Why Did The Canadian Public Pay Nearly $3 Million For The Governor General’s Travels?

During her first full year in office, the Governor General incurred transportation costs amounting to almost $3 million. Based on government documents chronicled by The National Post’s Bryan Passifiume, the expenses associated with Governor General Mary Simon flying to four international events and 17 domestic trips across Canada last year totaled $2.78 million. These expenses were distributed across various government departments and ministries.

It’s important to note that this figure might increase further as receipts from the year 2022 are still being compiled.

Franco Terrazzano, representing the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), expressed shock at this amount, especially considering Canada’s ongoing affordability crisis.

“Simon should have the courtesy and common sense to realize many Canadians are struggling and can’t afford to pay for her expensive trips,” he said.

According to information revealed through an order paper question initiated by Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola and uncovered by the CTF, the Governor General participated in four overseas journeys in 2022, with three of them being to the U.K.

For instance, from March 14 to 16, Simon visited London for her inaugural visit with Queen Elizabeth II. This visit was shortly followed by a notable two-week trip to the Middle East, which incurred a substantial inflight catering bill of nearly $100,000. The catering included lavish items like beef wellington and carpaccio, as well as over $500 spent on undisclosed quantities of lemons and limes.

“The visit to the Middle East came at a time of global unrest, and highlighted the necessity of diplomacy and global cooperation,” said the note from Global Affairs Canada in explaining the spending.

The visit involved meetings with government officials from the UAE and discussions aimed at strengthening bilateral relations. Simon was also able to express gratitude to the Qatari and Kuwaiti governments for their assistance during the war in Afghanistan with her trip. The total cost for this trip, including activities such as visiting Expo 2020 in Dubai, was $1.3 million.

In early June, the Governor General attended the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London, incurring around $28,000 for air and ground transportation, meals, lodging, and other costs. During this visit, Simon engaged with governors general from various Commonwealth nations. The expenses for this trip amounted to several thousand dollars.

Later in the year, Simon participated in an Arctic Circle Assembly, which aimed to highlight Canada’s leadership in the Arctic and address key issues such as climate change, reconciliation, gender equality, and youth engagement. This trip included extravagant expenses for luxury limo service, even though the events took place in a walkable city.

Additionally, the Governor General embarked on 17 domestic trips within Canada during 2022, most of which were official and regional visits. These included visits to her hometown, attending military presentations, accompanying Pope Francis during his Canadian visit, and participating in various symposiums.

Natalie Babin Dufresne, spokesperson for Rideau Hall, emphasized that the Governor General is entrusted with a diverse array of responsibilities demanding her presence at events both domestically and internationally. She also expressed her disapproval of how the media has covered the expenses associated with the duties of this role, particularly in terms of the financial burden on Canadian taxpayers.

“Media reports that insinuate that the Governor General is personally responsible for spending or making extravagant requests related to these visits are categorically false,” she wrote. “All final decisions relating to expenses and logistical planning of these visits are made by Global Affairs Canada, as it relates to international visits, and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General for domestic visits.”

In an X thread, Passifiume relayed that Rideau Hall categorized his coverage of Simon’s travels as “disparaging” the Governor General and harms Canada’s “diplomatic efforts.”

“I remind Rideau Hall that concerns over spending was the focus of deliberations at the Government Estimates committee — discussions sparked by my coverage of the GG’s infamous 2022 Dubai trip. It resulted in the end of frills on government flights,” Passifiume wrote.

He added that Simon herself criticized his coverage as “unfair”. But the author defended his coverage, saying “all of my reporting came from government documents, invoices, receipts and reports tabled in the House.”

In response to the expenses, some individuals, including Vignola, called for a reevaluation of the Governor General’s role and expenses. Vignola and her party expressed concerns about the appropriateness of spending public funds on such trips, particularly when many Canadians are facing financial challenges.


Information for this story was found via The National Post and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Views expressed within are solely that of the author. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “Why Did The Canadian Public Pay Nearly $3 Million For The Governor General’s Travels?

  • August 25, 2023 12:24 PM at 12:24 pm
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    This is disgusting, a blatant abuse of taxpayers money, and a lack of oversight on the part of the government, to allow this situation to happen.

    Reply

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