The Trudeau Liberals are rejecting calls from Opposition parties to itemize the Governor General’s recent splurging at the expense of taxpayers. Spending at Rideau Hall jumped 11% last year to $37.6 million, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“The Governor General has a mandate to travel internationally to advance Canada’s interests and priorities,” wrote high-ranking Liberal MPs in a letter to the Commons government operations committee.
They penned that Ottawa “seeks to continually review and improve its current practices” to deliver “better value” for taxpayers.
Public outcry intensified after MPs uncovered a $1.17 million bill for a 2022 junket to Dubai. Costs of inflight catering totalled $93,118 for Beef Wellington, fresh salmon and gourmet cakes with fine wine.
The committee in a report last October 4 recommended Rideau Hall report quarterly on travel costs and “publish an annual report on its activities including its financial statements” with itemized costs. Cabinet rejected the proposal without comment.
The report Travel Expenditures Related To The Office Of The Governor General urged Rideau Hall to cut travel delegations by half, cease the use of government jets, and limit “menu choices” for inflight catering.
Governor General Mary Simon in 2021 billed $801,418 to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair accompanied by 32 guests including two official photographers. Expenses included a $19,794 banquet for “prominent Frankfurt Book Fair attendees” in Germany.
MPs also uncovered that Simon billed Canadians $71,000 for limousine rides in Iceland and $37,000 for a new wardrobe including silk jackets and $380 shoes. She expensed those purchases to taxpayers in spite of her $324,173 annual salary.
“Forty thousand dollars’ worth of clothes and a $324,000 a year salary? I think you can afford clothes,” Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola earlier told the committee.
Conservative MPs in a Supplementary Opinion called the spending by Rideau Hall unjustifiable. “This type of lavish spending erodes the trust of Canadians in the Office of the Governor General,” it said.
“The Governor General has shown a lack of respect for taxpayers, the Canadians she is meant to represent,” said Conservative MP Kelly Block. “The job for which she has been tasked has become a means to expense an extravagant lifestyle.”
As of writing, no MP has defended Simon’s splurging for official government business or otherwise.