Governor General spent $117K on professional dry-cleaning services since 2018

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), Rideau Hall spent more than $1,800 a month on dry-cleaning services since 2018 — equivalent to dry cleaning 13,831 blouses during that period.

Governor General spent $117K on professional dry-cleaning services since 2018
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) continues to grill Rideau Hall for disrespecting taxpayer dues as Canada’s Governor General has racked up a six-figure dry cleaning tab since 2018.

According to records tabled by Conservative MP Kelly McCauley in response to an Order Paper Question, Governor General Mary Simon and her predecessor Julie Payette spent $117,566 on professional dry-cleaning services.

The records note, “traditional laundering is done in-house,” but Rideau Hall outsourced everything from personal clothing, tablecloths, napkins and assorted linens for professional dry cleaning. 

“When I spill half the Pizza Hut lunch buffet on my white work shirt, I don’t stick the company I work for with the dry-cleaning bill and neither should the governor general,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. 

“This is another perk the governor general enjoys that struggling Canadians can’t afford,” he added.

According to the CTF, Rideau Hall spent more than $1,800 a month on dry-cleaning services since 2018, which would cover the costs to dry clean 13,831 blouses, 6,204 dresses or 3,918 duvets.

In May, the National Post reported that Simon and Payette billed taxpayers more than $88,000 in clothing purchases since 2017. 

Both governor generals spent as much as $3,000 on each clothing item, from a $450 ceremonial hat to $20 t-shirts for personal use. Some of the more costly items included a $3,000 “black velvet dress with silk lining” and $1,064 boots.

McCauley called many of the expenses “obscene,” after tabling Rideau Hall’s clothing bill in May.

“I fully accept there are some ceremonial things that have to be done, and I know GG Simons is buying Inuit-made items, and I’m fully on board with that,” he said. 

However, most of the 200 clothing items purchases appeared to be for recreational or day-to-day business use, claimed the National Post.

“But $140 for flat shoes, $200 for boots, and T-shirts? I’m sorry, but the average Canadians pay for their own boots when they go to work,” added McCauley.

According to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG), the governor general can purchase up to $130,000 in clothing over a five year mandate — down from $200,000 after a 2021 review.

Following the review, the OSGG received about $33 million in federal funding. 

Payette spokesperson, Lise Boyer, said the former governor general spent roughly $50,000 on clothing over the four years she held the role.

“All clothes were related to Madame Payette’s function, duties and [visits by] foreign states,” she claimed.

The Secretary told the National Post the allowance exists to serve clothing protocols for when the governor general “performs their unique state, ceremonial and public duties.”

“Such items include formal wear, uniforms, outerwear for specific climate conditions and extremes, and garments that respect a variety of cultural/religious conventions and dress code requirements,” reads an emailed statement.

According to the documents, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor his cabinet expensed clothing on the taxpayer dime during that period. 

“The prime minister doesn’t get a penny for a clothing allowance,” said McCauley. “If the prime minister and ministers can pay for their clothes, then surely governors general can too.”

The Privy Council Office (PCO) showed the governor general's base salary increased 13% annual raise between 2019 and 2022, from $302,800 to $342,100. Simon’s salary now sits at $351,600 per annum.

“Canada’s governor general already takes a $351,600 salary every year so they can pay for their own clothes,” said Terrazzano.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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