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Global Affairs spends more than $40,000 on fancy furniture

Author: James Wood 2022/08/04

The department of Global Affairs spent $41,161 on luxury custom furniture for diplomatic offices abroad, according to records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“Even a pandemic couldn’t stop these bureaucrats from wasting money on fancy furniture,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “The pandemic should have been a time to tighten their belts, not burn through money on fancy office furniture.”

The department spent $41,161 on the custom office furniture between March 26 and Sep. 21, 2020.  The furniture was produced by Ottawa-based furniture maker Christopher Solar Design and shipped to Canadian diplomatic offices around the world.

The orders include $4,300 for a sign-in table at the Canadian high commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, Kenya, $3,720 for four custom-made lamps and $10,171 for six floor screens in the Canadian ambassador’s residence in Tokyo, Japan and $7,900 for a credenza and coffee table for the trade commissioner’s office in São Paulo, Brazil.  

Global Affairs also billed taxpayers $6,150 for a custom-made cabinet in the high commissioner’s office in Auckland, New Zealand.

It also spent $8,920 on 13 custom lamps – that’s about $686 per lamp.

If the diplomatic staff in Japan had gone to the local IKEA for their home furnishings instead, they could have spent just over $1,000 for all six Tokyo residence floor screens. If the São Paulo trade consulate staff had gone to the Brazilian furniture chain Tok and Stok, they could have spent around $212 for a local coffee table. If Global Affairs bureaucrats purchased their lamps at an IKEA in Ottawa, they could have spent $259 for the entire lamp order.

“Global Affairs spent more on a few lamps than many Canadians spend on their car,” said Terrazzano. “Bureaucrats at Global Affairs continue to prove that they have too much money on their hands. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland should trim the department’s budget if these bureaucrats think wasting tens of thousands of dollars on fancy office furniture during a pandemic is a good idea.”