The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is taking legal action with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) to force the federal government to reveal who stayed in a $6,000 per night hotel room in England for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. A request for the documents was filed, but the government redacted the name of the guest. According to CTF, the government cited “security concerns” and a clause in the Access to Information Act that prohibits the release of personal information.
Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF, believes that the situation “doesn’t pass the sniff test.” He said, “As a matter of principle, the government owes taxpayers transparency. Taxpayers paid the bills, and we deserve to know who wasted our money staying in the $6,000-per-night hotel room.” Terrazzano added that “If someone works for taxpayers and spends taxpayers’ money, they’re legally responsible to be accountable and transparent about it. The law is clear that expenses like this aren’t personal information.”
The luxury suite at the five-star Corinthia Hotel offered butler service, a powder room, a bathtub with a built-in TV and separate rain shower, a marble bathroom with under-floor heating, and views of the River Thames. Documents from Global Affairs indicate that the room cost $4,800 pounds per night, which is between $6,000 to $7,000 depending on the exchange rate.
Rideau Hall stated that Governor General Mary Simon was not the one who stayed in the River Suite. The official delegation to the State Funeral of the Queen included Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Simon and her spouse Whit Fraser, former Governors General Michaëlle Jean and David Johnston, as well as former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper. Three First Nations Chiefs and other government officials attended, as did members of the RCMP.
The Toronto Sun reported that close to $400,000 was expensed for hotel costs during the trip to attend the state funeral. Terrazzano believes that Trudeau needs to “come clean and tell taxpayers who stayed in the River Suite. You don’t get to be prime minister and hide how you spend our tax dollars.” The OIC is responsible for investigating complaints and resolving disputes related to the federal access-to-information system. The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment by press time.