Transport Canada has disclosed information revealing that Health Minister Patty Hajdu has flown privately on its jets more often than previously reported.
Mininster Hajdu was initially reported to have flown home four weekends out of six, but that number has now increased to six flights back home, — with one trip as recent as July 9 — according to information obtained by Blacklock's Reporter.
The roughly thousand-kilometre flights cost taxpayers $73,220, with an official estimated cost of $1,400 per hour for the ministers private use of the seven seat Cessna Citation C550 jet.
“Physical distancing doesn't mean being alone. Stay apart in person, but stick together virtually with phone calls and video calls. #StayHomeSaveLives,” Hajdu tweeted on Monday, April 6.
By the end of the same week, Minister Hajdu was privately boarding the Transport Canada jet, heading back to Thunder Bay for the Easter long weekend.
“Protect your friends, family, and neighbours. Connect online or on the phone, but stay home. #StayHomeSaveLives,” reads Hajdu's tweet from April 13, Easter Monday.
Minister Hajdu was previously reported by Blacklock's as having tended to two bits of constituent business during her trips back home: a Zoom conference call with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, and a phone call to a local radio station to express gratitude for frontline workers. Both instances occurred on the same day, April 30.
It would also appear Hajdu was in Thunder Bay on July 2, as she tweeted images of her speaking to members of the Thunder Bay Health Unit.
Simon Rivet, spokesperson for the Department of Transport confirmed that “Transport Canada’s fleet and pilots have been leveraged as one alternative to private chartered flights,” while adding that its jet fleet has been used by other cabinet members, MPs and senators, but declined to share the names of the passengers.
The health minister has not yet commented publicly on her frequent use of the Transport Canada jet.