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The Trudeau government spent nearly $120,000 on tickets to events, concerts and galas in only six months time during 2019.
Nearly $10,000 (roughly $247 each) was spent on bringing 35 foreign investors to see the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, as well as tickets for Bryan Adams concert tickets for the Canadian ambassador to Serbia.
The Liberals tallied up a total of $118,700 on tickets for fundraisers, film festivals, and Roughriders games, according to a new breakdown released following a Conservative Party order paper submitted.
Global Affairs Canada calls the bills spending put towards “cultural diplomacy.”
“It is a means to advancing our foreign policy objectives through increased access to decision-makers and influencers,” the response reads.
“Where relations are strong, cultural diplomacy has the capacity to reaffirm common values. It also has the potential to build trust, convey content in an alternative way, engage different segments of society, create safe spaces, address sensitive issues and even prepare the ground for difficult discussions.”
That guest list included corporate CEOs, presidents, managing partners, and government relations workers.
The federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Aaron Wudrick, believes the money spent isn’t as much a red flag as is the difficulty of obtaining the documents, which he chalks up to a lack of transparency.
“Canadians shouldn’t have to rely on order paper questions to get this information. It should be posted proactively, as a rule, so that everything is transparent,” Wudrick said to Global.
“If taxpayers have to spend a few thousand dollars to wine and dine some CEOs in the hopes it leads to business contracts, the government should say so, and it also needs to track whether it actually works,” he continued.
“It doesn’t mean every single expenditure has to yield a concrete result, but if, say, there are 20 cases of buying tickets to sports games that yield zero tangible results, maybe it’s time to rethink the value of doing it.”
Spending totals for the past year and a half total roughly $269,110, amounting to roughly double the amount spent from May to December 2019.
Not all off the responses necessarily include funds provided by taxpayers.