Prime Minister Stephen Harper reminded Canadians this week that he coughs up his own cash for personal travels – but that doesn’t mean taxpayers are off the hook.
When the Vancouver Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup finals, the Prime Minister, his daughter Rachel and an entourage of eight others flew to Boston in June to be in the crowd for Game 4 of the series.
The Prime Minister’s Office publicized the trip and noted that Mr. Harper would be paying $1,060 to cover the estimated value of two commercial airline tickets. Mr. Harper also paid for the hockey tickets. For security reasons, the Prime Minister of Canada is not allowed to fly on commercial airlines.
The Prime Minister noted this practice recently in light of reports questioning the travel expenses of Walter Natynczyk, the Chief of Defence Staff.
A newly-released accounting of the Boston trip shows the true cost of the trip was more than $11,000.
From the Department of National Defence’s budget, the cost of the Ottawa-Boston return flight is estimated at $7,884. Mr. Harper was also joined by eight others, including Heritage Minister James Moore, the Prime Minister’s executive assistant Jeremy Hunt, the Prime Minister’s official photographer Jason Ransom, press secretary Carl Vallée, tour and scheduling officials Aliya Mohamed and Steve Stanley and two RCMP protection officers.
In addition to the flight costs paid for by DND, the Privy Council office also covered $3,740.46 in travel costs so that the Prime Minister’s multimedia technician Todd Pilon could be there.
In total, the group expensed $1,000.95 for accommodation and meals and $400.92 for car rentals, taxis, tolls and parking. Citing security reasons, the RCMP did not release a breakdown of the costs it incurred to ensure the Prime Minister’s safety as a rare Canuck fan amid a sea of Bruins faithful.
Boston won the game 4-0.