Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has stood by her government’s decision to spend nearly $54,000 on Canada Goose winter jackets.
The expense came to light after a Freedom of Information request from a Progressive Conservative MPP detailed an unknown number of coats were purchased for workers in the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
The purchase came in the 2015/16 fiscal year, during which the government was heavily criticized for cutting autism support funding.
“It is incomprehensible that the Liberal government is so out of touch with the needs of Ontarians that they can spend $53,948 on luxury Canada Goose parkas while families and children are not getting the service they need,” said PC deputy leader Sylvia Jones.
Speaking to reporters in London Friday morning, Wynne told AM980 the jackets were purchased for the government, to enable ministry staff to better serve children.
“As I understand it, these are jackets that were bought by the government to provide warmth for people who are working with young, disadvantaged kids in the far north,” she said.
“It’s very cold in the far north, and so these jackets are for people who are working outside with kids in the far north. They’re not jackets that belong to the people. They belong to the government. They will be reused.”
Wynne also noted that the government received a “very deep discount” on the purchase.
It’s unknown how many coats were purchased, or at what cost, but these jackets generally retail for about $1,000. That alone makes it an unacceptable expenditure, Jones said.
“Buying these luxury jackets … is indefensible,” she said. “The minister needs to apologize to all the families who have had to wait for service, while this government has grossly mismanaged their tax dollars.”
The PC caucus requested a breakdown of the contract, but according to a rejection letter from the information office, Canada Goose said “releasing the quantity of parkas purchased, unit cost per parka and total amount per order would release confidential information that would bring harm to their business.”