UPDATE: In response to this article, the Privy Council Office stated that all Treasury Board guidelines were followed, and that no public funds were spent on alcohol.
The Privy Council Office has billed the Canadian taxpayer $12,450 for a “Hollywood-style cocktail party,” according to Ottawa news outlet Blacklock’s Reporter.
The cocktail party intended to celebrate the “excellence” of the communications staff. As a part of this party, the taxpayer was charged for velvet ropes, red carpeting, and a master of ceremonies in a tuxedo. It was held at the Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
Brad Penfound, who is a senior director of communication’s advisor, was particularly adamant that a red carpet was present: “I have been getting some quotes for renting red carpet and velvet ropes … We want to have a red carpet feel to the event.”
The taxpayer was billed $2,880 for a cocktail party that included expensive ham, smoked salmon, and beef.
“The total cost of the 2019 event was approximately $10,000.00, including room rental, awards, and hospitality. As this was the inaugural year for the awards, some of the initial costs (approximately $2,400.00) include items that will be re-used for several years,” said Privy Council Office spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold. “All Treasury Board guidelines were followed. No public funds were spent on alcohol.”
Despite the free gourmet food and party, the Privy Council was upset that the Art’s Centre served booze in plastic cups. Thankfully, however, Penfound came to the rescue, asking the Art Centre whether “it’s possible to have glass.”
Other expenses included $2,437 for communication awards and $2,712 for nine-inch crystal awards—all of which was charged to the taxpayer.
The Privy Council Office is planning to hold a second annual award ceremony on February 18, 2020.