OTTAWA – Government documents show that Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu approved a $1.1-million price tag for offices for her and her staff earlier this year, even though she was told the cost might raise eyebrows.
The documents obtained through an access-to-information request that show Hajdu wanted her new office to be in the same building as the rest of the organization in Gatineau, Que., and that senior management fast-tracked the renovation project before they knew how they would pay for it.
The problem was that before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a full-time minister for the status of women, there had been no need for an office of that size in the building.
A spokeswoman at the agency says it was important for bureaucrats to be able to work closely with the minister and her staff.
The documents also show Hajdu was told the pricier option would likely come under greater public scrutiny, with officials stressing the need to keep the minister in the loop about the costs because she would have to defend it against critics.