Gov. Gen Julie Payette has been using a government jet for pick-ups and drop-offs at the Mirabel, Quebec cargo airport on the way to her cottage, according to CTV News.
It takes the government challenger roughly 19 minutes to fly from Ottawa to Mirabel—about 133 kilometres. The jet also has to prep for a couple hours before takeoff and costs close to $5,000 an hour while in flight. Her chauffeur-driven vehicle would take under 90 minutes to reach the terminal.
Rideau Hall noted that in 2020, Payette left from Mirabel to Saskatoon, Halifax and Trenton.
According to flight data from 2019, Payette had made seven pit stops in the Mirabel airport aboard the jet and she continued the trend in 2020 as she travelled to her Laurentian Mountain cottage to isolate amid the pandemic.
Payette also took a flight from Brockville to Mirabel on May 6, and the plane later returned to Ottawa.
Ashlee Smith, a spokesperson for the Governor General insisted that Payette has never called on the Challenger for her own personal use or Travel to Ottawa to complete ceremonial duties.
Flight data tracking shows otherwise as a number of flights left from Mirabel to Ottawa this year along with flights from two separate land strips in the area—Mont-Laurier and Saint-Jerome. During those flights the jet used the call sign—CFC3701—which is used when the Governor General is on board.
A number of flights made by the plane this year from Mirabel don’t have Payette’s call sign.
Technically, Payette would not be breaking any rules by commuting to her cottage on a jet fuelled by taxpayer money though she already has a vehicle waiting at the Mirabel and has made a cottage relocation with security detail close by.
Payette has also struggled to meet the standard set by David Johnston—her predecessor—in a number of other areas during her time as Governor General. She now has just one year remaining in the four-year mandate.