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Taxpayers pick up Instagram photography bill for Catherine Mckenna – again

Author: James Wood 28/07/2020

Canadian taxpayers have yet again paid for pictures of Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, this time while she was visiting the United Nations.

“Sometimes watching this government feels like being subjected to a bad movie with even worse sequels - they just never seem to learn,” said Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

McKenna has faced criticism over her photography costs in previous years. After news reports in 2016 indicated more than $17,000 had been spent photographing the minister and her staff in less than 10 months, the practice was placed “under review”.

At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described it as “perhaps not the best use of public funds.”

The most recent photo costs were buried in a set of contracts released by the Department of Global Affairs and show a chunk of money going towards three days of work between late January and the end of March in 2019, covering three separate events.

Only two descriptions are given for the events, one of which is a visit by McKenna in her previous role as the minister of environment and climate change. On Jan. 25, 2019, she appeared before the UN Security Council to talk about the dangers of climate change.

While the total amount spent on the photo contract was $5,346, costs of McKenna’s specific photos are not detailed. The photos appear on McKenna’s Instagram account.  

A series of seven images posted from the same day of her speech show the minister using a laptop in a car, walking into the UN building in New York, meeting with diplomats, addressing the council, and walking away down a hallway.

It is captioned as a “day in the life,” from the event.

“Taxpayers really should not be paying for photographers to take pictures of cabinet minister working on a laptop or walking down the hallway,” said Wudrick.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation reached out to Global Affairs for comment on the photos. They did not respond by the time of publication.