CTF: Trudeau, Governor General Mary Simon need to reduce international travel costs

News of the prime minister's pricey trip to New York comes on the heels of his costly junket last September to attend the London funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

CTF: Trudeau, Governor General Mary Simon need to reduce international travel costs
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) wants Parliament to cut 'unnecessary' international travel costs after the prime minister and company spent $61,000 to attend an anti-poverty summit in New York. 

"How many people were lifted out of poverty because Trudeau and a band of bureaucrats stayed in a fancy hotel in Manhattan?" said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF.

 Trudeau and his entourage attended the NYC Global Citizen NOW summit to "reaffirm Canada's leadership on gender equality, Canada's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Prime Minister's engagement as a Co-Chair of the United Nations' SDG Advocates," according to documents tabled in the House of Commons.

Conservative MP Dan Albas requested the costs in the Commons after posing an order paper question to Parliament on June 16.

Between April 25 and 29, the New York junket racked up $61,383.94 in hotel bills for 40 rooms at the Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel. The cost breakdown included one room at $1,137.29 per night and 39 other rooms at $562.72 per night.

"Spending $61,000 on hotel rooms is a lot of money, and taxpayers deserve to know the total cost for this trip," said Terrazzano. Additional costs, including flights, meals and other expenses, have yet to be made public. 

News of the prime minister's pricey trip to New York comes on the heels of his costly junket last September to attend the London funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

After months of dodging the subject, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) confirmed Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, stayed at a luxury hotel suite while attending the late monarch's funeral.

The stay at the Corinthia London hotel — an extravagant, five-star riverfront hotel, which included heated floors and complimentary butler service — cost taxpayers $6,000 a night and became public knowledge last October as first reported by the Toronto Sun.

According to internal documents obtained through access-to-information requests, Parliament billed taxpayers nearly $400,000 for politicians, diplomats and other government officials to attend the funeral proceedings from September to 20.

The PMO and Global Affairs Canada initially refused to answer questions in February about who stayed in the expensive suite but eventually conceded despite Global Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly ordering staff not to speak with reporters on the trip.

Canada's official delegation included former governors general Michaëlle Jean and David Johnston, former prime ministers Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, Olympian Mark Tewksbury, actress Sandra Oh, and musician Gregory Charles.

These trips come on the heels of several government scandals related to international travel, which several include the governor-general.

Rideau Hall spent $1.15 million during a diplomatic incursion to Dubai last March 17, including nearly $100,000 on in-flight catering.

Mary Simon also billed taxpayers over $800,000 for a four-day junket to a German book fair, including the cost of two photographers and travel and accommodation for dozens of guests.

Ottawa also sent the largest delegation of any G7 country to COP 26, a climate summit hosted by the U.K. Simon and her husband, a photographer, and 13 other passengers and crew aboard a chartered jet managed by the Royal Canadian Air Force, cost $39,252 in fuel.

Another case of climate hypocrisy exposed by Blacklock's Reporter uncovered the governor-general travelled 3,000 km to attend a 6-minute ceremony in Ottawa.

In an Inquiry Of Ministry tabled in the Commons, Cabinet tracked $12,589 in costs to ferry Simon back and forth between Ottawa and Halifax last August. Expenses excluded the actual cost of aviation fuel and flight crews.

"It's clear the feds love spending buckets of cash flying around the world, but it's not clear what value taxpayers are getting for all this money," said Terrazzano. 

"Reining in luxurious international trips should be the first place the government looks for savings."

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