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Friday, May 16, 2008 

Jet Setting Maxime Bernier's Extravagant Travel Costs

The Conservative government's resident playboy and controversial cabinet minister sure likes to throw taxpayers money on his travel. In spite of assurances from the Harper government that they were going to be frugal with public money, Bernier is jet setting at record levels:

"Bernier, who has been foreign affairs minister since last August, took a $22,573 airline flight to attend a two-day conference in Laos last November, with a stopover in Paris, according to travel records posted by the foreign affairs department on its "proactive disclosure" website. The Star checked airfares and found that the minister could have made the trip to the Southeast Asian country comfortably for under $7,000.

With him on the trip were three staff, two whose flights were also pricey – about $18,500 each – plus one who reported flying to Laos for just $2,676. With the additional cost of hotels and meals, the total bill to taxpayers was about $70,000. Bernier's flight was the most expensive flight taken by a government minister or official since the Harper government took power two years ago, according to government records."

The Star

It's not really fair to criticize the costs of ministers' travel. It is part of their job, after all. They can't stay in budget hotels in the boondocks either.

Also, it is difficult to minimize these costs. It's not like he can fly standby, and it isn't worth it to fly economy: you'll just wear out if you do that. Someone close to me has a government job, and, if he didn't have to travel, he wouldn't. It isn't fun, or healthy or terribly productive.

I am not critical of Bernier for flying at normal business class levels - I am criticising what I posted ... $22,573 for him for one flight and his three staff, whose flights were also pricey – about $18,500 each.

Your point is ridiculous.

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