Politics
$334,524 bill for Canadian Olympic delegation

Credits: Andre Forget/QMI Agency

DOMINIQUE LA HAYE | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA — The Conservative government's trip to the Olympic Games in London last summer came at a hefty cost that the Opposition calls "completely inappropriate."

A delegation of 21 people including the governor general, an MP, political staff and civil servants ended up costing taxpayers $334,524, QMI Agency has learned.

Documents obtained under Access to Information indicate Canadians paid nearly $162,000 for Gov. Gen. David Johnston, his wife and seven staff members including an aide and a photographer, to travel to London.

The cost includes $54,300 to fly the Queen's viceroy to and from the U.K. on a CC144 Challenger military jet.

Taxpayers paid for a suite for Johnston and his wife at the Hyatt Regency, a five-star hotel located in the heart of London. Accommodations for July 24-30 for the governor general and staff totalled $46,700. The bill for meals and other expenses was $12,075.

The Canadian dignitaries were shuttled around town in three vans and two sedans that were rented for $32,200, and the delegation even rented an office for $9,120.

Johnston participated in Canadian High Commission meetings and also met with members of the royal family.

The government also saw fit to send eight Sport Canada officials to the Olympic and Paralympic games, along with Minister of State for Sports Bal Gosal and three staff members. The bill to taxpayers: nearly $173,000.

Economy class flights for the civil servants cost $18,400, plus $55,088 for meals and per diems.

The airfare and other expenses for junior minister Gosal and his staff totalled at least $9,324.

Under terms of a lodging contract, minister Gosal and his staff stayed at the Grange St. Paul's Hotel, a five-star hotel in London's financial district.

NDP treasury board critic Mathieu Ravignat said the Conservative government was wrong to spend more than $334,000 during a time of deep public-sector cuts.

"It's quite excessive," he told QMI Agency. "In the context of fiscal austerity, it seems completely disproportionate."

Canadian Heritage, the ministry responsible for Sport Canada, said the Olympic delegation provided advice, information and logistical support to minister Gosal.

Gosal spokeswoman Jenny Vanalstyne insists Sport Canada didn't use taxpayer money to buy tickets to Olympic events.

"Ministers or MPs wishing to take part had to get their own tickets," she said.

— With files from Serge Laplante

OLYMPIAN SPENDING?

Here's what taxpayers spent on Canada's Olympic and Paralympic delegations:

Total: $ 334,524

# of delegates: 21

GOVERNOR GENERAL, HIS WIFE AND STAFF

Hyatt Regency bill: $46,672

Five rented vehicles: $32,189

Meals and incidentals: $12,075

Flights on Challenger government jet: $54,268

Meals and trips to London for eight Sport Canada officials: $55,088

Accommodations for minister and staff $90,074.

Sun News Videos

Feminist 'consent underwear' spark debate

Do consent underwear just change the conversation from 'rape culture' to 'slut culture'?


Afghanistan's upcoming election

With an election rapidly approaching, change is on its way to Afghanistan. Good or bad, the world is watching.


Is pedophilia a sexual orientation?

The American Psychiatric Association wanted to call pedophilia a sexual orientation, but is now back-tracking.

Ezra Levant’s The Source is the most provocative and thought-changing multimedia show in Canada.

This show is 100% focused on the political battles taking place across Canada, in the United States...even around the world.

Michael Coren brings you strong, balanced opinions to challenge conventional thinking.

Byline brings you the stories you won’t hear anywhere else while exploring points of view that are all too often ignored.