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GG Spending

YZT580

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one way to look at it, I ordered a pizza last night in Ottawa, had it delivered. I could of driven to the Pizza Place but I wanted to have it delivered . I paid a extra fee $3.50 for delivery service, then was expected to tip on top on that for the driver. So I know paid an extra $5 for a tip. So it was an extra $8.50 to have it delivered. $20 pizza now almost $30, 1/3 more in costs. So how much is the delivery service from the kitchen to the airport? How much does it cost to have food security ( make sure it was tampered with enroute)? How much does it cost to have the special trucks to deliver it in? This is all part of the costs per meal. Does this cost include dishes or paper plates? But no one puts that in the price per meal break down.

Questions never flown on the CC 150 fleet, does it have a kitchen to heat up food and store hot meal? If not we the tax payer are going to be paying extra costs for hot meals to be delivered, and some sort of set up to keep them warm?
So maybe when the government knows that they will be flying where decent food at a decent price isn't readily available you should pack a few executive type MREs in the freezer
 

KevinB

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So maybe when the government knows that they will be flying where decent food at a decent price isn't readily available you should pack a few executive type MREs in the freezer
Meals are a minor aspect.
Wonder what the loaded cost is for the plane per hour of flight time…
 

YZT580

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Meals are a minor aspect.
Wonder what the loaded cost is for the plane per hour of flight time…
Our Head of Government is representing us whenever she travels and deserves the use of an executive style a/c. In fact, the airbus is very austere when compared to many others. The cost of that a/c is non-negotiable however that does not extend to areas in which we can control costs with a little forethought. It is this lack of foresight and the appearance of entitlement that gets people upset and justifiably so.
 

KevinB

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Our Head of Government is representing us whenever she travels and deserves the use of an executive style a/c. In fact, the airbus is very austere when compared to many others. The cost of that a/c is non-negotiable however that does not extend to areas in which we can control costs with a little forethought. It is this lack of foresight and the appearance of entitlement that gets people upset and justifiably so.
I travelled in the Airbus that had been modified for the PM years ago (I can’t even recall who was PM at the time). It wasn’t austere at all - lounges, bedroom etc.
I would have assumed that is the plane that would have been used (assuming that mod wasn’t scrapped to add more passenger seating…).

I’m not familiar with the RCAF executive aircraft fleet, do they have the legs to do that trip?

My point is that the meals are a rounding error on the trip. Frankly I’d been furious is someone handed me a frozen TV Dinner that had been reheated in a CBU if I was on a 10+ hr flight.
 

Navy_Pete

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@KevinB No kidding, we are pretty penny foolish. I worry less about what the single GG costs than what the 338 MPs cost. At least the GG serves some useful ceremonial and PR purposes. Multiple MPs do absolutely nothing, and I'm sure we spend a few million on each of their office costs. let alone any travel they do.

The amount of hand ringing over the cost of getting VIP meals in the desert is frankly a bit embarrassing, given that 11 MPs make up the OGGO committee, and they have now taken up however much time looking at an $80k bill for catering and services, vice looking at multi billion dollar issues like NSS, Air defence procurement, etc. Any one of those will have millions in 'expert 3rd party' reports to confirm what our own SMEs have already summarized in a briefing note or ppt.
 

lenaitch

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You don't have to go all the way to the Emirates; last week in Toronto, my wife & I had two glasses of wine each: $125. #HotelBarExtortion
"Old Sailor" or "four Aces": "Come alive for a dollar five" (boy, am I dating myself).
Our Head of Government is representing us whenever she travels and deserves the use of an executive style a/c. In fact, the airbus is very austere when compared to many others. The cost of that a/c is non-negotiable however that does not extend to areas in which we can control costs with a little forethought. It is this lack of foresight and the appearance of entitlement that gets people upset and justifiably so.
Pedant: "She" is our Head of State (representative).
 

YZT580

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I travelled in the Airbus that had been modified for the PM years ago (I can’t even recall who was PM at the time). It wasn’t austere at all - lounges, bedroom etc.
I would have assumed that is the plane that would have been used (assuming that mod wasn’t scrapped to add more passenger seating…).

I’m not familiar with the RCAF executive aircraft fleet, do they have the legs to do that trip?

My point is that the meals are a rounding error on the trip. Frankly I’d been furious is someone handed me a frozen TV Dinner that had been reheated in a CBU if I was on a 10+ hr flight.
what do you think that airlines serve you? They are all glorified TV dinners even in business/first class. There aren't a lot of carriers that actually prepare food on board. In fact, several airlines serving Africa will carry the return flight meals from home base. A business class meal is definitely not your Swanson variety and, especially on the return trip they are not kept heated until served, only refrigerated so taking them from frozen to service would be a logical next step.

As for our executive fleet, someone far more current than I could advise you on this but several of them can't even leave North America anymore because they lack the necessary transponder equipment. But they do have the legs for trans-Atlantic travel. But even those that are certified haven't got the capacity to accommodate the entourage that a head of state trip requires.
 

Mick

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As for our executive fleet, someone far more current than I could advise you on this but several of them can't even leave North America anymore because they lack the necessary transponder equipment. But they do have the legs for trans-Atlantic travel. But even those that are certified haven't got the capacity to accommodate the entourage that a head of state trip requires.

The older 2 x Challenger 601 aircraft with obsolescent avionics were replaced by 2 x Challenger 650, resulting in a mixed fleet of 604 and 650 jets that are compliant with current standards.

An avionics upgrade has been available for 604s since 2017, and according to the 2020 press release, the 604s meet current standards:

Canadian Armed Forces Replaces Two 30-year-old Challenger Aircraft

Based on experience with civilian 650s, a full load would be 12 passengers (possibility of 13 with one pax in the jump seat) with 900 lbs of luggage. There is a small galley up front, and a small lavatory at the rear of the cabin.

Can confirm that aircraft catering can be ridiculously expensive (i.e. 200 USD sandwich platter out of Las Vegas)...
 

YZT580

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The older 2 x Challenger 601 aircraft with obsolescent avionics were replaced by 2 x Challenger 650, resulting in a mixed fleet of 604 and 650 jets that are compliant with current standards.

An avionics upgrade has been available for 604s since 2017, and according to the 2020 press release, the 604s meet current standards:

Canadian Armed Forces Replaces Two 30-year-old Challenger Aircraft

Based on experience with civilian 650s, a full load would be 12 passengers (possibility of 13 with one pax in the jump seat) with 900 lbs of luggage. There is a small galley up front, and a small lavatory at the rear of the cabin.

Can confirm that aircraft catering can be ridiculously expensive (i.e. 200 USD sandwich platter out of Las Vegas)...
thanks for the update. Glad to see that we have finally caught up.
 

Lumber

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I must say this has turned into an interesting thread it what it has shown wrt the disparate perspectives of those participating. Half of us think someone like the GG should be entitled to a higher standard of fare than your average joe, while the other half thing that there shouldn't be an "elite" class anywhere, and everyone should eat/fly at the same standard. Half of us think that, while high, $218/meal is likely "realistic" given all the aggravating costs/circumstances that come with catering overseas, while the other half think it's exorbitant and needs to be dealt with.

And there's there's the few who realized that all the debate/discussion regarding this is probably costing more than the meals did. Didn't the Gomery Commission cost more than the total amount of money that it found was misappropriated?
 

OldSolduer

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I'm with those that think our Head of State and our elected representatives require a decent aircraft and transportation and all the bells and whistles that go with that, within reason of course.

Its part of the cost of being an independent nation. The cost of doing business is far less than the cost of NOT doing business.
 

Blackadder1916

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The amount of hand ringing over the cost of getting VIP meals in the desert is frankly a bit embarrassing . . .

It's not hand ringing for the sake of austerity, but taking the opportunity to embarrass the government. But the nitpicking of the committee (particularly, as is to be expected, from MPs not of the government party) does occasionally reveal some interesting details.

In this article that provides some more detail about the actual invoiced costs, they note;
"Part of the issue, Wheeler testified during Thursday’s government operations and estimates committee, was giving passengers a choice of more than one meal, as was backed up by receipts that show the number of meals ordered exceeding the number of passengers."

Beef Wellington, $230 flowers: More details on how Governor General spent $99K on catering​

Newly-obtained invoices from aircraft catering and ground handling providers in Ottawa, the U.K. and the Middle East reveal the excursion actually cost taxpayers $99,362

Bryan Passifiume Sep 23, 2022

Gourmet meals plated on china, orders of beef Wellington and carpaccio for 50, and $230 in flower arrangements secured from an Ottawa florist.

Department of National Defence receipts obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the National Post lay out the total cost of Governor General Mary Simon’s pricey week-long trip to the Middle East earlier this year.

First reported by the National Post in June, responses to an order paper question put the cost of flying and dining the vice-regal and her 29 passengers aboard a Canadian Forces CC150 Polaris to Expo 2020 in Dubai between March 16 and March 24 cost $93,117.89.

Days after that story was published, the Department of National Defence (DND) issued a statement to media claiming the catering bill was actually closer to $80,000 — a number that RCAF Lt.-Gen. Eric Kenney on Thursday admitted wasn’t a final figure.

Newly obtained invoices from aircraft catering and ground handling providers in Ottawa, the U.K. and the Middle East reveal the excursion actually cost taxpayers $99,362, including costs that Canada’s protocol chief Stewart Wheeler — who was among the trip’s 30 passengers — described as “problematic.”

Part of the issue, Wheeler testified during Thursday’s government operations and estimates committee, was giving passengers a choice of more than one meal, as was backed up by receipts that show the number of meals ordered exceeding the number of passengers.

Instructions to a flight catering company from an RCAF flight steward, including special instructions for plated breakfast options for Governor General Mary Simon and husband Whit Fraser during their week-long trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year.


Instructions to a flight catering company from an RCAF flight steward, including special instructions for plated breakfast options for Governor General Mary Simon and husband Whit Fraser during their week-long trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year. screencapture

Invoices from GateGourmet at Ottawa Airport show CAF paid $7,657.06 to stock the plane for the trip’s first leg, operating as flight CFC3147 to London Stansfield airport to pick up the Governor General, who was already in the United Kingdom.

That bill included $230 in flower arrangements, $984 worth of Flow-brand boxed water, $165 in lemon and lime slices, and $128 for an undetermined number of cases of Perrier water.

In most cases, quantities and unit prices on the invoices were redacted by the DND.

For lunch, the flight’s 24 passengers had a choice between chicken tikka masala or apple-stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted squash and sautéed Brussels sprouts — plus salad and dessert.

With the vice-regal and seven others boarding the plane in London, AEG Aviation Services charged RCAF $41,408.39 to service the aircraft — including 392 pounds ($579) to hire an explosives detection dog.

Quantities and unit prices were redacted for all but one line item — 75 euros ($110) for four litres of apple juice.

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

For the seven-hour flight to Dubai, passengers could choose omelettes or crepes for breakfast, and for lunch ate either chicken scallopini in a creamy mushroom white wine reduction, or beef Wellington.

Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF, was puzzled by the differing numbers offered up as the trip’s total cost.

“It’s bad enough that the Governor General racked up a nearly six-figure tab on airplane food, but it’s made worse because the government can’t get its story straight about how much money was spent,” he said.

“Taxpayers deserve proactive transparency on all of the Governor General’s expenses.”

Instructions for the Governor General’s meals (referred to in correspondence as the “VVIP” (very-very important person)) included re-plating her food on china plates, “with appropriate garnish.”

A redacted invoice for ground service costs for one leg of the Governor General’s week-long Middle East trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year.Unit costs and quantities were redacted prior to its release.


A redacted invoice for ground service costs for one leg of the Governor General’s week-long Middle East trip to Expo 2020 in Dubai earlier this year. Unit costs and quantities were redacted prior to its release. Screencapture

To prepare for their March 20 departure from Dubai, Monaco-based flight service company Luxavia charged $16,276.75 to restock the plane, with meal options including beef carpaccio, linguine and roasted vegetables.

Listed as a “special request” was 188 euros ($247) for arugula and wild rice salad, plus a 250-euro ($329.22) “concierge fee” for a shopping trip to purchase ingredients.

Also charged were 400 euros ($526.76) for a redacted quantity of lemons and limes, 420 euros ($552.99) for an unknown quantity of ice, and 2,097 euros ($2,761) in “packaging” fees.

Breakfast during the 30-minute flight from Dubai to Doha to meet the Emir of Qatar was a light affair for passengers, consisting of “to-go bags” of either yogurt or smoked salmon bagels.

For Simon and husband Whit Fraser, breakfast consisted of a china-plated choice of masala omelette with chicken sausages and sautéed potatoes, or scrambled eggs with turkey sausage and hash browns.

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

Passengers could choose from either grilled salmon with lemon butter or ratatouille with tomato sauce for the flight to London Heathrow, the last stop before home.

The plane took on an additional $12,000 worth of services in London by Royalblue catering.

Details of the menu weren’t included in the documents, but provisions included 3,190 pounds ($4,715.59) in meals, 608 pounds ($898.77) in crew snacks, 1,634 pounds ($2,415) in passenger snacks, and 90 pounds ($133.04) for two kilograms of ice.

In the evidence given during the recent committee hearing the "contingency" factor of ordering more meals than pax/crew (to accommodate choice of meal) was identified by LGen Kenny as one of the changes made to reduce costs in the future. He indicated during the early part of the questioning that the contingency was to be 20%. It was only as the meeting was closing and the chair asked if the members had anything to add that the general was asked (almost as an after thought) what the contingency had been previously (and thus used for this trip); he replied 65%.
 

Navy_Pete

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Still, the committee meets about a dozen times a year. Each MP probably costs around $300k a year in basic salary/benefits/allowance, plus all the various admin type folks to support the committees, do running translations, filming etc. probably easily blows past whatever the total catering costs, let alone future cost savings.

So for a bit of political grandstanding the taxpayers probably covered a few million in costs to look at how we could have saved $20k. That's just dumb, and then we probably also blew through far more than that in staff time compiling the receipts, putting together briefings.

This could have easily been looked at by some kind of junior PBO auditor, but doesn't really have the same 'gotcha' energy as a $14 orange juice. Lot of BS politics that ultimately does nothing for the real issues people are dealing with.
 

Halifax Tar

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Still, the committee meets about a dozen times a year. Each MP probably costs around $300k a year in basic salary/benefits/allowance, plus all the various admin type folks to support the committees, do running translations, filming etc. probably easily blows past whatever the total catering costs, let alone future cost savings.

So for a bit of political grandstanding the taxpayers probably covered a few million in costs to look at how we could have saved $20k. That's just dumb, and then we probably also blew through far more than that in staff time compiling the receipts, putting together briefings.

This could have easily been looked at by some kind of junior PBO auditor, but doesn't really have the same 'gotcha' energy as a $14 orange juice. Lot of BS politics that ultimately does nothing for the real issues people are dealing with.

I don't know. Lots of good folks in this country are struggling to put food in their kids mouths, and praying that something major doesn't happen because they don't have the capitol to field that ball, yet we see opulent spending like the above.

Like I have said previously, I get big diplomatic dinners and functions where intonational relations and deals are brokered need a certain level of service, and I am cool with that. But flights too and from ? I just cant get on board with this. But then again I don't tend to hold my political masters in an elevated level. They are just people.

I like you don't like political points being made of it. It would be nice if all parties could agree it should be reigned in.
 

Booter

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Unless it’s allergies- I have a hard time with the choosing meals thing. A “selection” is a little decadent. If you’d like selections- choose the weeks upcoming to travel through your aide
 

KevinB

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Unless it’s allergies- I have a hard time with the choosing meals thing. A “selection” is a little decadent. If you’d like selections- choose the weeks upcoming to travel through your aide
Yeah the whole 65% extra meal aspect is a little silly - with a fixed manifest it is pretty easy to make a meal selection prior.
Have a limited amount of spares for spoilage etc - but 5-10% is reasonable, and hard to argue more are needed.
 
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