Define 'appropriate'

Amid more questions about Bev Oda’s trip to the land of expensive orange juice, Peter Van Loan stressed to the House that Ms. Oda had paid all “inappropriate” expenses.

Noting this, the New Democrats and Liberals duly went after Mr. Van Loan’s understanding of appropriateness.

Sean Casey: Mr. Speaker, earlier today in question period we heard the government House leader claim that the Minister of International Cooperation had repaid all inappropriate expenses. I have a simple question. Could the House leader tell us if he believes that wasting $1,000 a day on a chauffeur driven limo, when a free shuttle was available, is an appropriate expense, yes or no?

Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I have been clear and the minister has answered on this and has apologized. Inappropriate expenses were paid. As I have said, our approach is always to respect taxpayers’ dollars, ensure that travel is undertaken at a reasonable cost. A reasonable cost to us is one that is significantly lower than that under the Liberals, and that is what we have been doing.

Charlie Angus: Mr. Speaker, we need to put this question to the Minister of International Cooperation. I asked her a straightforward question. Will she pay back $3,000 in frivolous limousine expenses? She refused to answer. I am giving her a second chance because I was disturbed by the House leader who said that she is only on the hook for appropriate costs. Will the minister pay that money back, or does the Prime Minister believe that her luxury lifestyle overseas is perfectly appropriate for Canadian taxpayers to foot the bill? Will she pay, yes or no?

Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I think I have answered this numerous times. The minister has repaid the inappropriate costs. I think that is what the public would expect, that is what the opposition would expect and I do not think she would be asked to repay costs that were appropriate…

Bob Rae: The issue is not complicated, Mr. Speaker. I will ask the Prime Minister to respond to it. The apology from the Minister of International Cooperation and her payback came only eight months after it was discovered and made public. I would like to ask the Prime Minister; he is responsible for these standards, is $1,000 a day for a limousine for a minister in London, when such a cost was clearly not necessary or required for the job, appropriate or is it not appropriate? Why will the Prime Minister of Canada answer that simple question?

Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already answered this question, as has the minister, as have I, and that is that the minister has repaid all inappropriate funds.

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