After it was revealed that Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and her guests racked up a nearly $100,000 catering bill during their March flights to and from the Middle East, Rideau Hall has issued a statement saying Simon “shares the public’s concern” regarding the expenses.
In a statement to CTV News on Thursday, Rideau Hall also said “she looks forward to further clarity” from departments that are responsible for in-flight catering services during diplomatic trips.
According to the statement, the Canadian Armed Forces are responsible for providing transportation during these visits and “as such are responsible for all decisions relating to catering on these flights.” Rideau Hall said this includes the Department of National Defence and Global Affairs Canada.
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According to an order paper question put forth by Conservative MP Michael Barrett, Simon and her 29 guests, who travelled to London, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and back to Ottawa from March 16 to 24, spent $93,117.89 on board the government’s CC-150 Polaris aircraft.
In addition, the cost of fuel for the trip came in at $248,127.02, according to the government documents released as a result of Barrett’s submission.
During the trip, Simon was a guest of honour at Expo 2020 in Dubai. She also toured Camp Canada at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and met with members of the Canadian Armed Forces at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
The trip was Simon’s second one abroad since being appointed the Queen’s representative to Canada in July 2021.
“The Governor General undertakes official and state visits abroad only on request by the Prime Minister, and in support of Canada’s international diplomatic objectives,” a spokesperson for Rideau Hall said in the statement.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Sarah Turnbull
Source from: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/rideau-hall-issues-statement-on-100k-in-flight-catering-bill-during-gov-gen-s-middle-east-trip-1.5949740