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Poll: GG Security vs. Finance

Yesterday is was revealed that Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband routinely use government aircraft to fly from Ottawa to their summer cottage on Georgian Bay rather than make the seven-hour drive. From there, an RCMP driver picks them up and takes them to their private island.
RCMP say that the travel arrangements are necessary due to security concerns. They can’t fulfill their mandate to protect Canada’s Head of State by travelling otherwise.

Opposition parties say it's another example of wasted taxpayers' money and that she ought to make the drive or take regular commercial flights.
Randy Mylyk, press secretary to Clarkson, told the National Post that Clarkson used the plane for only one trip a year to the summer property. But Jerry Holland, the Parry Sound airport manager, says Clarkson heads to the cottage between four and six times per summer.

In wake of this new travel expense disclosure, Prime Minister Paul Martin said that all areas of government will be subjected to careful line by line scrutiny including the Governor General.

Friday, officials told a House of Commons committee that the Governor General total expenses last year hit nearly $41 million. That includes Clarkson's own budgetary spending, along with spending from other departments. Clarkson's budget has jumped to $19 million from about $11 million when she took office in October 1999.

Clarkson's five-year term will come to an end next fall.


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