Saskatchewan. Finance Minister defends travel costs following criticism

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer is defending her decision to spend nearly $8,000 of government money on flights from Regina to North Battleford, Saskatchewan. due to cost criticism.

“I will be working very long hours and I recognize that I will largely be living away from home as a cabinet minister,” the minister explained during a press briefing on Tuesday.

“What I won’t do is drive when I’m exhausted.”

The Minister of Finance chartered Good Spirit Aviation for a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where she was a guest speaker.

Harpauer said his trip, which took place in March, should not have been criticized.

“It was described as a journey and it became the story rather than my overall journey which is quite weak,” she said.

Harpauer has made only one other flight this year. She chartered a plane to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. again to promote the budget. That bill was also close to $8,000, with Premier Scott Moe joining her on the flight and splitting the cost.

Todd MacKay of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation believes Harpauer owes voters an apology and a refund.

“It’s just not a good use of taxpayers’ money. It’s good for politicians to be outside and talk to people. This part is good but you don’t need to spend $8000 to go to the Battlefords. It’s lovely there, but even if you’re leaving from Regina, you can leave early in the morning, pick up your Timmies and arrive before lunch,” he said.

The provincial government owned the hangar and a fleet of business jets, flying several times a week. This service was dissolved five years ago.

Now cabinet ministers rarely fly into the province. So far this year, only three charter flights have been disclosed, including that of Donna Harpauer.