OTTAWA – International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has agreed to repay almost $3,000 she charged taxpayers for “ad hoc requests” of a luxury car and driver while staying at a posh hotel in London.
The beleaguered Conservative minister had already coughed up $1,353.81 in extra hotel charges earlier this week after The Canadian Press reported that she upgraded to the five-star-plus Savoy Hotel for unknown reasons during a conference last June.
The conference on international immunizations was at another five-star hotel where Oda cancelled her cheaper room in favour of the tonier Savoy, which was a 25-minute walk away.
A terse message from Oda’s office said that all incremental costs that should not have been expensed — including the car service — have been repaid.
“The repayment covered the costs associated with changing hotels: the difference in cost between the two hotels, the cancellation fee, the car service in London, and all incremental costs that should not have been charged to taxpayers,” spokesman Justin Broekema said in an email that did not provide a dollar figure.
Oda charged $2,850 three days of a luxury car service, including 15 hours on June 13, 2011. Oda’s itinerary shows she was supposed to be at the conference site — the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel — from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that day, after which she had private time.
A subsequent email from officials at Foreign Affairs to their Canadian International Development Agency counterparts, dated August 11, 2011, states “the mission will be unable to action any request for vehicles for the minister until the old invoice is paid.”
CIDA was requesting a car for another official, and the Foreign Affairs official recommended $1,000 be budgeted for the day.
“I wouldn’t think it would be anywhere close to that, but judging from the
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