Tag: michael chan

    Tourism minister drops by Falls city hall for friendly chat with mayor

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    From Bullet Media:

    The view from 10,000 feet is often brilliant and rarely detailed. And that pretty much sums up the meeting Friday between Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan: A relaxing get-together with nothing on the agenda, and few if any expectations.

    “It was just a chance to get acquainted,” Diodati said. “There was nothing substantive or contentious at all. It was one of those discussions from 10,000 feet. We talked about items of general importance to tourism in Ontario and Niagara Falls. We talked about the Chinese market, the upcoming Bollywood festival, and how we can capitalize on this.”

    Chan rallies NPC staff

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The public has “high expectations” of the Niagara Parks Commission and its employees want to live up to them, Ontario Minister Tourism Michael Chan said in a visit to Niagara Falls Friday intended to rally the employees of the beleaguered government agency.

    “They want to do their job. They want to do it right. They want to do it good,” Chan said in an interview after a reception with more than 200 employees of the government agency responsible for the public land along the Niagara River.

    The Liberal cabinet minister said it’s his “style” to meet the people who work for the agency that fall under his watch.

    He hinted Friday at the “many challenges” the agency has faced.

    Confidentiality oath should stay: Minister’s office

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Ontario’s Tourism Minister appears ready to accept decisions by Niagara Falls and Fort Erie to reappoint their same representatives to the Niagara Parks Commission, despite his request for fresh faces.

    “Ultimately, the nomination of representatives is a decision that rests with the individual municipality,” Liberal Tourism Minister Michael Chan said through a spokesman Tuesday.

    His office was reacting to news Niagara Falls had re-appointed Coun. Vince Kerrio as the city’s representative on the government agency and Fort Erie had named Mayor Doug Martin.

    His fellow councillors want Kerrio — and other municipal politicians who serve as parks commissioners — to have the freedom to talk more openly about what goes on at the government agency. All commissioners must take an oath of confidentiality that prevents municipal councillors from updating their council on some issues.

    Chan seeks clean sweep of board

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Ontario government doesn’t want the same municipal politicians — including Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin and Niagara Falls Coun. Vince Kerrio — reappointed to the Niagara Parks Commission board.

    The Niagara Falls Review learned through sources the Ministry of Tourism is looking to follow up its purge of four provincially appointed commissioners by asking Niagara Region, Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake to appoint different members to the board than during the last term of council.

    A spokesman for Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan confirmed the province doesn’t want familiar faces returning after the four municipalities swear in their councillors this month.

    “We are encouraging the municipalities to put forward new names for these appointments,” Mukunthan Paramalingham, the tourism minister’s senior communications adviser, said in an email response to questions posed by The Review. “Our goal is to establish a strong board with members who will bring forth new ideas and qualifications to move the commission forward.”

    Booker ‘rattled’ by attack on credibility

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Fay Booker says she’s “rattled” and disturbed by what she calls attempts to undermine her credibility as chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission at a time Ontario’s Liberal government is looking to her to fix historic problems and lead the agency in a new direction.

    She tackled head-on an anonymous e-mail sent to The Review suggesting she helped a friend get a contract as project manager with the commission, helped her former accounting firm secure a contract as its auditor and doubled the pay commissioners get.

    “I’ve never had my credibility undermined like this,” she said Wednesday. She is in Calgary on a teaching contract. She didn’t have time to cancel before Tourism Minister Michael Chan shook up the parks commission Monday by turfing one-third of its members.

    “What I’ve come to realize is we’ve got to resolve the past before we can address the future,” Booker said.

    4 Niagara Parks Commission members turfed

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Niagara Parks Commission, which has recently been plagued by scandal and controversy, is in for quite the shake-up.

    Late Monday night, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism announced it was removing four commissioners from the Niagara Parks board.

    An interim board, composed of chairwoman Fay Booker, vice chairwoman Janice Thomson, four municipal appointees and six senior Ontario public servants will operate until a new permanent board is appointed.

    Booker and Thomson will continue to provide leadership and guidance “as we work with the interim board to strengthen the integrity of the commission,” Tourism Minister Michael Chan said in a statement released late Monday.

    “Our government is taking action to move the Niagara Parks Commission forward and to restore public confidence in this important government agency. We recognize the concerns that have been raised and are taking decisive steps to set the Niagara Parks Commission in a new direction with stronger governance and greater accountability,” Chan said.

    Justify sole-source contract: MPP

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Whatever information Niagara’s regional tourism organization used to justify an “exception” from the province’s ban on single-source contracts, it should be disclosed to the public to ensure public confidence in the agency, Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor says.

    “I think that the chairman of the board should explain to the media or to the public what they presented to the bureaucrats that convinced them this should be an exception,” Craitor said Th ursday.

    The first project by Niagara’s regional tourism organization — a body created last year by Ontario’s Liberal government to promote tourism — led to a controversy after it was revealed it commissioned Niagara Fallsbased Rev Publishing to produce a glossy $500,000 tourism magazine without putting it out to tender.

    “This is not a good way for it to start out,” said Craitor, who is also parliamentary assistant to Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan.

    Tourism group gets ‘exception’

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Some “exceptions” to Premier Dalton McGuinty’s 2009 rule requiring all government contracts to be subject to competitive bids allowed Niagara’s tourism agency to spend $500,000 on an untendered contract to publish a promotional magazine, says Tourism Minister Michael Chan.

    “There are exceptions in terms of single-source procurement,” Chan said Wednesday in Niagara Falls where reporters asked him why the new tourism organization — created by the Liberals in 2009 — was allowed to commission a promotional magazine without seeking competitive bids from other publishers.

    Regional To u r i s m Organization No. 2 — a new agency responsible for promoting Niagara’s tourism offerings — in May hired Rev Publishing, a Niagara Falls publishing company to print 500,000 copies of “Niagara Today,” a 96-page “destination magazine” to promote the region’s tourism options.

    Chan’s ministry approved the expenditure by the organization’s “transitional” board, led by Joel Noden, a former Niagara Parks Commission executive, who said they didn’t have time for a “proper” tender if they wanted the magazine out in time to influence vacationers’ 2010 travel plans.

    Tourism Minister stops in Niagara for first official visit

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    From Niagara This Week:

    Ontario’s Minister of Tourism and Culture has finally made his first official visit to Niagara.

    Michael Chan was named tourism minister in January of this year and recently came under fire from the opposition party for not visiting Niagara Falls — one of Ontario’s largest tourism destinations.

    Last month, Tim Hudak, Opposition leader and MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, visited Niagara Falls and asked why Chan had yet to do the same after more than 100 days in office.

    On Wednesday, that all changed when Chan spent the day visiting sites around Niagara and meeting with important leaders in the tourism industry.

    Falls important for Ontario tourism: Minister

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    As Michael Chan met with several of Niagara’s tourism officials this week, he said one thing became abundantly clear.

    “I think the Niagara region is in a really good position moving forward. I’m very hopeful for the future of tourism in the area,” Ontario’s tourism minister told The Niagara Falls Review during his day-long tour of the peninsula Wednesday.

    While mayors, economic development officers and others with a stake in the local industry continue to raise concerns about the economy, currency exchange fluctuations and border-related challenges, bright lights can be seen on the horizon, Chan said.

    Construction of the Niagara Convention and Civic Centre in Niagara Falls, a motor speedway proposal in Fort Erie and the formation of a regional tourism organization will put the area in good stead come the future, he said.

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