Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Satan's Evil Twin

Five-Star Hotel Not Good Enough, Bev Oda Opts For Posh Hotel Favoured By Royalty

43 posts in this topic

Five-star hotel not good enough, Bev Oda opts for posh hotel favoured by royalty

Published On Mon Apr 23 2012

0776902f418fae23d582a335326b.jpg

International Development Minister Bev Oda, at a donors conference in England last year, Oda has been criticized for champagne tastes in the past. In 2006, she used limousines to ferry her to and from the Juno Awards ceremony in Halifax. When the expenses were criticized in the House of Commons, she said she had reimbursed the taxpayer $2,200 of the $5,475 in bills.

BEN FISHER/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Jennifer DitchburnThe Canadian Press

OTTAWA—It seems only the best will do for International Development Minister Bev Oda, who refused to stay at one five-star hotel in London, England, last year and rebooked at a swanky establishment for more than double the cost.

Oda was originally supposed to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, site of the conference on international immunizations she was attending.

Instead, she had staff rebook her into the posh Savoy overlooking the Thames, an old favourite of royalty and currently owned by Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia.

The switcheroo is reminiscent of a controversial trip six years ago, when Oda rejected a minivan for transportation and opted for a limousine instead.

Oda had a luxury car and driver in London shuttling her between conference site, her new hotel and beyond at an average cost of nearly $1,000 a day.

The bill for three nights at the Savoy last June set back taxpayers $1,995, or $665 a night. The government still had to pay for a night at the hotel she rejected, costing an additional $287.

An orange juice Oda expensed from the Savoy cost $16.

In last month’s budget, the Canadian International Development Agency suffered cuts that rang in this year at $380 million.

“The minister preferred not to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s upon our arrival there and we had to pay,” says a note on an expense sheet.

Documents on the trip were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Oda’s spokesman, Justin Broekema, originally told The Canadian Press he could not comment on “specific accommodation arrangements for the minister”.

On Monday he told the Star that Oda “personally paid the portion of the expenses in question”.

Broekema did not immediately answer follow-up questions regarding which portion of the cost that would be, or explain how that information was missing from the documents.

“The Minister considers the most appropriate, cost-effective travel and accommodations—in compliance with Treasury Board Guidelines. Expenses incurred followed these guidelines,” Broekema wrote Monday. “Our government, including this Minister, has reduced spending on travel and hospitality and overall Ministerial office budgets.”

New Democrat MP and Opposition House Leader Nathan Cullen said he could not think of anything that would justify Oda staying at the Savoy.

“Can a night at the Savoy be justified? I suppose if you’re in a high-flying rock band, but as a minister who is meant to be engaging with the world’s most poor, most needy, and coming from a government that is demanding that Canadians tighten their own belts, the hypocrisy is reeking,” Cullen told reporters on Monday morning. “It is incredible, particularly a minister who has already been through this. . . I’m not sure that Canadians will be satisfied with that level of hypocrisy coming from this government as they cut essential services like pensions and food security.”

A political staffer travelling with Oda stayed at the cheaper hotel, which is no shack — it features views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, an enormous glass atrium, four restaurants and five bars.

A chauffeur drove Oda around the city at a cost of $2,850 over three days. On the first day of the conference, the Canadian government paid for the car to be on call for 15 hours. The Savoy is two kilometres from the Grange.

John Alan of John Alan’s Car Service said he couldn’t recall which kind of car Oda used, but said his cars were in the Mercedes or BMW range.

While in London, Oda represented Canada at a donors conference for the GAVI Alliance, a global health organization that works to immunize children in poor countries. Canada has given $253 million to GAVI since 2001. Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates attended the conference, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Oda has been criticized for champagne tastes in the past.

In 2006, she used limousines to ferry her to and from the Juno Awards ceremony in Halifax, racking up $5,475 in bills. When the expenses were criticized in the House of Commons, she said she had reimbursed the taxpayer $2,200 of the bill.

A year later, Oda billed taxpayers more than $1,200 for another limousine ride that took her to both a government event and a party activity. The NDP cried foul when those expenses were not spelled out in the government’s public disclosures.

With files from Joanna Smith

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1166210--five-star-hotel-not-good-enough-bev-oda-opts-for-posh-hotel-favoured-by-royalty

Bev Oda repays extra money spent on posh hotel

OTTAWA — The orange juice was too expensive after all.

International Development Minister Bev Oda has reimbursed taxpayers for the extra money she cost them by upgrading from a five-star hotel to an even fancier one while attending a conference in London, England last year.

The Canadian Press reported Monday that Oda turned her nose up at her original $287-a-night reservation last June at the posh Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, which was hosting a donors conference on international immunization that she and notables such as Microsoft chairman Bill Gates were attending.

There, according to the hotel website, the conference tables are adorned with silver candelabras, the plush white bathrobes are monogrammed, the spa includes a traditional Turkish bath and the windows overlook the gorgeous St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Not good enough, apparently, for the Canadian minister responsible for delivering humanitarian aid to the poorest countries in the world through the Canadian International Development Agency, which the federal budget announced last month showed will undergo $319 million in spending cuts by 2014-15.

Oda had her staff rebook her into the Savoy, an even more luxurious hotel ($665 a night) overlooking the Thames that has hosted such stars as Frank Sinatra, Claude Monet, Charlie Chaplin and royalty.

Switching from the Grange to the Savoy cost taxpayers an additional $1,134 for the three nights, plus an additional $287 because the government lost its one-night deposit at the hotel she rejected.

Oda also expensed a $16 glass of orange juice from the Savoy.

“The minister preferred not to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s upon our arrival there and we had to pay,” says a note on an expense sheet obtained by The Canadian Press.

A chauffeur also drove Oda around the city in a luxury car, including to and from the Savoy to the site of the conference at the less expensive hotel, which cost the government $2,850 over three days.

Ten months later — after the story broke and caused uproar — Oda paid some of the money back.

“The minister personally paid the portion of the expenses in question,” her press secretary, Justin Broekema, wrote in an email on Monday afternoon after noting that the expenses were repaid in compliance with Treasury Board guidelines. “The repayment occurred this morning, and covered the difference in cost between the two hotels, and the cancellation fee.”

Broekema later added that Oda also shelled out for the orange juice.

Nothing was said about the car and driver.

New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair noted Oda repaid the money only after her expense claims became public.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any sincerity in the reparation effort,” Mulcair told reporters Monday following question period in the Commons, where Oda was absent. “It seems to be more damage control than an honest application of the rules.”

Mulcair also noted Oda has been in trouble for lavish spending before, sparking criticism from the opposition for charging taxpayers with thousands of dollars in limousine rides in both 2006 and 2007.

Liberal MP and ethics critic Scott Andrews suggested during question period that Oda switched rooms because she could not get a smoking room at the original hotel.

Neither of the two London hotels would comment on the particulars of Oda’s reservations on Monday, but employees at both establishments told the Star that smoking rooms are available upon request.

Broekema did not answer questions about why Oda switched hotels.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1166390--bev-oda-s-office-says-minister-reimbursed-taxpayers-for-extra-money-spent-on-posh-hotel

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

all through the howard years over here in australia we promised to give .3% of our gdp in foreign aid and we could not even manage to give .1%, and now the gillard government is introducing more cuts to our foreign aid spending . we have one of the highest standards of living in the world and we cannot even manage to give .3 percent our wealth to people who in a lot of cases have absolutely nothing .

on a side note australia lost one of its most idealistic politicians last week , bob brown leader of the greens retired , his fight for our enviroment , for groups of people who had no mainstream voice will be sorely missed .even though i did not agree with all his policies and views [most of them i did ] he was the only politician who was in parliament who was there becuase he genuinely cared for the australian people and the enviroment we live in .

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cons sure are getting good at damage control after they get caught being unethical hypocrites.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt she is going to get fired. She is both a woman and native, two demographics Harper is desperately trying to appeal to. Also, she is from Ontario.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt she is going to get fired. She is both a woman and native, two demographics Harper is desperately trying to appeal to. Also, she is from Ontario.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, did you just say that because she kinda looks Native? Don't be a douche, she's definitely Japanese Canadian. ODA.

You're probably thinking about Leona Aglukkaq.

Minister_Leona_Aglukkaq.jpg

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bad, I didn't know she was Japanese. I still think she is going to stay in cabinet because of the same reason Maxime Bernier returned to cabinet. She is representing a small and underrepresented part of the Conservative caucus. Also, Harper has a majority so he doesn't really care.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a disgrace, it's disgusting see hard-earned tax payer dollars going to waste like this. Just makes you think how much more waste is occurring. The sense of entitlement some public servants display is appalling.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i don't think any serious person can defend her.

I mean, her original hotel WAS A FIVE STAR HOTEL AT THE CONFERENCE CENTER ITSELF. I mean, she is supposed to be there to work, right?

this is just pure bull.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cons sure are getting good at damage control after they get caught being unethical hypocrites.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, every political party in the World has this sort of feeding at the trough. It does not matter if if is left or right. They ALL do it.

It is called entitlement.

And to call out on the Conservatives shows your bias. If it happened to a left wing party it would be just as hyprocritical becasue they are suppose to represent the underclass.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty douchey but in the grand scheme of things it's really a drop in the bucket. Granted this type of material needs to be nipped in the bud but giving this more than a brief condemnation is more about scoring political points than running the country. It's not like there aren't legitimate issues that need to be addressed!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's kind of like saying police shouldn't pay attention to traffic violations when there are murders to be solved.

This kind of arrogance, selfishness and sense of entitlement is what dictators are made of. She's pushing in that direction.

Government is supposed to be about servitude and accountability, not power and indulgence.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. But the solution isn't to spend a week talking about it (which costs way more than the indulgence itself). It's to make her submit all her receipts and have them gone over. You know, be forced to justify her costs, like any other employee.

Ensure compliance? Sure. Spend a week trying to score political points? Equally bad use of time.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the motel 6 is not good enough....fricken fire her. ANYONE can go to a confrence and say nothing about something and do nothing about something. Politicains are so outta touch with reality. Families are hungry, people need jobs, basic services are being cut, while these people wipe their arse with hundred dollar bills.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bev Oda: Overconfidence

by

Paul Wells on Monday, April 23, 2012 12:48pm - 97 Comments

Bev_Oda.jpg

Ben Fisher/CP Images

A very large number of the Canadians who have voted Conservative for the last four elections in a row would be pleased if they could spend $16 on orange juice in a month. So don’t tell me there is no reason to raise an eyebrow over Bev Oda’s decision to walk out on a reservation at the Grange St. Paul’s and check into the Savoy instead, where by all accounts they serve the really good stuff with breakfast.

Last autumn I defended Peter MacKay for staying at a posh Munich hotel during a security conference. My entire point was that the hotel he stayed at was the conference venue. Security delays, and missed schmoozing in the wings, would impose genuine opportunity cost on any minister who stayed anywhere else. So what’s striking about Oda is that she didn’t rack up her bill staying at the conference venue: she racked it up fleeing the conference venue for someplace nicer. Incidentally, this is what a room at the hotel she fled looks like:

grange-st-pauls-hotel.jpg

But here’s the interesting question: Why on Earth would Bev Oda behave any differently?

The most significant detail in Jennifer Ditchburn’s CP story is that Oda went on this little cross-town escapade in June of 2011.

Let’s travel into the head of Canada’s Conservatives in June of 2011.

They had just spent half a year being hammered in the House of Commons by — ah, nostalgia — the Michael Ignatieff Liberals for improper respect toward Parliamentarians and the Canadian taxpayer. One item of contention was the memo-writing habits of Bev Oda. She got to sit in her very comfortable chair for week after week after week while handy helpers — John Baird, Pierre Poilievre, sometimes even Stephen Harper himself — stood up to cover for her. It was sometimes written that Oda was “in hot water” over her actions. But this was comical. The water wasn’t hot. She wasn’t in water of any temperature at all. She didn’t even have to do her own standing. And when it was over, Michael Ignatieff pulled the plug on an election, and the voters of Canada descended on him like villagers with torches. The Conservative party was richly rewarded. Bev Oda’s share of the vote in her riding increased.

And two weeks after the election, everybody trooped off to Rideau Hall, where Oda, described by the CBC as “embattled minister” — embattled? What? She’s got the Prime Minister of Canada to do her standing up for her — got her old job back.

And two weeks after that, she didn’t like the Grange. Why would she have to settle? Why would she throw caution anywhere except to the wind? She did what she did and her party did better and she did better and the PM gave her her job back. There’s no orange juice too good to celebrate the way that must feel.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/04/23/bev-oda-overconfidence/

Yeah, no, let's just shut up about it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story broke yesterday, and you're complaining about spending a week on it for political points? Dafuq? Most people complain that nobody pays attention to what our politicians do, you're complaining that it may be paid too much attention. :picard:

This needs as much attention as it takes to get her to resign. Once she's outside the government, we should stop talking about it. You want accountability? Talk about people you want held accountable until they are.

The amount of money is not the issue. Maybe one day we'll have political discourse where holding a politician's feet to fire is not considered scoring political points, but having a responsible government. :sadno:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.