Former finance minister Bill Morneau reportedly charged taxpayers over $80,000 for travel prior to the pandemic. Conservative MP Tom Kmiec disclosed Access To Information records on Aug. 25 showing Morneau’s expenses which include staying in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at a $583-per-night hotel, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
MP Kmiec searched for Morneau’s “expense claims and receipts above $100” since Jan. 1. The travel claims and receipts also included those of Morneau’s Chief of Staff, his chauffeur and other aides and totalled $81,105 from July 1, 2019.
Morneau was charged $1,166 for his two night stay in Riyadh at the Ritz-Carlton for a G20 finance ministers meeting. The Ritz-Carlton is surrounded by grounds “scattered with 600-year old olive trees, landscaped gardens and swaying palms,” according to the hotel guide.
Other records show that Morneau left from there to Chantilly, France for a two day meeting from July 17 to 18. He then flew from there to Marseilles on July 4 and didn’t fly home until July 25 after racking up $4,120 in airfare charges.
Morneau’s resignation on Aug. 17 pre-empted a further investigation over the ex-finance minister’s failure to disclose $41,366 in free travel when he went to WE Charity resorts located in Ecuador and Kenya. Morneau also did not report that his daughter was hired by the charity before approving a federal grant of $43.5 million to it.
Morneau was also fined $200 in 2017 by the Ethics Commissioner for breaching the Conflict Of Interest Act after he did not disclose his directorship at a company in France that owns his villa in Oppède, France.
“My practice has always been to personally pay for expenses incurred in my role as finance minister whenever I’ve believed there to be any perception of potential personal benefit,” testified Morneau on July 22. “The error this time, even though I was not traveling in my role as minister, should not have happened.”
When speaking about his relationship with Craig Kielburger, one of WE Charity’s co-founders, Morneau said, “I don’t have any particular regular communication.”