Op-Ed: Canadian Minister Bev Oda opts for the high life
International Development Minister Bev Oda's trip to London, UK is under fire in Ottawa after it was revealed that instead of staying at The Grange St Paul's she opted for The Savoy. She has since reimbursed taxpayers those fees.
Her trip cost taxpayers over $2,000 for her three day sojourn.
The Conservative Party in Canada has no problem when it comes to cutting the budgets when it comes to the arts, education and First Nations. Someone should clue Oda in that budget cuts do not mix with fancy hotels where the orange juice costs $16 a glass.
It should be noted Oda's press secretary announced the minister has acted swiftly on this news: "The Minister personally paid the portion of the expenses in question,” her press secretary Justin Broekema wrote in an email on Monday afternoon, the Toronto Star reports
. “The repayment occurred this morning, and covered the difference in cost between the two hotels, and the cancellation fee."
Oda's trip to London
included all the perks afforded celebs like Bill Gates who also attended the donors conference for the GAVI Alliance held in June 2011. The Savoy hotel stay totaled $665 a night compared to the Grange St Paul's nightly rate of $287. While in London she was driven around in a luxury car that cost $2,850. During her stay Oda
averaged another $1,000 a day for room service and services charges at the Savory. There is a difference: Gates expenses would have been paid by himself while Oda's costs came straight out of the pockets of Canadian taxpayers.
It's not the first time Oda has made sure she has the best when it comes to traveling. In 2006 she demanded limos for the Juno Awards that cost $5,475. She did kick in $2,200 on the tab for that one when the House of Commons raised a fuss over her bill. In 2007 there was another $1,200 on her expense report for a limo ride to a government event and a party activity.
Last week Oda was in the Ukraine where she defended the government's aid cuts. The Harper Administration is wanting to cut 7.5 percent of Canada's aid budget over the course of three years.
“We have retained a strong commitment to various developing countries around the world,” she said. “We also have to balance that with good use of public funds. Canadians want to help, they’re very generous. But they also want to see results.”