Bell apologizes for ‘gay tourism’ error

Jobs Minister Pat Bell has asked his staff to investigate how a ministry brochure erroneously warned against promoting gay tourism in China.

Jobs

VICTORIA – Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell has asked his ministry staff to investigate how a B.C. government brochure on marketing in China came to include an erroneous warning against promotion of gambling and gay tourism in the country.

Speaking to reporters by phone from Beijing Tuesday, Bell offered an apology to anyone who is offended by the reference to gay tourism in the brochure, which is being rewritten.

Entitled “How to Market Your Business in China,” the brochure was released by his ministry days before Bell and Premier Christy Clark left for B.C.’s largest-ever trade mission to China.

It said B.C. tourism partners must “prohibit the promotion of casinos, gambling and gay tourism, per the China National Tourism Association.”

When the issue was raised Monday, Bell initially said the restriction was a result of Canada’s negotiations with China for “approved destination status,” which allows Chinese tourists to visit Canada without visas.

After further checking by ministry staff, Bell said no such restrictions exist in Canada’s tourism agreement with China.

“It is still unclear to me how that passage was inserted into the document,” Bell said. “We can not find any direction either from the [approved destination status] agreement signed with the Chinese or any other place. We are still researching that and I’ve asked my deputy to find out exactly how that happened.”

The Chinese government has struggled with acceptance of homosexuality, which was removed in 2001 from the country’s official list of mental disorders. The state-run China Daily has run several articles in recent years signalling acceptance or discussing moderating public attitudes towards gay marriage.

Tourism Vancouver promotes the city as a gay-friendly place to visit, with the largest gay population in Western Canada and the host city for the North American Outgames in July.

Since the trip began last week, Clark and Bell have highlighted the signing of an agreement with Sichuan Airlines to begin three flights a week to Vancouver starting next year.

Just Posted

Nights of illusion coming to Harrison

Magician Nigel Harrison will be bringing his magic show to the Harrison Lake Hotel this month

No dramatic increase for water, sewer fees in Agassiz secondary suites

Kent had considered increasing secondary suite fees to match that of single-family residences

Bizarre ‘hole punch cloud’ forms over Chilliwack

Several people posted images of the odd formation, which is scientifically known as a cavum

New playground surface possible for Agassiz’s Schep Park

The District of Kent will be applying for two grants to cover the $90K project

Christmas Seals campaign helps British Columbians breathe easier

One in five Canadians have lung disease such as COPD or asthma

Agassiz’s Dickens Tea sells out for seventh year

The annual holiday event saw visitors enjoy high tea and historic talks

‘Absolutely devastating’: Laptops, gift cards stolen from Surrey Christmas Bureau

Executive director says it’s a ‘huge blow’ and the charity was ‘already struggling for teen gifts’

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘porting’ scam that puts internet banking, online accounts at risk

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

10,000 affordable rentals a year needed to tackle Metro Vancouver housing crisis: report

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

Most Read