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Canadian CEOs call on Tories to end Mexican travel visa ahead of Harper visit

OTTAWA - Canada's senior business leaders are urging the Harper government to lift its "intrusive" visa on Mexican travellers ahead of the prime minister's own visit there next week.

A new report from the Canadian Council for Chief Executives calls the visa, imposed in 2009 to curb bogus asylum claims, an impediment to reinvigorating the Canada-Mexico relationship.

The report, by trade policy expert Laura Dawson, says until Ottawa can fix its own immigration system, it should simply allow Mexicans with a valid U.S. visa to enter Canada.

The Canadian Press obtained the report, to be released Tuesday, which says that spending by Mexican tourists in Canada has fallen to $200 million in 2012 from $365 million in 2008.

It notes how the Mexican ambassador to Canada, Francisco Suarez, last year expressed his country's anger at Canada for not being able to resolve the visa issue.

The council's president, John Manley, echoed Suarez's earlier call for Ottawa to set a firm timetable for the lifting of "the onerous visa requirement."

The Canadian Press

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