Driving the 400 km from Regina to North Battleford by car would have taken about four hours.
Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer makes no apologies for spending nearly $8,000 on a flight from Regina to North Battleford in March.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Ms Harpauer explained that she chose to fly rather than drive due to her fatigue. She points out that budget week is her busiest time of the year.
For the people of Saskatchewan, I will be working very long hours. I'll live away from home to work for the firm, but what I won't do is drive when I'm exhausted, she says.
When Asked why she had not opted for a driver, Mrs. Harpauer explained that the latter would then have had to spend the weekend in Humboldt where she was to go afterwards.
She claims that she had duties to perform as part of her function as an MP representing the Humboldt-Watrous constituency, but she cannot explain what those were.
She recalls that the flights are used only for trips that may cause scheduling conflicts with her other commitments.
The Minister of Finance maintains that it is not she who chooses the price of plane tickets. She points out, however, that even if she had known the price, she would still have made the trip by plane.
I think it is extremely important that communities have the opportunity to ask their minister how the budget will affect them.
During the same period surrounding the tabling of the provincial budget, Donna Harpauer also flew from Regina to Prince Albert and back. She claims, however, that another minister was with her and so the prize was split between them.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation Vice President of Communications Todd MacKay says Donna Harpauer's expenses are unreasonable.
There is never a good time for a politician to shell out $7,000 for a trip that should only cost a few hundred dollars, says Todd MacKay.
There's never a good time for it, but some times are worse than others, he continues.
Todd MacKay therefore believes that Donna Harpauer should apologize to the taxpayers of Saskatchewan.
“That's not fair. Taxpayers should not have to pay this bill.
— Todd MacKay, Vice-President of Communications, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
For its part, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labor believes the spending is an insult to workers struggling to pay their bills.
The finance minister should reimburse the cost of the flight and apologize to workers for being so arrogant and out of touch, Saskatchewan Federation of Labor president Lori Johb said in a statement. /p>
Saskatchewan Liberal Party Leader Jeff Walters is calling for the resignation of Finance Minister Donna Harpauer over her private plane travel expenses to North Battleford.
At a time of stagnating wages and skyrocketing costs of living, this is an indefensible example of wasting taxpayer dollars, says Jeff Walters.
Our health care and education systems are stretched to breaking point, and yet our finance minister would rather spend $8,000 on a trip she could have easily done by car, or even could have attended the meeting by Zoom, he continues.
For its part, the New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan believes that the provincial government is out of touch with Saskatchewan reality.
According to NDP MP Meara Conway, the Saskatchewan Party is living lavishly while people are fighting inflation. She reiterated the opposition's request to offer financial assistance to residents.
With information from Laura Sciarpelletti and Sasha Teman