Rideau Hall has ignored calls to rein in spending with its annual expenses nearing $40 million — all on the taxpayer dime.
According to Financial Statements from the Secretary to Governor General Mary Simon, Rideau Hall's costs rose 11% year over year from $33.9 million to $37.6 million, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
On October 4, the Commons government operations committee urged Simon and her cohort to cut spending on salaries, travel and employee benefits. Of the request came a firm demand for an annual financial report with itemized trip expenses.
MPs said Simon must economize her travel by “reducing the overall size of delegations,” flying by commercial aircraft instead of government jets, “limiting menu choices” on catering, and adopting strict trip budgets.
According to government documents, Simon flew 21 times on the taxpayer dime — four times abroad and 17 domestic flights — costing $2.78 million. As first reported by the National Post, that number is expected to climb, with receipts from last year still being tallied.
Of notable concern to MPs is a costly $1.15 million diplomatic incursion to Dubai last March 17, which included nearly $100,000 for in-flight catering.
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.
Conservative MPs in a Supplementary Opinion noted Rideau Hall incurred “egregious” costs like $71,000 for limousine rides in Iceland and “hundreds of dollars spent on limes and lemons to be used as garnishes for drinks.”
MPs also condemned Ottawa for sending the viceregal and her husband to a UN climate summit (COP 26), alongside a photographer, 13 other passengers and crew aboard a chartered military jet. Total fuel costs amounted to $39,252.
"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.
“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 added.
On May 30, the Commons government operations committee rejected a Conservative motion to cut the Governor General’s budget by $136,986. According to Blacklock’s Reporter, that sum is equivalent to her clothing budget, which include silk jackets and $380 shoes.
“Irresponsible spending by the Office of the Governor General has caused outrage,” said Conservative MP Kelly Block, sponsor of the motion. “That’s our job, to hold departments accountable, and this is one way we can do it.”
She stressed that Simon’s “extravagant lifestyle” amid rising demand for food drives, shows “a lack of respect for taxpayers.”
In a Dissenting Report, the Bloc Québécois proposed abolishing the position of Governor General, calling it “An honorary and colonialist position” that costs Canadians “a fortune.”