Hear the joke about tourism?

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Isn’t it curious that during any discussion of Pontiac’s potential for growth and job-creation every single politician,
no matter their political stripe or jurisdiction, will announce that our future is “in tourism”? It is curious because this has been announced continually for about four decades. 

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Isn’t it curious that during any discussion of Pontiac’s potential for growth and job-creation every single politician,
no matter their political stripe or jurisdiction, will announce that our future is “in tourism”? It is curious because this has been announced continually for about four decades. 
After forty years, we’d think, tourism should have proven its potential. It
hasn’t.
There seems to be fewer cars with out-of-province or US plates than forty years ago, not more.  There are fewer, not more, motels, hotels, inns and B & Bs.  Restaurants have hardly changed, in number, and although actual attractions have increased (karting near Quyon, dry-land dog sledding in Bristol, new rafting companies, and a few others), these new attractions hardly make
up for other losses.
Golfing, fishing, hunting, camping . . . a static pattern here.
There is no blame.  There’s praise – Jane Toller of Spruceholme and
Le Bistro Bucheron in
Fort-Coulonge jumps to mind – for those few who have started something new, but praise also to those brave souls who
persist, year after year – Pine Lodge, Domaine Lac Bryson, the golf courses, many more – struggling to make a living and to
provide a service that
creates jobs. These people deserve an “Order of the Duchy of Pontiac” award!  Them and our Pontiac Chamber of Commerce.
But the question remains why so many politicians lean on “tourism” as their solution for economic development.  We can’t ignore the huge efforts many have made to create an industrial park, save the rail line, build
a slaughterhouse, create niche farm operations, etc, but why isn’t their vision inspiring our politicians? Why always back to the old horse of tourism?
Worse still are not the candidates who glom onto tourism as our saviour,
it’s the whole political infrastructure (government bodies, ministries, departments) supporting this sham. And if it were only a question of Quebec City being too “busy” to pursue our goals, we could live with that. We’ve lived with it for more than forty years. 
No, the question is
why do all these leaders and their political
infrastructure in Quebec City, Ottawa, Gatineau, and Campbells Bay, promise us a better future through tourism – and yet at the same time cut even more funding from the
paltry budget that supports tourism?
Why are two of Pontiac’s very few major attractions shut down for lack of government budget!  Why is the longest working covered bridge in Quebec – the red Marchand Bridge in Mansfield – shut for all traffic, even bikes &
walking?  Bravo, again, to Ms Toller for launching the red bridge petition.
Why is the beautiful
heritage Bryson House, on the highway opposite the red bridge, also closed for lack of provincial budget (going through the MRC, or not)?  Bravo to Fort Coulonge for “Village en fête!”, to Shawville for
a Canada-best July 1
fireworks.
Why are the roads and bridges in the TNO, Pontiac’s great wilderness expanse, perfect for hunting, fishing, photography, canoeing and camping, why are roads washed out and many bridges missing?  Provincial austerity?
Quebec City and it’s political operatives here – our MNA, the MRC, for example – tell us tourism is our only hope, and then tell us they are cutting its
funding. Who’s really,
really, really, really stupid here – them, the well-paid bureaucrats of Quebec City, or us, who just nod and say “merci!”?  Can’t we cut the pretence?
Pontiac isn’t the province’s biggest doormat, as Quebec City thinks, we’re Quebec’s sparkling doorway to the rest of Canada.