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Beef wellington, $230 flowers: More details on how the Governor-General spent $99K on a Middle East trip

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Newly obtained invoices from in-flight catering and ground handling providers in Ottawa, the UK and the Middle East reveal that the flight actually costs taxpayers $99,362

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Gourmet meals painted on china, beef wellington and carpaccio orders for $50, $230 in flower arrangements from an Ottawa florist.

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Department of National Defense receipts obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Association and the National Post determine the total cost of Governor General Mary Simon’s expensive week-long trip to the Middle East earlier this year.

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First reported in June, the National Post reported that responses to a paper question for the order put the cost of flying and dining for the MP and 29 passengers aboard the Canadian Forces CC150 Polaris to Expo 2020 in Dubai between March 16 and March 24 at a cost of $93,117.89.

Days after that story was published, the Ministry of National Defense issued a statement to the media claiming that the catering bill was in fact closer to $80,000 – the figure used by the RAF. Eric Kenny admitted on Thursday that it’s not a definitive number.

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Newly obtained invoices from catering and ground handling providers in Ottawa, the UK and the Middle East reveal that the flight actually cost taxpayers $99,362, including costs described by Canadian Protocol Chief Stuart Wheeler – who was among the 30 passengers on the flight – as “problematic.”

Part of the case, Wheeler testified during Thursday Government Operations and Assessments Committee, He was giving passengers a choice with meals – backed by receipts showing that the meals ordered exceeded the number of passengers.

Instructions for an airline catering from an RCAF flight attendant, including special instructions for cooked breakfast options for Governor-General Mary Simon and her husband, White Fraser during their week-long trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year.
Instructions for an airline catering from an RCAF flight attendant, including special instructions for cooked breakfast options for Governor-General Mary Simon and her husband, White Fraser during their week-long trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year. Screen capture

Invoices from GateGourmet at Ottawa Airport show that CAF paid $7,657.06 to store the aircraft in the first leg of the flight, which serves as flight CFC3147 to London Stansfield Airport to pick up the Governor-General, who was already in the UK.

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That bill included $230 in flower arrangements, $984 in bottled water, $165 in lemon-lime slices, and $128 for an unspecified number of cases of Perrier water.

In most cases, the quantities and unit prices in the invoices were revised by the DND.

For lunch, the 24 passengers on the flight had to choose between chicken tikka masala or apple-stuffed pork with roasted pumpkin and fried Brussels sprouts—plus a salad and dessert.

With the Viceroy and seven others on board in London, AEG Aviation Services charged RCAF $41408.39 to service the plane – including £392 ($579.40 Canadian) to rent an explosives-detection dog.

Quantities and unit prices revised for all but one line – £75 (US$110) for four liters of cider.

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The bill also showed £150 ($221.67) for an unknown amount of orange juice, and £62 ($91.59) for cranberry juice.

For the seven-hour flight to Dubai, travelers can choose an omelet or crepes for breakfast, and lunch either chicken scallopini in a creamy mushroom white wine, or beef Wellington.

The instructions for the meals of the Governor-General (indicated in the correspondence “VVIP” (Very Important Person)) included the replacement of her food on Chinese plates, with “appropriate garnish”.

Revised bill for ground service costs for one phase of the Governor-General's one-week trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year, and unit costs and quantities revised prior to launch.
Revised bill for ground service costs for one phase of the Governor-General’s one-week trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year, and unit costs and quantities revised prior to launch. Screen capture

In preparation for their departure from Dubai on March 20, Monaco-based Luxavia Aviation Services has charged C$16,276.75 to refuel the plane, with meal options including beef carpaccio, linguine and grilled vegetables.

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Listed as a “special order” is €188 ($247) for arugula and wild rice salad, plus a €250 ($329.22) “concierge fee” for a shopping trip to purchase ingredients.

Also charged were €400 ($526.76) for a revised amount of lemons and limes, €420 ($552.99) for an unknown amount of ice, and €2,097 ($2761) “packaging” fees.

Breakfast during the 30-minute flight from Dubai to Doha to meet the Emir of Qatar was a light affair for the passengers, consisting of ‘travel bags’ of either yoghurt or smoked salmon bread.

For Simon and her husband Wheat Fraser, breakfast consisted of a china-coated choice of masala omelette with chicken sausage and French fries, or scrambled eggs with turkey sausage and French fries.

During their stop on March 23 in Kuwait for a tour of Ali Al Salem Air Base, the plane was restocked again at a cost of $9,668.17.

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Travelers can choose from grilled salmon with lemon butter or ratatouille with tomato sauce for the flight to London Heathrow, the last stop before flying back home.

The plane got additional services worth $12,000 in London by Royalblue Catering.

Menu details were not included in the documents, but the allotment included £3,190 ($4,715.59) in meals, £608 ($898.77) in crew snacks, £1,634 ($2,415) in passenger snacks, and £90 ($133.04) per kilogram. of wet ice.

Franco Terrazano, Federal Director of the CTF, was baffled by the different numbers presented as the total cost of the trip.

“It’s bad enough that the governor general put about a six-digit tab on plane food, but it’s only got worse because the government can’t tell its story directly about how much money was spent,” he said.

“Taxpayers deserve proactive transparency in all of the Governor General’s expenditures.”

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