Trudeau drops nearly $200K on airplane food during six-day trip

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2024/04/10

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his entourage dropped $190,000 of taxpayer money on airplane food during a tour of the Indo-Pacific region last fall, according to access-to-information records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

The taxpayer tab was $1.9 million for the six-day trip. 

“I guess one way to beat the high cost of groceries in Canada is to take a government work trip and bill taxpayers for fancy airplane food,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “For that price, the prime minister could have covered an average family’s grocery bill for almost two decades.”

From Sept. 5-10, 2023, Trudeau toured the Indo-Pacific region, meeting with business leaders in Singapore, the president of Indonesia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and attending the G20 Summit in India. 

The focus of the trip was “nurturing relationships with Asian leaders and advancing trade talks,” according to a report from the Canadian Press

Costs for the trip included $427,000 for RCMP security, $643,000 for jet fuel and aircraft handling fees, $422,000 for hotels, $129,000 for ground transportation, and $190,000 for in-flight catering, according to government records obtained by the CTF. 

The number of passengers on the government aircraft ranged from 37 to 54 at various legs of the trip. Additional costs included $22,000 for meals and incidentals (on top of the in-flight catering expenses) and $2,500 for gifts. 

All told, the trip cost taxpayers $1,908,243. The tab could rise even higher, as the records indicate certain expenses are still being processed. 

The $190,000 spent on in-flight catering surpasses the $100,000 Governor General Mary Simon spent on airplane food during her weeklong trip to the Middle East in March 2022. 

In the aftermath of the in-flight catering costs for Simon’s trip becoming public, a Parliamentary committee summoned high-ranking government employees to answer for the outrageous tab, and later moved to curb future frivolous spending. 

“We recognize that the system that we had in place was not delivering the kind of oversight and control that Canadian taxpayers deserve,” said Stewart Wheeler, who was then Canada’s chief of protocol.

“The government told taxpayers it would cut down on these extravagant trips, but dropping $200,000 on airplane food doesn’t exactly scream fiscal responsibility,” Terrazzano said. “The government is more than $1 trillion in debt, so maybe it could cool it on these expensive international trips.”

The CTF has filed access-to-information requests for the in-flight catering receipts for Trudeau’s September 2023 Indo-Pacific tour.

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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