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King Charles’ three-day visit to Canada cost taxpayers at least $1.4 million

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King Charles’ three-day 2022 Royal Tour of Canada cost Canadian taxpayers at least $1.4 million, according to documents obtained by CTVNews.ca.

The whirlwind May 17 to 19 trip saw the then- Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit Newfoundland, Ontario and Northwest Territories over approximately 57 hours, at a cost of more than $25,000 per hour.

The $1.4 million does not include government, military and police salaries, or normal operational costs, which would make the true bill higher. It also does not include costs covered by local governments and police forces.

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It does include overtime, fleets of vehicles, VIP flights and armed security paid for by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Heritage, the federal department that oversaw the trip and its planning.

The figures are based on a pair of access to information requests filed with Canadian Heritage, as well as data provided by the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other government departments and agencies. The Canadian Heritage figures should be considered preliminary, and are very likely to increase when official data is released in March 2023.

“The accounting process for the 2022 Royal Tour is still ongoing,” a Canadian Heritage spokesperson told CTVNews.ca. “For all Royal Tours, costs are shared between federal and provincial/territorial governments, based on the duration and the number of events taking place in each region.”

 

Charles became King and Camilla became Queen Consort following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022. Their May 2022 visit to Canada was meant to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee, which marked a historic 70 years on the throne.

National Defence footed the bill for Charles and Camilla’s air transportation to, from and within Canada aboard what’s commonly known as Can Force One: the bedroom-equipped VIP Airbus CC-150 Polaris jet that frequently shuttles the prime minister and dignitaries overseas. In total, the trip would have covered over 12,000 kilometres.

According to a National Defence spokesperson, the $568,000 is approximate and includes the costs of flying the plane “and associated support services to transport members of the Royal Family, along with personnel for the Royal Tour as identified by Canadian Heritage.” Approximately 450 Canadian Armed Forces personnel participated, including roughly 100 who supported air transportation and at least 100 for the honour guard at a May 17 welcoming ceremony in St. John’s, N.L.

The RCMP was primarily tasked with security. Outside of salaries, the RCMP spent $172,175 on overtime and $189,156 on travel expenditures like meals, accommodation and transportation for a total of $361,331. An RCMP spokesperson said additional costs may still be processed.

According to two access to information requests filed by CTVNews.ca, the more than $509,714 spent by Canadian Heritage included at least $221,634 on travel and hospitality costs like flights, accommodation, meals and per diems; more than $11,453 on fleets of rental cars, taxis and buses; more than $11,496 in overtime for just three employees; $6,404 in fees to Ottawa’s historic Lord Elgin Hotel; at least $5,287 for scores of COVID-19 rapid tests; $3,550 for image copyrights; $2,945 for printing services; and other costs like flowers, medical personal protective equipment, “VIP Agency Services” and gifts. Canadian Heritage also footed the hospitality bill for 20 to 30 members of the British delegation, who included staff from Clarence House, which is King Charles’ London residence. A breakdown of the preliminary Canadian Heritage costs can be found at the bottom of this article.

“It is customary for hospitality costs, including those for Clarence House staff, to be assumed by the host country,” an April 2022 memo prepared for Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez states. “As the lead federal department for the planning and delivery of the 2022 Royal Tour, the Department of Canadian Heritage will assume hospitality costs.”

Canadian Heritage also covered $140,685.64 in costs from Services and Procurement Canada, which included overtime for 20 employees, and $35,718.91 from the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, which went towards planning work, accommodation and meals for royal visitors and support staff, and a reception at Rideau Hall, which is home to the Governor General, the monarch’s appointed representative in Canada.

Additional costs were likely absorbed by other departments, police forces and levels of government.

In statements to CTVNews.ca, the Ontario government and the cities of Ottawa, Yellowknife and St. John’s reported incurring no costs due to the 2022 Royal Tour. The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Northwest Territories said numbers are not yet finalized. Ottawa Police Service and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary did not respond to requests for comment, and Ontario Provincial Police stated figures would only be released through a freedom of information request. The National Capital Commission, a Crown corporation that oversees federal properties in and around Ottawa, reported spending $283.40 on audio-visual services for an event at Rideau Hall. The $1.4 million also does not include costs covered by British taxpayers.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla’s last Royal Tour of Canada, which spanned three days in the summer of 2017, cost Canadian Heritage $487,660. Since 2010, there have been eight official Royal Tours to Canada by members of Royal Family, which have come at a price of more than $7 million to Canadian Heritage alone. The late Queen Elizabeth II’s final nine-day visit to Canada in 2010 was the most expensive of all, costing Canadian Heritage at least $2.79 million.

 

Visits like these represent just a fraction of what Canada’s ties to the throne cost Canadian taxpayers each year.

According to the Monarchist League of Canada, our constitutional monarchy cost the government almost $58.75 million in just the 2019 to 2020 fiscal year, which includes costs associated with operating the Governor General’s Office, their overseas trips, the salaries and expenses of provincial lieutenant governors, and royal tours. That’s approximately $1.55 per Canadian a year – slightly below the nearly $2.10 the Crown costs each citizen of the U.K.

The Monarchist League of Canada believes that represents good value for Canadians.

“The Queen and now the King, together with members of their Family, do not come to Canada to benefit Britain or indeed any of the other Commonwealth Realms,” the league’s dominion chairman, Robert Finch, told CTVNews.ca. “The purpose of these homecomings is to highlight Canadians, their achievements, yes – their challenges and problems being worked on – and to celebrate important events in the life of the nation.”

The Monarchist League of Canada was recently awarded a $187,500 grant from Canadian Heritage to distribute 70,000 educational booklets to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee this year. Finch explains that all Royal Tours come on invitation of the host nation, and that there are also many private visits, such as by members with hospital patronages or honorary military ranks. He describes Canadians’ relationship and attitude to the monarchy as “deep and abiding.”

“Canada’s polity is one of democratic institutions and freedom under the Crown,” Finch said. “To change that polity would demand the unanimous agreement of the ten provincial legislatures and Parliament – and the complexity would not merely centre on why such a change should be made, but what new institution would replace it, and be demonstrably better.”

Tom Freda, director of the Citizens for a Canadian Republic advocacy group, believes that Canadian support the monarchy is “declining,” partially because of the large costs of hosting visiting royals.

“We don’t see much purpose at all, really,” Freda told CTVNews.ca. “Obviously, state visits in general are a necessary part of international relations and diplomacy. As a host country, we cover the costs of all visiting dignitaries.”

The group, which wants to replace the British monarch with a Canadian head of state, has used access to information requests to uncover data on the costs of past Royal Tours.

“Canada does seem to go overboard on royal visits,” Freda said. “Near as we can tell, they’re designed to bolster support for the royals (ironically, it does the opposite by raising attention to their presence and the cost), and to allow political and business elites the opportunity to socialize with royalty.”

Obtained through two access to information requests, the above documents outline costs incurred by Canadian Heritage during King Charles’ 2022 Royal Tour of Canada.

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