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How To Travel Like a Canadian Federal Cabinet Minister

By SHANNON KELLY

With what some ministers spent on travel, you could buy a private island (Photo: Andrew Massey)

After Bev Oda’s pricey five-star hotel upgrade made headlines this week, news gatherers have been digging up travel totals for all federal cabinet ministers since March 2010. Here are some ways, you, too, can jet-set like a Canadian federal cabinet minister—without taking two years to do it.

Bev Oda, Minister of International Co-operation
Total travel tab: $168,639

Want to rack up Oda’s tab without leaving Canadian borders, and in just two weeks rather than two years? Here’s how:

Fly first class to Vancouver ($6,000 from Toronto), stay in the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s priciest suite ($140,000), add the breakfast buffet and a latte ($500), eat every night at C ($4,000, give or take), rent a Maserati to get around ($7,000), take a private charter a plane to take you on a glacier “seafari” plus hot springs ($800), go on a $5,000 shopping spree on Robson Street, try the $100 hot dog—and what the heck, the $2,000/bottle cognac it’s made with, too.

Gerry Ritz, Agriculture Minister
Total travel tab: $271,489 (Top spender!)

À la Lost in Translation, stay 10 days in Tokyo’s most expensive hotel room, the Ritz-Carlton Suite at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, at $26,000 per night. (Wow, that was easier than we thought.)

Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister
Total travel tab: $270,119

Buy your own private island in Chile.

Peter MacKay, Defence Minister
Total travel tab: $265,286

Buy your own vacation condo with a view of the Rockies just outside Banff National Park—in cash.

John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister
Total travel tab: $170,676M

Once you take your family of four on a 23-day Patagonia and Antarctica trek/cruise with G Adventures (the company’s most expensive trip), you’ll still have about $114,000 left over—and that’s even after buying the commemorative Canada Goose jackets for each family member. Tack on G’s 27-day West Africa cruise, fly first class everywhere, and buy the whole family new $5,000 holiday wardrobes and you’re about there. Whoops, but Baird’s spending was for one rather than four people…. Does this mean we have an extra $500K to blow? Spending money is hard.

Gordon O’Connor, Minister of State
Total travel tab: $3,386 (lowest of all federal ministers)

Take a family of four to Disney World for one week. Fly coach, stay at the Days Inn, eat Hot Pockets and IHOP, rent a Honda Civic. Alternatively, tell your family you can’t afford a vacation this year, and sneak out on a solo, ten-day golf-and-spa escape to Fox Harb’r Resort in Nova Scotia.

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