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Kelowna  

Mulcair hits wine country

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair focused on tourism and small business during his campaign stop in Kelowna this morning.

He was joined at Summerhill Winery by Kelowna-Lake Country candidate Norah Bowman.

“The Okanagan is increasingly earning great respect for the quality of its wines and its tourism industry,” said Mulcair. “Our commitment to Destination Canada will bring more American tourists north, boosting the region’s economy and creating good jobs.”

“Stephen Harper's plan isn't working,” he told party faithful and media in attendance. “It isn't working for Canada's economy, and it isn't working for tourism. In many parts of this country, visits from tourists are down even with the lower dollar. That's why an NDP government will support Canada's vital tourism industry with an investment of $30 million for Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission) over the next three fiscal years.”

He said the funding would attract more visitors from the United States.

Mulcair is winding his way through the Okanagan, with a stop in Penticton Monday night and in Kelowna and Vernon today.

He also promised to reduce the small business tax rate from 11 to nine per cent, helping tourism operators invest in growth and job creation.

“Our plan for change will create jobs and support economic growth right here in Kelowna and across the country, repairing the damage that Liberal and Conservative cuts have done to Canada’s tourism industry,” said Mulcair.

According to the NDP, Canada’s tourism industry supports 600,000 jobs across the country. But the number of visitors from the U.S. dropped by 4.6 million between 2002 and 2014.

“It is high time for Ottawa to boost investment in promoting the Canada Brand so regions like the Okanagan can better compete with emerging tourist destinations,” said Mulcair.

He also took time to mention the Okanagan's decades-long history of voting in Conservative candidates. Mulcair says an NDP candidate can win in the Okanagan.

“Having these extraordinary candidates with us today is a good way of breaking that trend,” said Mulcair. “We know, and people in B.C. know, that here it's the NDP that defeats Conservatives. For the first time in Canadian history, the NDP is the official opposition, a government in waiting with a clear plan, an incredible team and a clear plan to get away from the errors of the past.”

Mulcair now heads to Vernon, where he will attend North Okanagan-Shuswap candidate Jacqui Gingras's campaign launch.

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