Feds slash hockey game diplomacy

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

Credits: REUTERS/Patrick Doyle


OTTAWA - Canadian diplomats paying for pricey sporting events for foreign dignitaries and businesses is offside, says Foreign Affairs.

Canadian consulates and embassies will no longer be picking up the tab after the department caught wind of just how much was being spent on hospitality suites at hockey and baseball games in the U.S.

Government documents obtained by the NDP through an order paper question show bureaucrats spent anywhere from $5,338 in 2009-2010 to $20,204 in 2007-2008 on hockey and baseball games "in support of official hospitality."

A private box for one game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Pittsburgh Penguins in March 2012 was billed back at a cost of A $9,957. Canada's consulate in Buffalo -- since shuttered -- hosted local business.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's press secretary Rick Roth said Tuesday spending didn't break Treasury Board guidelines but Baird "did not approve this expenditure and it was a completely unacceptable use of taxpayers' dollars."

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