Union opposed to CTC’s proposed move to B.C. 

Satellite office on West Coast would meet needs, serve country better

The union representing employees of the Ottawa-based Canadian Tourism Commission is fighting the organization’s possible move to Vancouver.

Last week the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada took out quarter page ads in the Vancouver Sun and a national newspaper to voice their concerns over the move.

"We are trying to avoid having the CTC move to B.C.," said Gaston Lampron, vice president of PIPSC. "It is not that we don’t like your province or Vancouver… but the move does not have a business case."

Lampron said the promised move by Minister of Industry David Emerson (Vancouver-Kingsway) smacks of 1950’s politics where a politician would promise his constituents a federal boon in return for election.

Emerson has been quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying that "he’d be toast" if he does not deliver on his electoral promise to move the CTC to Vancouver.

The potential move of the CTC has been on the discussion table ever since Liberal candidates in B.C. vowed during the 2004 federal election campaign to bring the CTC to the West Coast.

During the federal budget discussions in February Emerson, B.C.’s senior cabinet minister, again raised the prospect of moving the $84-million-a-year Crown corporation to Vancouver.

The federal budget outlined a one-time payment of $25 million to the CTC. It is unclear if this is for the move or for other expenditures associated with selling Canada to travellers worldwide.

No date has been set for the announcement about the move.

Calls to Emerson’s office were not returned by deadline.

About 50 per cent of the work the CTC does, said Lampron, focuses on the U.S. and the majority of those markets centre around New York and Washington, D.C.

While he admits that moving the CTC to Vancouver would be good for promotions focusing on the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, and the expanding Asian market, Lampron feels that these opportunities would be better served by opening a satellite office in B.C.

"We really consider that our alternative, creating a satellite office in Vancouver with six to 10 employees, is the best way to go," said Lampron. "That would definitely look at not only the Olympic Games but also B.C. as a region."

PIPSC has also done an in-house survey at the CTC, said Lampron, which found that only 20 per cent of the 100 or so employees would consider moving to the more expensive West Coast.

"A lot of people are saying we are doing this for our own purposes but that is not true," said Lampron. "We will still represent these people, we will just have 100 members in B.C. We are definitely doing this for the welfare of the employees and for Canadians in terms of not wasting money."

Both Tourism Whistler and Tourism Vancouver and stated previously that moving the CTC west would be beneficial for B.C.

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