Defence Minister Peter MacKay spent more than $5,900 on his trip to last year's Grey Cup in Edmonton, documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation reveal.
MacKay spent $4,752 for a pair of Executive Class tickets from Toronto to Edmonton and spent $624 for a three night stay at Edmonton's Hotel MacDonald.
"These sky-high ticket prices are likely due to purchasing Executive Class tickets with maximum flexibility (fully-refundable) and/or at the last minute," the CTF wrote on their blog.
The CTF also pointed out that MacKay spent $3,167 on a trip to Boston for a seafood show. "Again, Minister Mackay regularly attends this event, although the usefulness of a senior Canadian minister attending a “seafood show” is even more debatable than attending the Grey Cup," the group wrote.
Asked to comment, MacKay's spokesman Jay Paxton told The Huffington Post the two trips were ministerial business and that all expenses were "fully disclosed" some time ago.
"As Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, Minister MacKay participated in the largest seafood trade event in North America in Boston. As the Minister of Defence, Minister MacKay participated in the military component to the ceremonies of the 2010 Grey Cup in Edmonton," Paxton said.
The report comes on the heels of another CTF report slamming MacKay for spending almost $3,000 on a two night stay at a hotel in Munich, Germany during a conference.
MacKay has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged the Defence Minister used a government search-and-rescue helicopter to travel to the airport in Gander, N.L. after a personal vacation at a fishing lodge. The cost of the flight has been estimated at $16,000.
The Minister Of National Defence has claimed the helicopter ride was pre-planned so that he could observe the search-and-rescue team in action. Opposition MPs have accused the Minister of lying, pointing to documents which suggest military officials discouraged the flight.
MacKay has threatened to sue over the accusations.