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Minister Bell apologizes for guide's gay tourism gaffe

It is unclear why a British Columbia government guide incorrectly said there is a ban on promoting gay tourism in China, but he's sorry it happened, the province's jobs, tourism and innovation minister Pat Bell said yesterday.

In a voice message left last night, Bell said the ban was negotiated between the Canadian federal government and the Chinese government as part of Canada gaining Approved Destination Status. An hour later he left a second message saying he'd been mistaken.

"The latest advice I have is that was not the case," said Bell, noting the difficulty finding answers while in China where he's on a trade mission led by Premier Christy Clark. "It was not part of the ADS agreement."

Bell said he didn't know how the misinformation got into the guide, and that he apologizes for it. "Certainly not something I endorse," he said.

The guide How to Market Your Business to China, says, "In alignment with the [Canadian Tourism Commission], Tourism BC will also require that any partner operator agrees to . . . prohibit the promotion of casinos, gambling and gay tourism, per the China National Tourism Administration."

A ministry official said staff have been asked to correct the guide.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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