June 21, 2024

Getting from A to B at a reasonable cost is a relatable financial goal for many Canadians. While the masses balance their chequebooks and carefully budget their travel expenses, others spend a pretty penny on transportation, thanks to our national money tree. 
The Privy Council Office had $2.6 million in travel expenses between 2010 and 2011, according to an article in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 12. These travel costs included transportation, meals and accommodations. 
Although a $600,000 decrease from the previous year, taxpayers have paid for many expensive trips.
The chief of defence staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, spent nearly $1.5 million between 2008 and 2011 using a government-owned aircraft, including flights for a personal Caribbean holiday, the Globe and Mail article said.
In 2011 Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security adviser, Stephen Rigby, spent $10,719 for one round-trip flight to Singapore. 
Defence Minister Peter MacKay used a military search-and-rescue helicopter to airlift him from a personal fishing vacation to an airport in Newfoundland. According to an article in Maclean’s magazine in January 2012, that ride cost taxpayers $16,000. 
According to the Globe and Mail article, appropriate spending guidelines were outlined in an internal government memo in 2009 and included a temporary cap on business-class travel.
Three years later a closed-door meeting was called in Ottawa on Feb. 15 to discuss ways MPs can restrain overall spending. At that meeting travel budgets proved to be a hot topic, said Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
“A lot of them are upset. They don’t want to have fewer flights, they don’t want to lose their business class flights,” Fife said.
While many expenditures fly under the radar of most Canadians, it is important to remain aware and educated. Hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent without accountability. As a Canadian citizen, take the time to become knowledgeable of our country’s finances. And when you hear of waste and outrageous spending, complain, complain, complain to your MPP and/or MP.