Senators flew during travel ban, on backs of taxpayers: Report – Toronto Sun

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Senate Speaker George Furey (N.L.) took eight flights between Ottawa and St. John's from the outbreak of the pandemic on March 11, 2020 to July 1. Furey did not respond to questions.
Senate Speaker George Furey (N.L.) took eight flights between Ottawa and St. John’s from the outbreak of the pandemic on March 11, 2020 to July 1. Furey did not respond to questions.

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Three senators turned a blind eye to pandemic bans on non-essential travel by flying to Ottawa and back home on the taxpayers’ dime, according to Access To Information flight logs.

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None of the three explained what constituency business they had during lockdowns in their respective home provinces, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

Health officials had warned it was unsafe for Canadians to visit family and friends at the time of their flights.

“In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Transport Canada provided aircraft to accommodate the travel requirements,” said Chloe Fedio, spokesperson for the Government Representative in the Senate, according to Blacklock’s.

Fedio said senators were required to fly back and forth from home “for the purpose of emergency Senate recalls.”

The trio all flew aboard Department of Transport Cessna C-500 jets, which have an operating cost of $1,400 an hour. Flight times put combined expenses at more than $151,000.

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Senate Speaker George Furey took eight flights between Ottawa and St. John’s from the outbreak of the pandemic on March 11, 2020 to July 1. Furey did not respond to questions.

Senator Raymonde Gagne took four jet flights between Ottawa and Winnipeg and did not provide an explanation for her travels.

Senator Donald Plett , Opposition leader in the Senate, also racked up eight flights between Ottawa and Winnipeg during that period.

“Manitoba is where I live,” he responded when asked what constituency business he had in his home province.

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The Privy Council Office in one internal email heaped praise on the flight crews for “your heroic efforts” in flying senators across the provinces.

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“Wanting to be with other people is normal. It’s also normal to be confused with the new measures and changes that have been happening,” Health Minister Patricia Hajdu said last July 24.

Hajdu flew between Ottawa and her home in Thunder Bay 11 times, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $73,220.

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