Trudeau's governor general billed taxpayers $3 million for travel in 2022

According to government documents, Governor General Mary Simon flew 21 times on the taxpayer dime — four times abroad and 17 domestic flights — costing $2.78 million.

Trudeau's governor general billed taxpayers $3 million for travel in 2022
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby
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Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is shocked by the entitlement of Rideau Hall, having learned that Governor General Mary Simon spent nearly $3 million in transportation costs last year.

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.

“Why do Canadians need our governor general going on all these trips?” posed Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF.

“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.

“It’s clear governors general get a kick out of spending buckets of cash on trips, but what value are taxpayers getting from the millions they spend?”

According to the Taxpayers Federation, Rideau Hall has spent far too much money for far too long. They advised the department to rein in the governor general’s travel budget to find savings.

According to responses to an order paper question filed earlier this year by Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola, Simon had four junkets abroad in 2022 — of which she went to the U.K. thrice.

The Governor General visited the late Queen Elizabeth II in London from March 14 to 16.

Immediately after, she went to the Middle East for two weeks with 29 guests. Inflight catering neared $100,000 as they dined on beef wellington and carpaccio.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) tried to justify the expenditure as a “necessity of diplomacy and global cooperation” during global unrest in the Middle East.

“In the UAE, the governor general met with government officials from the region to strengthen bilateral relations and shared messages regarding the importance of wide international collaboration during periods of conflict,” read the GAC note responding to the order paper question.

They said Simon specifically thanked Qatar and Kuwait for evacuating Canadians and Afghans who helped Canada during the war in Afghanistan.

Including travel, accommodation, and food, the trip cost a total of $1.3 million.

Several months later, the Governor General and seven others, including her husband Whit Fraser, attended the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London to socialize with the governor generals of other Commonwealth nations.

Taxpayers paid $28,438.02 for her air and ground transport, $3.157.90 for meals, $7,193.90 for lodging at a bougie hotel, and $13,296.64 for other expenses.

Simon would ultimately return to London for a third time in September following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Airfare costs $22,288.14, with $17,012.58 in other expenses.

As a separate expense, lodging during the sorrowful occasion included $9,960.84 at the Great Scotland Hard Hotel and $43,128.54 at the Corinthia.

Her fourth international trip, and perhaps most extravagant, included a four-day excursion to attend an Arctic summit in Iceland with an emphasis on ‘climate change.’

Rideau Hall spent an outrageous $71,000 on a luxury limo service despite being within walking distance from the venues.

Lodging cost about $118,000 for Simon and several GAC employees who also attended the summit on behalf of Canadians.

Marilyne Guèvremont, a GAC spokesperson, told the National Post that Simon only travelled abroad to promote Canada’s interests.

“As the representative of Canada’s Head of State, the Governor General plays a critical role in international diplomacy,” she said, adding that international diplomacy incurred costs.

“State and official international visits are a vital way for Canada to engage in the international arena and represent the interests and values of Canada.”

The department tried to assure the publication that they respect and responsibly spent public funds.

“Global Affairs Canada is committed to Canada’s presence on the world stage and advancing national interests and values in a complex global environment,” they said.

Natalie Babin Dufresne, a spokesperson for Rideau Hall, said the governor general’s position requires her attendance at international and domestic functions.

“Global Affairs Canada makes all final decisions relating to expenses and logistical planning of these visits, as it relates to international visits, and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General for domestic visits,” she said.

Officially, Simon took 17 trips within Canada last year, including a May 8 to 13 visit to her hometown of Kangiqsualujjuaq, Québec.

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