Diamond Jubilee: Conservatives Balked At Cost Of Celebrations For Queen's 60th Year On The Throne
OTTAWA - When it comes to celebrating the Queen's 60th year on the throne, the governing Conservatives don't want to spend a king's ransom.
New documents show Heritage Minister James Moore's office balked at the initial quote for Diamond Jubilee festivities.
"In January 2011, your office reviewed the cost estimate for the Diamond Jubilee framework and asked that it be reduced from $8.8 million to $7.5 million," says a briefing note to Moore.
The Canadian Press obtained the document under the Access to Information Act.
Celebrations are set to kick off across Canada next month to commemorate the day Queen Elizabeth II became sovereign on the death of her father, King George VI.
Last month, the heritage minister announced scaled-back spending of $7.5 million on Diamond Jubilee celebrations. That includes $2 million for events in the Queen's honour, and $3.7 million for 60,000 special medals for civic-minded Canadians.
"By supporting this most historic and significant anniversary, our government is delivering on its commitment to reinforce our heritage through active celebration of our institutions that define who we are as Canadians," Moore said in a statement.
The Department of Canadian Heritage has also ordered more than half a million Diamond Jubilee flags, while a Canadian Forces regiment had a brooch encrusted with 60 diamonds made specially for the Queen.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have unabashedly embraced the monarchy since coming to power. The Tories restored the word 'royal' to the names of the navy and air force and insisted the Queen's picture is prominently displayed in embassies and at Foreign Affairs headquarters.
So why the penny-pinching over the Queen's big party?
Moore's spokesman, James Maunder, said the government isn't spending any extra money on the festivities.
"The funds to honour Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee come entirely from existing departmental resources," Maunder said in an email.
"The adjusted number was arrived at after some fine-tuning of the expected costs."
Preparations to mark the milestone started two years ago.
In late 2009, the government struck a 14-member committee chaired by Canada's secretary to the Queen to advise Moore on Canadian celebrations.
The committee is comprised of representatives from the provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations, as well as officials from Citizenship and Immigration, National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Heritage.
The group based its initial $8.8-million estimate on the cost of the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, adjusted for inflation, says another memo to Moore. Those celebrations a decade ago, which included a royal visit, cost $7 million.
"We're proud of our investment," Maunder wrote. "It was arrived at with consultation, care and above all else, respect for taxpayers."
The Queen has not announced a Canadian tour this time around, but Prince Charles and Camilla will visit as part of a worldwide royal blitz during the Diamond Jubilee year.
Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, who spent nine days touring Canada last year, will travel to the South Pacific. Prince Harry is going to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will attend events across Britain.WILLIAM AND CATHERINE TOUR CANADA
The Royals Leave Canada
Will and Kate wave goodbye to Calgary as they conclude their royal Canadian tour.
The Royals Sign The Guest Book
William and Kate sign the guest book at the ENMAX Conservatory in Calgary with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, left, and Lt. Gov. Donald S. Ethell.
Kate Meets Frances Miller
The Duchess of Cambridge meets with Frances Miller as she prepares to leave Calgary with her husband to head to Los Angeles.
The Portraits Of Honour
Prince William and Catherine view the Portraits of Honour on display at their official departure ceremony in Calgary.
The Royals In The Conservatory
William and Catherine tour the ENMAX Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo.
Kate Arrives At The Zoo
The Duchess of Cambridge visits the ENMAX Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo.
The Royals And Stelmach
Will and Kate speak with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach at the ENMAX Conservatory in Calgary.
Will And Kate In Matching Hats
The Royals at the Calgary Stampede Parade.
Will and Kate wave to the crowd while at the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Watch The RCMP
Will and Kate watch the RCMP march in the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Watch The Parade
The Duke and Duchess watch the beginning of the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Duke Arrives
Prince William arrives in cowboy gear to the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Push The Button
Will and Kate push a button to start the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Rodeo Shocks Kate
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch a rodeo demonstration at the Calgary Stampede.
Kate And A Calgarian
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with a little girl while at the Stampede.
The Duchess Receives Flowers
Catherine meets well-wishes and receives flowers at a Government Reception in Calgary.
The Government Reception
A view of the Government Reception at the BMO Centre in Calgary.
Kate Checks Her Hat
Will and Kate watch Stampede activities in Calgary at the BMO Centre.
Will Tips His Hat
Prince William during a speech at the Calgary Stampede.
The Royals At The BMO Centre
Will and Kate watch traditional Calgary Stampede activities.
Will Gets Down To Work
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, throws a barrel into the back of a chuckwagon during his visit to the Calgary Stampede on Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Calgary, Alberta.
Royal Tour Canada
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrive via stage coach for a reception at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Canada as they continue their Royal Tour of Canada Thursday, July 7, 2011.
The Royals And Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, second from right, Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Laureen Harper, left, watch a child sheep ride event at the Stampede in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, July 7, 2011.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watch dancers while attending a reception at the Calgary Stampede on Thursday, July 7, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta.
The Royals Go Western
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, wear their new Smithbilt cowboy hats as they watch a rodeo demonstration in Calgary, Alberta, July 7, 2011.
The Royals Wave To Admirers
Prince William and Kate after a tour of the 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre in Calgary.
Will Waves From The Car
Prince William waves from his car with Kate on the eighth day of their Canadian tour.
The Duke And Duchess Are Greeted
Prince William and Kate are greeted when arriving at 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre Calgary.
Kate Inspects A Mannequin
Kate follows her husbands lead and saves the life of a medical test mannequin at the University of Calgary.
Will And Kate Tour U of C
Prince William and Kate are shown how to save a life with a medical test mannequin at the University of Calgary's Ward of the 21st Century.
The Royals And RCMP In Calgary
Prince William and Catherine look at a RCMP officer after arriving in Calgary.
A Calgary Chinook?
Kate's hair doesn't agree with the wind as the Royals land in Calgary for the final stretch of their Canadian tour.
Will Meets Shy Calgarian
Prince William meets -- or tries to meet -- shy 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary.
Catherine Gets A Hug
Kate hugs 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary after arriving.
Kate Is Greeted
The Duchess meets with shy 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary.
Will, Kate And Flight Crew
The Royals get their photo taken with flight crew members as they arrive in Calgary.
Will Gets A White Hat
Prince William is presented with a white cowboy hat from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The Royals Land In Calgary
The Royals land in Calgary for the last Canadian city on their tour of the country.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, pose for a photo with members of the Canadian Forces flight crew upon their arrival in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, July 7, 2011.