Conservative MPs rack up highest travel costs for taxpayers
A National Observer review of public expenditure records between 2013 and 2015 shows that Conservative MPs spent more on travel than their opposition counterparts.
While the Conservative Party's website states that since 2006 "the Harper Conservative Government has replaced the old Liberal culture of entitlement," travel records from Conservative MPs indicate otherwise.
For instance, Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism,billed taxpayers $7,367 for a plane trip to Calgary and Edmonton in February 2015.
He racked up a total bill of $8,430 from the public purse from that trip alone, spending an additional $252 for 'other transport,' $587 for accommodation, $118 on meals and incidentals, and $105 on other unspecified expenses, according to figures from Industry Canada's website.
But not all Conservatives are high fliers. Conservative Health Minister Rona Ambrose billed only $649 for her trip to Vancouver in 2015, and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford has consistently travelled across the country for under $2,000.
Members of Parliament are allowed to designate one person as their "designated traveller," usually a non-dependent family member. Of all parties, Conservatives have the highest percentage of spenders on family travel between Ottawa and their constituencies.
Defense Minister Jason Kenney once billed $6,000 to fly his mother from Calgary to Ottawa, but after being called out by writer Kevin Grandia on Twitter, he promised to pay for her ticket himself in future.
Kenney’s spokesperson Daniel Proussalidis said that when the minister learned of the cost of the ticket in question, he removed his family member from Parliament’s Designated Traveller Registry and now pays for such family travel costs personally.
“During his tenure as a Member of Parliament, Mr. Kenney has used the House of Commons Designated Traveller policy to be accompanied by a family member less than once a year, far below the average for all Parliamentarians. The booking in question was made by a travel agency for an immediate family member to attend Mr. Kenney's ministerial swearing-in ceremony," said Proussalidis in an emailed statement on Sept. 25. "Notice of the event came at the last minute, when only higher cost fares were available. Mr. Kenney was not aware of the cost of the flight, and would not have authorized it had he been made aware."