Taxpayers have been paying for governors general to cut the commute time to their secondary homes, according to flight records obtained by the CTF.
“This is another prime example of the outrageous perks that governors general are milking taxpayers with,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “Leadership starts at the top and that means respecting taxpayer’s hard-earned money must start with the governor general.”
Logs for the military’s Challenger jets obtained by the CTF have shown the trips taken by former governors general Julie Payette and David Johnston. The information shows Johnston’s flights during his last years in Rideau Hall, while Payette’s entire flight record has been released.
While many of the flights they took were clearly linked to their ceremonial duties, a handful of flights passed through airports where both reportedly maintain secondary homes. Both Payette and Johnston would either start or end their trips at those airports, before the Challenger came back to Ottawa.
Payette reportedly has a cottage near Mirabel in the Montreal area, while Johnston has a country home near Mt. Tremblant in Quebec.
Taxpayers spent $96,448 to get both governors general and their travelling partners to airports near those secondary residences by the end of Payette’s term, based on the current cost per flight hour for the Challenger aircraft.
“If Rideau Hall thinks this is official business and should be billed to taxpayers then the government better explain why we’re on the hook for these expenses,” said Terrazzano. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying close to six figures for flights that should be paid out of pocket.”
As for the reasoning behind the flight plans, Rideau Hall was tight-lipped, only telling the CTF that the locations were “deemed necessary” for travel.
The Department of Defense was similarly tight-lipped.
“The Canadian Armed Forces provides transportation services for the Governor General’s official activities by air, within Canada, and during state visits abroad,” said the department.
“For operational reasons, the Governor General can be picked-up and dropped off at any location deemed necessary in order to conduct travel for official purposes, as per long standing government policy and practice.”
Both former governors general declined to comment on the flights when approached by the CTF.
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