Firstly and in the spirit of transparency, as a former senior Federal Government official and later a colleague, I worked with Mary Simon, our Governor General, for a number of years, a decade ago. My recollection of her was as a dedicated, fully accountable servant of Canadians and the various organizations she represented.
When the catering etc expenditures on Ms. Simons’s trip to the mid-East made national news last Spring I would have expected the facts regarding responsibility for procurement and choice of catering, in particular, to be reported correctly. Unfortunately, they were not.
International visits by the Governor General are undertaken at the request of the Prime Minister’s Office. The procurement and choice of catering, flight arrangements and incurring of related trip costs are at the direction of those Federal Departments that support the Governor General and her Office. To be clear then, neither the Governor-General nor her Office would have had any input into the catering choices or costs for the trip.
It is those same Federal Departments that should have confirmed following the media coverage that it is they who made the decisions regarding procurement costs and choices for all catering on this visit flights.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with holding our public institutions and leaders to account. That’s what democracy is about. That said, there is nothing democratic about some elements of the media and partisan groups continuing to incorrectly report on accountability for these catering and related trip costs without establishing who actually made the decisions regarding the same. To assist in this clarification would the responsible federal Departments please speak up.