Parliament Hill is seen on a cloudy grey day in Ottawa Dec 14, 2011.
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
The Canada School of Public Service is a taxpayer-funded academy that trains workers, at a cost of $105 million last year. The school offers "Advanced Leadership Program" tours that send top bureaucrats to destinations including Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Sweden.
"This is low-hanging fruit for budget cuts when they consider the strategic review for the spring budget," said Stephen Taylor, director of the National Citizens Coalition. Taylor, who discovered the spending, says when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was first elected to Parliament Hill as a Reform Party MP, he would have opposed such a program.
"Stephen Harper would have been disgusted by these expenses," Taylor said.
"Many Canadians will be shocked to hear that senior public servants are travelling around the world, each one costing us more money than the mean Canadian income."
The Public Service Alliance of Canada wants to know if the top-tier travel program is subject to the same strategic review as all other departments this budget season.
"We have members who are getting pink slips, so I want to know if this 'Leadership Program' is subject to cuts too, and if not, why not?" said PSAC spokesman Larry Rousseau.
One of the participants in the leadership program was Marie Lemay, the CEO of the National Capital Commission.
The department specializes in maintaining the Rideau Canal, bike paths and parks at a cost of $107 million in tax dollars last year.
The leadership program spent $21,745.86 in January and February for Lemay's travels to Calgary, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. Another expense report shows $23,826.87 was spent sending her to Brussels, Oslo, Frankfurt, Chennai and New Delhi.
The Canada School of Public Service and the National Capital Commission did not return calls for comment.