Queen’s Park feels the heat

Angry Canadians are re­turning from ruined vacations to ques­tions about the role the Ontario government should have play­ed in warning travellers about Conquest Vacation’s impending demise and whether Ottawa did enough to help those who were stranded.

Angry Canadians are re­turning from ruined vacations to ques­tions about the role the Ontario government should have play­ed in warning travellers about Conquest Vacation’s impending demise and whether Ottawa did enough to help those who were stranded.

Ontario’s New Democrats are placing the blame squarely on the provincial government, saying it oversaw the “absolute failure” of its regulatory body to protect travellers.

The Travel Industry Council of Canada “knew almost half a year ago that Conquest Vacations had a cash-flow problem,” New Democrat Peter Kormos said yesterday.

“TICO knew that travellers were at risk,” Kormos said. “The government had an obligation to warn those customers.”

The travel council has said it’s trying to help Canadians who have been told they must pay for their hotel rooms after Conquest closed its doors last week because of economic problems, leaving many of its customers in the lurch.

But delayed compensation means little to travellers like Kristina Trollip of Waterdown, Ont. The 36-year-old is angry that her family had to shell out close to $10,000 for a va­ca­tion that has traumatized her seven-year-old son. Trollip said her family was forced to pay close to $4,000 to leave to hotel — in addition to the $3,600 she had already paid for herself, her husband and two young children, and the $2,800 paid by her in-laws, who were with her.

Ontario Consumer Services Minister Harinder Takhar defended the travel council, saying it had been trying to help Conquest deal with its finances and that the regulator couldn’t just divulge information that could have led to a shutdown of the company.

 
 
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