Thursday, December 15, 2011

CyberSmokeBlog to Peter MacKay: "You need to resign NOW Canadian taxpayers can't afford you any longer!"

CTF Uncovers Details of Mackay’s $5,925 Grey Cup Trip, $3,167 for Boston Seafood Show

$4,752 for a flight to Edmonton and back
$3,167 for a flight to Boston and back to attend a “seafood show”

Read previous story: CTF uncovers MacKay's $1,452 a night hotel tab

Peter’s Excellent Adventure: Part II (Edmonton)

Defence Minister Peter Mackay spent $4,752 for two one-way plane tickets to go to the 2010 Grey Cup in Edmonton.
Using Access to Information requests, the CTF found that the Minister’s Toronto-to-Edmonton ticket alone cost $2,352 while his Edmonton-Toronto ticket cost $2,340. These sky-high ticket prices are likely due to purchasing Executive Class tickets with maximum flexibility (fully-refundable) and/or at the last minute.

It’s one thing for, say, the Minister of Environment to have to make last minute plans to fly across the country to deal with a pipeline break or oil spill and not know when they would be able to return. In this hypothetical situation it would make sense to book fully-refundable, Executive Class plane tickets.

Considering that the Minster has gone to the Grey Cup to more than once since 2007, these reasons do not hold much water. The date and location for the 2010 Grey Cup would have been known years – yes, literally – years in advance.

The next Grey Cup is scheduled for November 25, 2012 in Toronto, so DND can save the extra costs and book a ticket now. Or maybe they can even wait until a couple of weeks before and book the non-refundable Executive Class seats for a third-to-a-half of the costs. In fact, DND may as well book their tickets for the November 24, 2013 Grey Cup in Regina now as well.

A quick search for a return Toronto-Edmonton Executive class flight on that day would cost approximately $2,687, or $1,344 one-way. Booked in advance, the cost of the Grey Cup visit would be cut nearly in half.

If there is one redeemable factor in this, it is that the Minister was significantly more frugal in his choice of hotels in Edmonton than he was in Munich and Istanbul. His Edmonton hotel bill came to $624 for three nights, or $208 per night (albeit there are no nicer hotels in Edmonton than the Hotel MacDonald).

Minister Mackay would hardly be the first politician or VIP to go to the Grey Cup on a publicly funded trip, but two $2,300+ plane tickets from Toronto to Edmonton speak for themselves.

You can view a detailed backgrounder of the CTF’s research HERE.

Peter’s Excellent Adventure: Part III (Boston) Similarly, Minster Mackay spent $3,167 for a short flight from Ottawa to Boston to attend a “seafood show.” Again, an Executive, non-refundable flight could have been purchased – in advance – for a total of $1,374, or $687 each. Again, Minister Mackay regularly attends this event, although the usefulness of a senior Canadian minister attending a “seafood show” is even more debatable than attending the Grey Cup.

The details of these flights can be found on pages 6 and 7 of this Access to Information document.

A detailed backgrounder on both of these flights can be found HERE.


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