According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Liberal government tapped into a $1.75 million cultural fund to fly chefs around the world in business class seats to cook for VIP events and foreign diplomats.
The money came from the little-known Mission Cultural Fund which was implemented in 2016. In the senate, Global Affairs official Stuart Savage described the fund as “available to all missions to leverage Canadian cultural initiatives to promote our artists abroad while advancing foreign policy priorities” and that it promotes Canada as a “progressive nation”.
Chefs were flown all around the world using the fund, including to Singapore and Jerusalem, among several other destinations. In one case, taxpayers dished out $15,000 to fly a chef to the Dominican Republic, and another $4,463 to fly a chef to a Miami party.
One caterer, Quentin Glabus, charged $300 in fees in addition to expenses, and was flown to numerous locations including India, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, and Laos. One single trip cost Canadians $13,535 to get Glabus to Manila for an appearance on the Filipino TV show Curiosity Got The Chef, while another $12,684 flew Glabus to Singapore to cater for journalists.
Several other chefs were also paid through the fund, including David Jorge who was flown to Lisbon for $1,191, Rosalyn Ediger who went to Davos for $5,820, and Ilona Daniel whose costs were not revealed.
Curiously the trip of celebrity chef Vikram Vij to prepare Indian cuisine at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi during Trudeau’s disastrous India trip was excluded from the fund’s expense list. Vij, who is a Liberal supporter, had all of his expenses including transportation, accommodation, and incidentals covered by Canadians to the tune of $17,044.
At the time of the trip, Foreign Affairs critic and Conservative MP Erin O’Toole criticized the Liberals for the expense.
“I’m quite sure if you went to India, you’d be able to find some very good cooks. The celebrity Indo-Canadian chef was for domestic political purposes so that they could entertain their own MPs (and) certain stakeholders that they were taking on the trip,” said O’Toole.