So remember last year when the Manitoba NDP members were left with egg all over their Jets'-enthusiast faces after it became clear several cabinet ministers had accepted free tickets for much-coveted Jets' home games?
Remember the uproar over the fact Crown corporations in Manitoba were buying tickets and distributing them mainly to cabinet ministers, board members or executive officers?
Remember how well that whole thing went over?
Yeah, not very well. Seems people are kind of testy (and rightfully so) about ministers getting freebies, or how much Crown corporations are spending on sports tickets.
Well, Manitoba is sadly now joined in the "sports ticket hall of shame" aisle, by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Answers to an order paper question from the NDP were finally tabled in the house Monday and uncovered the fact DFAIT spent $60,000 on hockey and baseball tickets between 2005/06 and 2011/12.
The amounts spent include nearly $40,000 on hockey tickets over the time period, and in one year alone, a combined total of $20,204 on hockey and baseball.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird immediately stepped up to say he hadn't approved the purchases and it will not happen again.
The answers do not break down which teams the tickets supported, but says "these tickets were purchased in support of official hospitality offered to foreign nationals, as well as to foster positive working relations abroad through the promotion of Canadian businesses, and the sales and exports of Canadian products."
Most federal departments said they didn't buy professional tickets, although a few said they didn't have the ability to track such purchases and CSIS declined to answer for reasons of national security.
Treasury Board spent $1,108.94 on NHL tickets in two years as a reward for four employees. Veterans Affairs spent $610 on CFL tickets for veterans who participated in on-field commemorative ceremonies: $300 in 2007 and $310 in 2010.
In Baird's favour is the quick response to the situation. Maybe he learned from the Manitoba NDP, whose dithering over the subject of the free tickets kept the story in the public eye for far longer than this federal story will be.
Regardless, seems if diplomats and foreign investors want to take in a Senators game or watch the Blue Jays this year, they'll have to find someone other than the Canadian taxpayer to foot the bill.