has healing powers promising immunity from injury and illness.

As the years pass, they become reliant on Isla’s abilities, but when her powers start to fade, a panic sets in as the community begins to fracture.

The movie was shot by Newfoundlander Christian Sparkes in Keels, Newfoundland, a former bustling fishing community which he says he’s been looking to film in for years, but couldn’t until recently due to the cost.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024.

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