General government in-flight catering bill actually $80,000: DND
The Department of National Defense (DND) says the total cost of the Governor General’s in-flight catering bill during a trip to the Middle East in March was actually $80,367.19, correcting the original figure that he had communicated to Parliament this week.
In a statement to CTV News, the department said after further review of receipts, the cost was approximately $13,000 less than reported to Parliament and included three dinners, three breakfasts, two lunches and various snacks. for 29 passengers and 17 crew members.
A response to a question on the Order Paper from Conservative MP Michael Barrett, which demanded details of flights on the government’s CC-150 Polaris aircraft between December 1, 2021 and April 26, 2022, showed that Governor General Mary Simon and his guests had spent $93,117.89 on catering.
Catering does not include alcoholic beverages consumed on board the aircraft.
Earlier Thursday, Rideau Hall issued a statement saying Simon « shares the public’s concerns » about the expense and is awaiting further clarification from the relevant departments.
DND noted that the Office of the Governor General of Canada is not involved in decisions regarding meals on board Royal Canadian Air Force flights and that, although they try to keep costs down, catering services are only available from certain providers « as defined by various airports and local authorities ». ”
“We seek to minimize the cost of catering options at all times. For example, on CC-144 Challenger flights departing from Ottawa, the steward can prepare meals in advance from fresh ingredients purchased from local grocery stores and, on rare occasions, from local restaurants,” says the press release.
« It’s usually a very economical way to provide in-flight meals, but it’s limited to flights departing from Ottawa. »
The ministry also noted that the Canadian dollar exchange rate also affects food prices.
During the trip, Simon was the guest of honor at Expo 2020 in Dubai. She also visited Camp Canada at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and met with members of the Canadian Armed Forces at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
It was Simon’s second trip abroad since his appointment as the Queen’s representative in Canada in July 2021.
“The Governor General makes official and state visits abroad only at the request of the Prime Minister and in support of Canada’s international diplomatic objectives,” said Rideau Hall.