Mary Simon and her high-flying globetrotting raises eyebrows
TROY MEDIA VIEWPOINT – Mary Simon broke barriers when she became Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General in 2021. Fast-forward a year, and she’s breaking the bank – $2.7 million in travel expenses, to be exact, and that’s with the meter still ticking, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). While Simon is a champion for Indigenous rights and Arctic conservation, does her eye-watering travel budget reflect an equal value to the Canadian public?
Simon’s 2022 globetrotting escapades were nothing short of lavish. Five international jaunts and myriad domestic voyages, and she’s hardly ever alone. Her husband, aides, and an entire entourage typically accompany her, inflating the bills even further. Case in point: a Middle Eastern tour last March saw in-flight meals alone costing close to $100,000.
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CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano puts it bluntly, “While Canadians are tightening their belts, especially during a pandemic, Simon’s exorbitant expenses are tone-deaf at best.”
It’s not just the flights; the accommodations have been sumptuous, to say the least. Imagine checking into the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin or the iconic Great Scotland Yard in London.
But let’s provide some context. Simon isn’t the first Governor General to lean into luxury. Her predecessors, including Julie Payette and David Johnston, racked up nearly $3 million and at least $2 million in international travel, respectively. Governors-general Adrienne Clarkson and Michaëlle Jean each spent over $8.9 million during their tenures.
Yet the question remains: What are Canadian taxpayers getting in return? “Rideau Hall has been spending far too much for far too long. It’s time for fiscal restraint,” Terrazano says.
The timing for this indulgence could hardly be worse. The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General already enjoys a federal funding cushion of $33 million. Add to that Simon’s salary, recently hiked to $351,600, an increase of $48,800 since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. All these numbers loom large, especially as Canada grapples with a shaky post-pandemic economic recovery and rising living costs.
Simon’s appointment brought promise and optimism, as she was touted to be a bridge-builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The question is, can these noble goals and cultural diplomacy be quantified against a backdrop of such high spending? As important as the Governor General’s role might be in ceremonial and constitutional contexts, the financial aspect is increasingly difficult to justify for the average Canadian taxpayer.
In a time when Canadians are feeling the financial pinch more than ever, Simon’s high-flying expenditures are not merely a point of discussion; they’ve become a symbol of broader questions about fiscal responsibility and value for money in public service. Is Mary Simon’s Governor Generalship worth the opulent price tag?
That’s the $2.7 million question now facing Canada.
| Troy Media
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