Members of CUPE 1190, representing 550 workers in New Brunswick tourism, are calling on Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace to explain why there’s money for her and her Department to take a week-long trip to Europe, but no money to staff the province’s parks and tourist attractions as the summer tourism season approaches.

“We would love to see Kings Landing return to its normal operations and give more people the opportunity to live this unique experience. We would love to see this amazing New Brunswick attraction come fully alive for our 50th anniversary season,” said Mike Bravener, a member of CUPE 1190 who works at Kings Landing.

In April, it was revealed that Scott-Wallace and her deputy took a week-long trip to the United Kingdom and France, where she racked up a $40,000 bill at public expense, with no discernible benefits to show for it. It came at the same time that her department cut the number of hours and weeks that New Brunswick parks and attractions will be open this summer, which will weaken the province’s tourism sector and damage the livelihoods of hundreds of workers and their families who bring those parks and attractions to life. The negative impacts will also be felt by small business owners who rely on our province’s attractions and tourism.

“This short-sighted decision is going to negatively impact our province’s tourism sector, but it’s also going to have a dire effect on the livelihood of hundreds of the people who bring our parks and attractions to life. It is the welcoming gestures and hospitality, along with the landscape maintained by the CUPE 1190 members that make these parks such an enjoyable experience,” said Jonathan Guimond, President of CUPE 1190, which represents 550 workers in the tourism sector. “To add insult to injury, while her decisions take food off our members’ tables, this Minister is living it up on the NB taxpayers’ dime in Europe.”

CUPE New Brunswick is calling on Scott-Wallace to apologize to New Brunswickers and commit to keeping parks open longer this summer, which will in turn add economy to the small businesses who rely on these attractions.

“The Minister’s conduct is a slap in the face for our members, many of whom earn less in a year than she burned through in a week sightseeing in London and Paris,” said Stephen Drost, President of the New Brunswick Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents over 28,000 workers across New Brunswick. “She needs to do the right thing now: apologize for this total lapse in judgement and restore regular operations for our province’s vital tourism industry.”

CUPE 1190 represents approximately 550 workers in the Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture – the vast majority of whom are casual employees with no benefits, many of whom have been at their jobs for over 20 years. They work at parks and attractions across the province, including Acadian Village, Kings Landing, Mount Carleton, Parlee Beach, Murray Beach, Sugarloaf Park, Herring Cove, Republic Provincial Park, Larry’s Gulch, Hopewell Rocks, North Lake Provincial Park, New River Beach, Mactaquac Provincial Park.