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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Dangerous branches delay removal of body in Oak Bay workplace death

Traffic restricted on McNeill Avenue near Byng Road

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Most Read