The Prime Minister’s office says its public expense filings contain multiple errors that lump multiple staff members onto one bill.
Shortly after Global News reported on the government expense filings on the Privy Council Office website – filings that include $2,000 for two nights in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo and upwards of $1,200 for one night in Toronto and Quebec City – the PMO got in touch to say the figures they reported are incorrect.
At about 5 p.m. Wednesday a PMO spokesperson sent a link to an altered expense filing: $1,196.71 for two nights’ accommodation, down from $1,895.09. The other $700, they said, was for a room used as meeting space.
The $1,235.59 for one night’s accommodation in February during a trip to Toronto and Quebec City is accurate, the PMO says.
We’re still waiting for an explanation regarding former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s travel expenses that appear under-reported or un-reported in these filings.
The posted expenses indicate a stark contrast between Trudeau and Harper, although at least some of that is due to costs that go unreported in these filings ($0 expensed for Saint Petersburg accommodation, for example).
They also indicate how difficult it is to accurately track ministerial expenses even when they’re ostensibly posted online: Costs categorized differently can make it seem as though much more or much less was spent over a period of time.
Harper’s priciest trip? A $739.54 night in Ottawa for Trudeau’s November swearing in.
Harper’s expense reports are clearly missing much of the costs of his trips: His trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia in September 2013 reports $0 spent on accommodation or food, and $90 in “other” costs. We’ve asked the Conservative Party about this and are awaiting a response.
Harper’s meal costs are not reported. And when his accommodation costs are included, they’re pretty low-budget: $252 for two nights in Windsor; $129.16 for a night in Vancouver. (The average for the Lower Mainland, according to Expedia, is $199.)
Trudeau, on the other hand, spent $1,235.59 on accommodation for a two-day trip to Toronto and Quebec City, and $225.78 on meals during that trip.
It isn’t clear whether these higher costs are for the entire Trudeau-Gregoire family — Trudeau’s wife and three children have frequently accompanied him on government trips.
The actual travel costs of these jaunts are not reported here: The vast majority of the trips are on government aircraft, the cost of which is not included in the expense reports.