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June Draude says she’ll repay $3,600 car service cost

Saskatchewan Social Services Minister June Draude says she will repay $3,600 spent on a car service during a four-day trip to London. File / Global News

REGINA – Saskatchewan Social Services Minister June Draude says she will repay $3,600 spent on a car service during a four-day trip to London.

Draude says the car cost was not part of the expense claim that she submitted and she wasn’t aware of it until Wednesday when the Opposition NDP released freedom-of-information documents detailing her trip to England and Ghana last June.

“That said, I am responsible,” Draude said in a letter released to the media Thursday.

“So last night, I took a closer look at the cost of the car service. I thought about the meetings I had in London and, clearly, there were other ways I could have gotten to those meetings at less cost.

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“It was not necessary to hire a car service to get to my meetings. For that reason, I have decided to repay the cost of the car service.”

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Draude said the trip was to learn about what other jurisdictions are doing on issues such as disability initiatives, social housing and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The $3,600 for the car and a $200 lunch with a friend appeared on the expense forms for Rick Mantey, a cabinet secretary and clerk of executive council who accompanied Draude on the trip.

A government spokeswoman said Wednesday that Mantey submitted many receipts to his assistant to fill out the expense form and the lunch was inadvertently included. Kathy Young said it has been repaid.

Premier Brad Wall says the cabinet secretary is now on probation.

Wall says Mantey won’t travel for six months or book anyone else’s travel. A disciplinary letter has also been placed in his file.

The premier says a car service can make sense if there are a lot of meetings, but he says it should not have been used in this case.

The freedom-of-information documents also show that Draude’s flights cost $2,696.80. Mantey’s flights cost $4,366.43.

Young said Mantey flew business class, as per the government policy for overseas trips, while Draude opted to fly economy the whole way.

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