Mary Simon

 

You can t get more outdated or irrelevant than Canada's governor generals or a better example of pigs at the trough. Tasked with being the representative of the King or Queen of England, the duties seem to consist mainly of spending money on clothes and travel. The total annual cost of the office is now $34 million dollars, including $18 million in salaries to 177 employees.

The current Governor General, Mary Simon had her salary increased by $48,000 since 2019 to bring it to $351,600 a year with another automatice increase of $11,200 in 2024 to bring the total to $362,800. On top of that she gets an expense account of $206,000, $130,000 for clothing expenses for her 5 year term (for which she has already submitted a bill for $88,000) and an annual pension of $149,484.

Her latest scandal concerns over $71,000 spent on limousine expenses for a trip to Iceland in October 2022. The costs are outrageous considering that many of the events she attended were less than 500 metres from the luxury Hotel Borg where she was staying and the farthest was 5 kilometres away.

Justin with Mary SimonShe spent $700,000 for a trip to the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany which took her and 31 guests on a RCAF CC-150 Polaris government transport plane which included spending over $50,000 on hosting receptions and banquets, $45,000 on lodging, and over $103,000 on in-flight meals.

This was outdone by spending $1.3 million of taxpayers money to attend the 2020 Expo in Dubai for her and 29 guests again aboard an air force plane that dished out $93,000 in in-flight meals. A House of Commons government committee conducted an investigation into the costs of the trip and made 13 recommendations, including requiring the review of the size of delegations and quarterly reports provided on travel expenses. The committee noted that much of the information requested by them was not provided by government officials.

As if that isn't enough, even after leaving the post she is entitled, like all former governor generals, to $206,000 per year for ongoing administrative expenses supposedly for continuing to serve the public such as handling correspondence, speechwriting, travel and hospitality.

She isn't even a good representative of the crown. When visiting the Manitoba legislature, she commented on the pulling down of statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II by protestors two years earlier, by saying "I think it's really important for Indigenous people to express themselves in whichever form they want, but it's also very important for us to recognize that the effects of colonization and residential schools have had such a devastating impact on the culture and identity of Indigenous people, so in a way I can't say whether it's right or wrong".

Justin and Julie PayetteThe former governor general, Julie Payette, collects the same pension and expense account for life even though she only held the post for three years and resigned in disgrace for running a toxic workplace.

Adrienne Clarkson and PutinHer swearing-in ceremony foreshadowed the rest of her tenure, as the bill came in at $649,000. The open bar and snacks cost more than $96,000. Payette s secretary and associate secretary also racked up nearly $65,000 in flights, meals and other expenses during their first 18 months. From the time Payette took office until her resignation, renovations that her office requested for her taxpayer-funded Rideau Hall mansion cost $464,395, even though she wouldn t live in it.

The governor general before her, Adrienne Clarkson had claimed more than $1 million in expenses by 2018 since leaving her post in 2005. She also received $3 million to create the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. In 2004 she spent $5.3 million dollars on a trip to Russia, Iceland and Finland with 59 staff, government officials, and other hangers-on.