Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oda blasted over lavish hotel stay

Repays fraction of cash spent in London

  • Print

OTTAWA -- International Development Minister Bev Oda, under fire from critics over a lavish stay at a London hotel last year during a conference that reportedly included a $16 glass of orange juice and about $1,000 per day on limousines, reimbursed taxpayers Monday for a fraction of the spending.

Oda opted out of the five-star Grange St. Paul's Hotel, where her conference was held, in favour of the Savoy, a swanky hotel frequented by royalty, on a government-paid trip that cost taxpayers more than her original travel plans.

But the government announced she was reimbursing some of the additional costs from the June 2011 international conference -- held to discuss vaccines and immunization for children in developing countries -- after they were uncovered in a media report by The Canadian Press.

"Our government believes very much that all ministers must respect taxpayer dollars," said the government's House leader, Peter Van Loan, in response to a barrage of questions in the House of Commons. "The minister of course has repaid the costs in question."

Oda was not in the Commons to answer questions, and her office declined to say where she was. Her office also declined to say why she had not offered to reimburse limousine expenses, noting her expenses respected existing government guidelines.

Oda's spokesman, Justin Broekema, explained overall travel spending by her office and other ministers of cabinet have decreased in recent years.

But opposition critics ridiculed the explanations, noting Oda had previously been forced to reimburse travel costs after revelations she spent $17,000 on limousine expenses in her first 15 months as a federal minister, including about $6,000 on limos over four days in Halifax to attend the Juno awards in 2006.

"This is a woman with a long history," said NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus.

"Is someone over there not embarrassed by her behaviour? Will someone stand up and apologize to the hard-working Canadian taxpayers? She is living like a queen off their backs."

Broekema said taxpayers would not be on the hook for a cancellation fee, additional costs incurred at the Savoy, as well as the orange juice. But the opposition said she should also reimburse taxpayers for her limousine travel.

"Clearly, they were trying to find a way to paper over a pretty serious transgression and they did it in a very sloppy manner," said Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale.

"It reveals a government that's off its game, quite frankly, and taking liberties with the public's patience and the public's purse."

 

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 24, 2012 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google