05/22/2011 11:50 EDT | Updated 07/22/2011 05:12 EDT

MP Freebie Trip Sponsors Received Millions From Government

OTTAWA — Freebie trips for members of Parliament that supposedly are not on the public dime may in fact be paid for by taxpayers after all.

Public records show some groups which sponsored MP junkets got millions of dollars in government funding.

All-expense-paid trips are one perk of elected officialdom — and MPs lap up free travel courtesy of foreign governments, advocacy groups and business organizations

An analysis by The Canadian Press of sponsored travel reports shows 172 MPs have taken 336 free trips over the last four years totaling $1.9 million. And that’s on top of trips taken on government business.

Some MPs justify the junkets, saying they don’t cost Canadians a thing since the sponsoring groups foot the bill.

But two organizations which paid for MP trips — the Cross-Cultural Community Services Association in Toronto and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada — have received nearly $14 million from various levels of government — almost all of it federal — since 2007, according to filings with the Canada Revenue Agency.