Canada's Defence minister Harjit Sajjan has racked up more than $670,000 in flight costs in just 17 short months flying around on the government jet fleet.
The Globe and Mail reports that in February 2017 Sajjan was the lone passenger on a Challenger jet flying from Ottawa to Washington. Later, that same jet flew Sajjan on to his home in Vancouver costing taxpayers over $36K for that one junket alone.
Another time in December 2016 Sajjan flew from Ottawa to Trenton military base rather than take a two-and-a-half-hour drive in the government limousine. The cost? $6,358.
The Defence Minister’s spokeswoman Byrne Furlong gave me this statement:
“Given the importance of a relationship with the United States, we often travel between the capitals. It is important to note that often we must travel in the mornings and flights are not always available at this time due to ministerial commitments in Ottawa”
They aren’t even trying to come up with good excuses anymore.
But this really isn't just a Harjit Sajjan problem. It's a government workplace culture problem:
Through Access to Information filings, we discovered Bill Morneau's assistant taking expensive water taxi rides to meetings when she was in Italy, and she didn't even bother to submit paper receipts.
But when you have people like Chrystia Freeland using taxpayer dollars to hop a flight to invite herself to a play with the Prime Minister in New York, and the Prime Minister himself taking private helicopter rides with the Aga Khan, everything is permissible.