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Health Minister Patty Hajdu used a federal jet to fly eleven times, newly-disclosed documents reveal, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
While it was already known that Hajdu had used the jet to fly, despite her department instructing Canadians to avoid non-essential travel, Hajdu's office had previously only admitted to half as many flights.
In July, it was found that Hajdu had flown thousands of kilometres during weekends on a VIP jet, the Cessna Citiation C550. According to flight records, Hajdu flew back and forth from Ottawa to her home in Thunder Bay at the start of work weeks, traveling alone, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
“Think again and stay home,” said Hajdu on March 23, days after lockdown measures were put in place. “We are asking Canadians really to conduct only essential business, going to the grocery store, going to the post office, going to the pharmacy.”
“Stay put right now,” Hajdu said on March 21. “Please stay home if you do not need to travel in this country or out of this country, obviously. Please stay home. I think that’s important no matter where you live.”
The flights' total expenses reached over $73,000. The full cost of Hajdu's travels was not provided by the Department of Transport to Blacklock's Reporter.
Cole Davidson, press secretary to the health minister, defended the travel, saying that “she traveled alone on these flights ... Neither staff nor family members accompanied her.”
There was "no explanation of what federal business Hajdu attended in her riding during pandemic shutdowns on public gatherings... Minister Hajdu traveled on a Transport Canada aircraft," said Davidson.