OTTAWA — Newly released emails show federal officials scrambled to book expensive last-minute flights to bring a cabinet minister back to Ottawa in time for an expected vote on their doctor-assisted dying bill this spring.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau was in Copenhagen for a global conference on women's health and rights this May when her officials got word the Liberals wanted her back — and quickly — for a pending vote in the House of Commons.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill on June 17, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
Bibeau was originally scheduled to head to Paris and then on to Istanbul and Geneva for other events.
The emails show officials had to book two new flight itineraries — one to get her back to Ottawa and then another from there to Turkey for the latter portion of the trip about two days later — at a cost of nearly $14,000, nearly 80 per cent of the amount spent on airfare for the minister on that trip.
Grits nearly lost on Air Canada legislation
The mad dash from around the world followed an embarrassing near-miss for the Liberals, when they did not have enough MPs in their seats for a key vote on Air Canada legislation, prompting fears they would be similarly caught out when it came time to get Bill C-14 through the House.
The emails released through the Access to Information Act do not detail how much extra money it cost Global Affairs Canada, but note that Bibeau's staff and other officials stayed behind to save the government about $10,000 per person.
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