REALITY CHECK: Redford going gold on Olympic trip

EDMONTON, AB (July 25, 2012): Premier Alison Redford and two of her ministers are billing Alberta taxpayers nearly $84,000 to spend six days at the Olympic Games in London with three staffers. 

If that seems like a lot of money for a six-day trip, it is. According to Wildrose research, the Alberta delegation to London is costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more than it otherwise could. 

Here’s a breakdown of what Redford’s Olympic trip might look like in its current form: 

Executive flights round trip: $36,000.00. Total based on average Air Canada costs of $6,000 per person provided on July 25 for six passengers roundtrip.  

Accommodations: $18,540.00.  A five-star hotel in central London right now is advertising at CDN $618.11  per night for a five-night stay between July 29 and Aug.  4.  The cost is produced by calculating the cost of a room for each traveler over five nights. 

Meals and Incidentals: $6,295.48. The Canadian Treasury Board allows public officials up to 110.68 pounds (CDN $174.87 based on current today’s exchange rate – July 25) for meals and incidentals.  The cost estimates the daily expenses for six travelers over the six day time period. 

On the ground travel: $24,031.80. The cost of renting three 2012 Rolls Royce Phantoms (one car for each minister and their staff) – based on each vehicle costing $1,335.10 per day.  

Total: $84,867.28

 

Below are costs for flights, accommodations, meals and incidentals and on the ground travel for a taxpayer-friendly version of the same trip: 

Economy flights round trip: $15,000.00. Total based on average Air Canada costs of $2,500.00 per person provided on July 25 for six passengers roundtrip.  

Accommodations: $9,937.00.  A four-star hotel in central London right now is advertising at CDN $331.24 per night for a five-night stay between July 29 and Aug. 4.  The cost is produced by calculating the cost of a room for each traveler over five nights. 

Meals and Incidentals: $6,295.48.  Same as above. 

On the ground travel: $540.00.  David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – a G8 nation – will be using public transit with his protection team instead of using any VIP lanes, and is recommending that his ministers follow the same practice. There is no reason why Premier Redford and her team cannot follow Prime Minister Cameron’s lead. It would cost about CDN $15.00 a day to purchase a daily transit pass for each traveler over the six day period.  

Total: $31,772.48 

This leaves a monstrous gap of $52,027.52. 

The Wildrose supports advocating on behalf of Alberta and standing up for Alberta’s interests both at home and abroad, but asking taxpayers to pick up the tab for extra perks on a six-day trip to the Olympics is the wrong way to do it. 

-  30 -