The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDAC) said it has mixed feelings about the Feb. 23 federal budget, supporting initiatives that invest in the physical infrastructure of Canada’s national parks, and small businesses, but concerned about what’s called a “feebate.”
According to a press release, the government announced that $209 million over five years will go towards the maintenance and acquisition of capital assets, particularly those that minimize the environmental impacts of daily park operations. The investment comes at a time when national parks are in a state of decline, leading to under-use and a lack in RV tourism.
“RVers and other national park users have always felt that Canada can become the natural vacation destination for North America,” says Kim Brown, president of RVDAC. “But infrastructure has been falling apart for years. Investments like this can be combined with other initiatives to enhance tourism in Canada.”
“Environmentalism and eco-tourism is a growing industry around the world,” adds Eleonore Hamm, executive vice-president. “This sort of funding will encourage tourists, both within our borders and internationally, to enjoy parks in responsible ways, like by RVing. We hope to see more action from the government to bring parks up to date.”
In contrast, RVDAC is concerned with the concept of a “feebate”, which would impose a fee on what the government has called “fuel-inefficient vehicles”.
“We feel this fee unfairly impacts recreation vehicles and their owners, people who are simply seeking to enjoy Canada’s nature,” says Brown. “The government should be focusing its efforts on investing in research and development that will bring all vehicles, regardless of size or form, to become more fuel-efficient.
“If a (feebate) system were used, RVDA of Canada would take action to discuss it with the government and encourage it to change towards a system that is more fair.”
The RVDA of Canada said it also supports the budget’s small business initiatives, including:
* A move to reduce the general corporate tax rate by two percentage points.
* An elimination of corporate surtax.
* Capital cost allowance rates will be better aligned with useful life of asset.