Canada bails on S. Korean 2012 expo

Aug. 25, 2011 at 11:49 AM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Canadian government says it won't participate in South Korea's Expo 2012 event because the $10 million cost was outside its post-recessionary budget.

A recent letter from Heritage Minister James Moore to the South Korean embassy said Canada wouldn't build a pavilion at the expo because "our government is committed to a number of key domestic priorities, including a return to a balanced budget."

That didn't sit well among politicians and business leaders in the western coastal province of British Columbia, where Asian relations are key to the economy.

Pat Bell, provincial minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, told Postmedia News the province was mulling participating in the expo on its own.

"Korea is one of probably four or five countries around the world that we see as being a key trading partner for British Columbia," Bell said. "Now that we know the status of the federal government's participation, I'll certainly be contemplating whether we need to be playing a role there or not."

Provincial Premier Christy Clark also committed to a presence at the international event.

"Whatever happens nationally, I believe that British Columbia is going to lead Canada over across the Pacific Ocean and I am absolutely dedicated to making that happen," she said.

South Korea is Canada's seventh-largest trading partner.

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