Everyman - Macleans.ca



Jim Flaherty is your average Canadian suburbanite. Sure, sometimes he lets his hairdresser put too much gel in his hair, but when it comes right down to it, he’s just a guy. A Canadian. Like you. Like me.

Indeed, so committed is Mr. Flaherty to staying true to who he is and who he serves that, when necessary, he’ll commandeer a government plane and fly three hours, at a cost of something like $3,600, to a coffee shop in London, Ontario so he can meet with his fellow man while television cameras record the moment for posterity.



  1. "At a time when I have so many seniors worrying about getting their bus pass, Jim Flaherty could have gone to a Tim Horton's five minutes from Parliament Hill to do his photo-op."

    This was my first thought too. Alternately, he could have flown AC. Not as if they don't have a plethora of flights departing Ottawa going to other Tim Horton's-bearing cities.

    • The price for AC would have been higher!

  2. Strange, but I always thought Flaherty wore a piece. But apparently not. I mean, who would put gel and fluff up a hairpiece, right?

    • someone delusional?

  3. He can't fly commercial. The seats are too big.

    • Comment of the day

      • I second.

        • Flattery will get you nowhere,

          Flaherty and a little plane, on the other hand, will get you at least as far as London.

  4. But I'll bet he paid for his own coffee, so instead of the event costing $3600, it would have cost that much minus the cost of his coffee.

    Unless, of course, he expensed the coffee, which we won't know until his proactive disclosure paperwork gets posted

    • You are assuming he would even bother ordering a coffee.

      • It may have been a comp – you know, perq'ed.

  5. I'm sure he cleared it with Stockwell Day first…

  6. Killer irony.

  7. Very petty Aaron.

    • Who's petty?

      A Minister of Finance who will tell us all we have to tighten our belts, expect austere measures, then flies out of town for thousands of taxpayer dollars for a single (attempted) "man of the people" photo-op when he could have done that down the block for $0 in travel costs?

      Or the journalist who points the gross hypocrisy, vanity and costly image manipulation?

      • I'd say the journalist who points out this kind of tripe and leads everyone to believe that Flaherty flew to London just for the photo op at Tims and then flew back, but fails to point out Flaherty's speech to the London Chamber of Commerce the same day, is…well I guess you're right, petty is not the right word. The right word is something worse.

        • Glad to hear JOhn-g is all in favour of government waste. No doubt he shares the govt's feelings on accountability, too.

          • No doubt I do. At this point when you see deliberately misleading stories like the CTV story, and to a lesser extent this blog post, I'd like to see some accountability in our media. The role they play is too important to be as unaccountable as they are.

  8. That's the cost of a friggin' commercial flight in economy class when you purchase last-minute!

    Another Wherry-esque hit-piece.

    • actually a last minute fare from Ottawa to London via Air Canada is, at its most expensive in Executive Class, just over $1000.

      And why would it have to be last minute anyway; don't they know their schedules ahead of time?

      • It's just over $1000 in each direction you fool. Tack on the extra fees like the security fee and it's nearly 3000! Are you serious?

        It's last minute because he's the friggin' minister of finance and there are times he will need to change his schedule!

        • If he were truly a man of the people, he'd fly economy like the rest of us.

          • How do you know he doesn't fly economy like the rest of us when he flies home to London on a regular basis?

          • Well, first off, it was a flip comment, try not to take it personally.

            And, second, "And do you seriously expect the minister of finance to be flying economy for business? He would miss half his appointments!" makes no sense. If he's the minister of finance, he'd be whisked off the plane by his protective detail and ushered to a back-room at the airport, no matter where he sat on the plane.

          • Since when is London "home" for Jim Flaherty?

        • Not a good use of taxpayer money s_c_f.

          • Frankly, with a 50 billion dollar deficit, I'm willing to overlook $3000, or 0.000006% of the current deficit. To me that is a reasonable amount of money to be spending for such an event.

          • If the $3000 were being spent on something important for the country, sure. But a photo-op? I know it's small potatoes, but the attitude bothers me. When spending someone else's money I expect respectful restraint.

          • What if he also had a speaking engagement the same day? At say, the London Chamber of Commerce? And thus needed to be in London anyways?

            And what if the journalists trying to create controversy didn't tell you that part when cooking this little story up?

          • "needed?" to be in London? Really? if he was there anyway and doesn't have any pressing business after cooling his heels after 2 months of proroguing it could be worthwhile use of his time. Dropping everything to spend several grand to fly out there? it don't "fly" with me.

          • John gave you a link and you're too lazy to click.

          • Wrong.


          • That would certainly be disappointing on the part of said journalist, albeit not (perhaps) entirely out of character. It would not, however, justify leaving the travel arrangements to the last minute and thus wasting the taxpayers' money.

          • Flaherty's riding is in the London area.

          • You mean that "is" disappointing, since John's link clearly indicates he needed to be in the London area on Monday.

          • Yes, that is what I mean, in typical Gaunilon pointy-head-speak.

          • I see, you're using the indirect passive way of something something… I tend to be more blunt.
            In these PC times I notice more and more people using that form of speech. The term "would" is very passive… for instance when making a phone call some people say. "would x be there?" rather than "may I speak to x?" or "is x there?"

          • More like the old British Oxbridge style of speech…I should think. It would seem that the style has spread to debating circles well beyond its geographical sphere.

          • I repeat – NEEDED? Several grand of our money to give a speech, and the only other thing is a photo op?

        • And he needed to make that flight, right? Isn't that the point? You're the one doing the superfluous comparisan not AW. Where are you consevative small gov't principles right now?

          • Yes he did, he had a speaking engagement on Monday, so he used the opportunity to make a photo op as well.

            You people are nuts.


            As for my small government principles, I'm perfectly aware that ministers are frequent fliers!

        • ummm….if you look closer, you'll see that actually the direct flights don't offer Executive class. I would think it would be smarter for our intrepid Finance Minister to get there as quickly as possible, no? So round trip, it costs AT MOST $1250, at cheapest it's $366. Unless you are suggesting that flying first class is so important for Mr. Flaherty, that it necessitates a stop-over in Toronto which will double the travel time. Is this what you are suggesting?

          See there's this thing called "logic", they teach it to you in school. It's an interesting principle – you have to use your brain though…so you might be ill-equipped for the endeavour.

    • So spending all that taxpayer money – whatever the exact amount – for a photo-op to sell his claim of an "austere" budget doesn't bother you? This from the government that incorrectly shouted its outrage at a Liberal expensing a pack of gum?

      Another example of "Our principles do not apply to us".

      • Since when is $3000 a lot of money? That's how much it costs to hire a photographer for a day. The plane flight has not even the largest expense.

        When a Liberal expenses a pack of gum, it's not the amount is the problem, it's the mentality that even a pack of gum should be expensed. It probably costs $100 in peoples' salaries to fill out the forms and expense the gum.

        • So when the Liberals cost the government $1 because they inadvertently included a pack of gum on a receipt that included many other valid travel expenses on a justifiable trip doing genuine government business, it isn't about the money it's the principle. (For the sake of argument, let's forget for a second that in fact the Liberals actually paid for the gum (they never asked for the reimbursement) and not the taxpayer despite the claims.)

          But when the Conservatives spend many thousand times more on a useless travel that did not involve any government business and was incurred just for a silly photo op about a budget all about "austerity", in that case it is about the money and not the principle.

          Like I said, Conservatives: Our principles do not apply to us.

    • You really think this was a last-minute trip? For a photo-op?

      • If you bothered to read the story you'd see this does not happen often. Obviously he had a last minute change of schedule, you fool. It would cost them more money to cancel and reschedule the photo-op than it would to spend $3000 on the flight.

        • Thanks for my con-bot laugh of the day.
          Its been a while since I've been to Tim Hortons but boy have the cost of donuts gone up. $3,000 loss of deposit on a snack pack!

        • Wasting money for a photo op under this government does happen often. Right after trotting out a budget on fiscal responsibility* (YMMV)… Add the environmental angle and you've got a gov't that knows no shame.
          And their numbers have been proven to have a lack of being true, so even the cost of the plane (which is by the hour and does not include pilots) shouldn't be taken at face value. Unless you're into swallowing more than koolaid, sfc…

  9. The real question is how he actually got access to this plane.

    • Dude, I thought you were omniscient despite our free will. Why don't you tell us?

      • God knows it has something to do with Helena Guergis.

  10. …and here I am going to Tim's via helicopter like some kinda chump.

    • +10 up-thumbs.

  11. I believe he also spoke to a chamber of commerce meeting in London the next day.

    Course why they'd get a personal briefing from the FinMin right after the budget, I don't know.

    • Why anyone would try to claim this couldn't have been pre-scheduled or that it all needed to be last minute (thereby justifying the elite transportation choice), I don't know.

  12. ok i didn't read the story either…frankly i can't be bothered anymore.

    • Shades of NDP

  13. And how would you get away if they were after your Lucky Charms?

  14. If Flaherty won something with his roll up the rim, does it belong to the taxpayer?

    • I think you've stumbled upon the deficit reduction plan.

      • lol

        What's Ignatieff's plan…buy two cups?

        • To extend EI benefits to the just visiting.

  15. Jeez, if it takes three man-hours to fill out a basic expense sheet, then we've got bigger problems than who's expensing what in the government of Canada.

  16. I used to charter planes on occasion in the private sector. The economics of my paricular destination were quite simple – break even was about 5 people flying. If you had 5 or more, you charter. Less than 5 – fly commercial.

    I'd also be cautious about comparing hourly rates for gov't owned planes. They could include a lot of allocated overhead (fixed costs).

  17. What I don't get is why he wouldn't take high-speed rail !?

    • Cuz he's not a time lord. Mind you if he was he could have taken the tardis…this is all very confusing…why didn't he simply apparate?

      • Only Headmaster Harper can do that from the Hill.

    • I see what you did there.

  18. Why should we even compare commerical airplanes for the cost of going for a donut and saying a few words to some businesspeople?

    A good planner, like somebody capable of making a multi-million dollar budget, could have found a way to take the train.

  19. Can someone explain why his flight wasn't paid for by The London Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business? I thought private business was opposed to government wasteful spending.

  20. Shouldn't they be saving Challenger hours for Helena Guergis?

  21. So, if Flaherty already had a speaking engagement in London on the same day, and said engagement was known publicly and advertised a week ago, why the need to commandeer a government plane at the last minute?

    I get that a Minister's schedule is want to change at the last minute. However, as this particular "last minute" change to the schedule would appear to be of the "let's see if we can get him to London in time for some pics at a Tim Horton's before his big speech" variety, I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be understanding. I'm sympathetic to the last minute scheduling needs of Cabinet Ministers. That sympathy does not extend to me giving them a pass for tacking partisan photo-ops on to their business at the last minute, and re-arranging their schedules accordingly.

    Given that the speech to the Chamber of Commerce has been scheduled for a while, what was the Minister's original travel schedule? How was he originally supposed to get there?

  22. How much did it cost the Cdn taxpayer for the 2 weeks of Play House, the Lib round table talks, when Parliament was Prorogued?

    We had to pay for the flights of Lib and Dipper caucus' so they could assemble infront of open doors, claiming Harper locked them out!

  23. I'm sure scf and the other trolls don't actually approve of this expense, but they have to save face and pretend they do.

  24. "Hi everyone, I'm Jim Flarherty. It's great to be here amongst you all, the business owners who keep our economy moving. I was running a bit late, but this speech is so important I dropped everything and spend several extra thousand of your money to make it on time. Now about this new budget, we're all gonna have to find ways of spending a little less…"

  25. This, according to David Akin's blog is what he did in London. You make it sound that he flew soley for a photo op.

    The big event of the day for Flaherty is a lunchtime speech at the London (Ont.) Chamber of Commerce. His speech there begins at about 12:20 pm local time.

    On the way there early this morning, he did a radio interview with 680 News from his car. That was followed with another radio interview with CJAD. He then arrived at a Tim Horton's in London and, from that location, did some television appearances on CTV's Canada AM, the Business News Network, A Channel and CBC News Network.

    Still at Tim's, he did more radio interviews with CFRB and CBC Toronto's Metro Morning. Then, on the way to his hotel, he did another radio interview, withToronto station AM 640. At the hotel he did CHML in Hamilton, The House for CBC, John Gormley's radio show in Saskatchewan, local Oshawa CHEX TV, CJOB from Winnipeg, Maritime Morning from Halifax, The Dave Rutherford Show from Calgary and Bill Good's Radio Show from Vancouver

    You lack integrety, Wherry.

    • The fact that so many radio spots were done in Toronto tells me they could have been done anywhere. why not take the train both ways, do just the Timmy's and the Speech, and do the radio stuff back in Ottawa? Save the taxpayers $2,500. Maybe not a lot, but if it happens 100 times it saves 250,000. 1000 times in a year, hey! that almost equals the horrific unnecessary wasteful spending on…the gun registry!

      I will concede that the speech should have been mentioned, and perhaps other MPs of all parties sometimes spend similar amounts on similar trips. But's let's criticize rather than condone.

    • Radio interviews huh? Wanna explain why it was impossible to do those from Ottawa? And why is it that he had to book a government plane at the last moment when the speech was planned for at least half a week prior?