Atlantic magazine has card asking people to write to Calais for kit on P.E.I. trip
Liberal critic demands answers on tourism inquiries going to Maine
Tourism Minister Philip Brown appears to be at a loss to explain why an advertising campaign for P.E.I. tourism in a Nova Scotia-based magazine asks readers to send a reply card to Calais, Maine.
The reply card is part of a full-page ad promoting The Gentle Island in Saltscapes Travel magazine.
The glossy 96-page magazine is "prepared especially for Atlantic Canadians,'' it says. It features stories and pictures from the four Atlantic provinces and Maine.
Inside the magazine is a reply card that readers can fill out to receive a free 2007 vacation planning kit to Prince Edward Island.
The return address is Tourism Prince Edward Island, P.O. Box 375, Calais, Maine.
There are cards in the magazine for the other Atlantic provinces.
New Brunswick's cards are returned to Campbellton, N.B. Nova Scotia's cards are returned to Halifax, N.S.
Carolyn Bertram, the Liberal tourism critic, said she's astonished P.E.I. tourism is using a U.S. postal address.
"This is an Atlantic Canadian magazine, why are we sending our inserts to Calais, Maine, U.S.A.?'' Bertram asked.
Brown said it is more cost-effective to have the reply cards sent to a U.S. postal office. He said there are a number of editions of the magazine and the Calais, Maine, reply cards are only included in the U.S. editions.
"We have a post office box in Maine that the American visitors can respond to with their own postage and then from that post office box they are forwarded to Prince Edward Island,'' said Brown.
But that is not the case.
The Guardian obtained a copy of the Saltscapes Travel magazine that was delivered to a home address in Charlottetown. It contained the Calais, Maine, reply card, meaning anybody who wanted to use the reply card in that magazine to order a P.E.I. tourism guide would have to send that card to Maine.
Magazines at local bookstores also contained the Calais, Maine, reply card.
Following question period, Brown tried to clarify the situation. He came with a magazine to show that other Atlantic Canadian provinces also use U.S. reply cards.
But Brown had a U.S.-based magazine in his hands - not the Saltscapes Travel magazine.
Bertram also questions why the P.E.I. government doesn't pay for the stamp.
Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have postage paid cards which means readers can return the cards without putting a stamp on the card.
But the P.E.I. reply cards have a box saying "Place Stamp Here.''
Since it is being sent to a U.S. post office box, Atlantic Canadian readers would have to pay 93 cents for a stamp instead of the regular 52 cents for a Canadian stamp.
"This individual that brought it forward to me said it is going to cost the potential visitor even more to send it to Calais, Maine, if they are mailing it from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Newfoundland,'' said Bertram.
Brown didn't see the lack of a stamp on the reply card as a big issue.
"If people are going to spend $1,500-$2,000 on a vacation mostly they'll spend 50 cents on a stamp.''