09/28/2012 09:57 EDT | Updated 11/28/2012 05:12 EST

Parks Canada fees for businesses rumour quashed

There are no plans to charge a new fee to businesses operating close to national parks and historic sites, says a spokesperson for Environment Minister Peter Kent.

Last month Kent made comments that some understood to mean he was considering a fee for businesses that were in a position to take advantage of the tourism draw of national parks. He said there are many businesses that pay nothing for the privilege of operating next to these locations.

Kent's comments led to P.E.I. Senator Catherine Callbeck rising during question period in the Senate this week to ask just what the minister meant.

"There are a lot of small businesses that are really struggling to make ends meet and the potential of another fee could certainly affect many of them," said Callbeck.

Adam Sweet, Kent's press secretary, told CBC News Friday there are no plans for a new fee, and the minister did not mean to suggest that one is being considered.

"Neither the minister nor Parks Canada has been advocating for this," said Sweet.

Kent's original comments were made following a meeting with municipal leaders from 13 communities along Ontario's historic Rideau Canal system.

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