Governor General Mary Simon’s swearing-in ceremony cost taxpayers even more per attendee than the ceremony for former governor general Julie Payette, according to information obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“At first glance it looks like Simon’s swearing in ceremony is saving taxpayers’ money, but once you look closer, you find Simon spent thousands of dollars more per guest than Payette did,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “Despite the event taking place during the pandemic, Simon still managed to rack up a six-figure tab that cost thousands of dollars per guest.”
Canadian Heritage confirmed to the CTF that Simon’s swearing-in ceremony cost just over $171,800. The ceremony went ahead despite reduced activities and attendees due to COVID-19 precautions at the time.
Costs included more than $500 for writing Simon’s name in Canada’s Golden Book and $8,000 for a speechwriter. Canadian Heritage did not provide a full breakdown of all the expenses, but the department said the spending was customary for the event.
Despite a smaller total bill, Simon’s swearing-in ceremony cost thousands of dollars more per attendee than the event held for Payette.
Payette’s swearing-in ceremony cost taxpayers about $649,000, after going over-budget by $149,000. Around 3,000 people were in attendance, according to the Ottawa Citizen. That means Payette’s ceremony cost an estimated $216 per guest.
Simon’s swearing-in ceremony had only 44 people in attendance, due to COVID-19 precautions. With at least $171,800 spent on the pandemic event, costs per attendee were at least $3,904.
“Taxpayers are looking for a better relationship with Rideau Hall but spending thousands of dollars per guest on a swearing-in ceremony during a pandemic is not a good start,” said Terrazzano. “Leadership starts at the top and that means respecting taxpayers’ hard-earned money must start with the governor general.”
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