You shouldn’t expect to see $6,000-per-night hotel rooms in the expense reports for King Charles’s coronation.
Internal government documents show that Global Affairs bureaucrats panicked when Sun reported uncontrollable expenses for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
Documents obtained through access to information systems show bureaucrats scrambling to justify the cost of the funeral, while also acknowledging that the coronation requires them to change their ways.
You can say, Sun gets action.
Last October, we broke the news that one of Canada’s delegation stayed in a lavish suite complete with showers and butler service. The River Suite at the Corinthia Hotel in London costs £4,800 per night.
Global Affairs documents showed a more generous exchange rate, putting the cost at $6,000 per night in Canadian dollars, while in reality, the actual cost was more than $7,000 per night. However, the big question was who stayed in the room, something the department and the Prime Minister’s Office refused to answer.
Rideau Hall confirmed that Governor General Mary Simon was not about to be captured, but that was as close as anyone got to an answer. Trudeau declined to answer the question when it was posed to him in the House of Commons, while his office rebuffed media questions on the matter via email.
In the days after the story broke, Goble Affairs officials drafted several different responses to try to justify the expense, including that they followed all the rules.
“The visit of the Government of Canada is subject to the directions of the National Joint Council. This information is routinely released in public accounting documents,” read a draft response.
That draft was in response to the question of who lives in a $6,000-a-night room no one in government wanted to talk about. Finally, the document reveals that political staffers in Minister Melanie Jolie’s office ordered bureaucrats not to answer questions.
“For everyone’s awareness, Omina has asked us to close without further response,” Jason Kung, a spokesman for Global Affairs, said in an email to colleagues. The term “omina” is a reference to the office of minister.
The documents also show how the decision to change hotels and how rooms are booked for the coronation this May.
“I assume you’ve seen the recent Toronto Sun article on hotel costs,” wrote Devon Singh, director of the executive office and head of tours at the High Commission of Canada in London.
“We knew this was going to come out, but seeing as it’s out and we know the coronation will be high, should we look at a lower number or stick with the amount you currently send us Is.”
Singh was fielding questions from Frederic Huot-Bolduc, who serves as the visit coordinator for Global Affairs Canada.
“I think we should keep our current number for the PM delegation,” replied Huot-Bolduch, while seeking more clarity on how long the ceremony would last.
In a separate email, Huot-Bolduc wrote that based on lessons learned from the funeral, the prime minister and governor general should be treated as separate groups and stay in separate hotels.
Maybe the people organizing these tours should try to figure out how to respect taxpayer dollars. The hotel where the Canadian delegation stayed at the time of the Queen’s funeral was one of the most expensive hotels in all of London.
There were other five star hotels available during that event which cost much less. Hope they look into other options for coronation.
While no one expected the prime minister to stay at a Motel 6 outside the airport, there is no need for him to book a room with butler service at a cost of thousands of dollars a night.