OTTAWA 01- Bev Oda spoke to members of the media about increased Canadian contributions to the World Food Programme and the Canadian Food Grains Bank, in Ottawa, October 26, 2011.
Credits: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda's trip last year to England to attend a global conference on immunizations kicked up such a firestorm that Oda cut a cheque to calm the fuming outrage.
Her extravagances caught up to her after an access to information request showed she kicked up her heels at the Saudi-owned Savoy Hotel overlooking the Thames River for three nights rather than stay at a five-star hotel where the conference was being held.
The Savoy - with $16 orange juice - cost more than twice as much per night than the $287 the Grange St. Paul's Hotel charged.
A luxury car and driver cost nearly another $1,000 per day.
A spokesman confirmed Oda paid back the difference between the two hotels and a cancellation fee at the Grange.
NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said cabinet ministers shouldn't be blowing taxpayer money on the high life during austere times.
"I suppose if you're in a high-flying rock band," Cullen said when asked about whether the expenses could be justified.
"But as a minister who is meant to be engaging with the world's poor, most needy and coming from a government who is demanding that Canadians tighten their own belts, the hypocrisy is reeking."
Oda's spending spree isn't the first time her caviar tastes have landed her in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's bad books.
She had to reimburse the treasury in 2006 after ringing up almost $5,500 in limousine rides while attending the Juno Awards in Halifax.