An Ontario Tory MP who billed taxpayers to go to the UN spent a good chunk of the trip taking part in the New York City Marathon.
In an expenses report posted to his website, Barrie, Ont., MP Patrick Brown said he spent $1,416.06 to "meet with United Nations officials in New York City" Nov. 2-4.
Brown also ran in the marathon Nov. 3, finishing 6,641st with a time of three hours, 36 minutes and 53 minutes.
"It was a difficult course (windy and cold). Certainly not a day for a personal best," he tweeted.
@kevm68 thanks Kevin. It was a difficult course (windy & cold). Certainly not a day for a personal best. I loved the vibe of the City & Run— Patrick Brown (@brownbarrie) November 3, 2013
Spent my post marathon Monday morning visiting UN. It was interesting to observe human rights, legal & economic sessions. Now back to Ottawa— Patrick Brown (@brownbarrie) November 4, 2013
On Tuesday, Brown defended his actions, saying he'd planned "for a long time" to do a UN visit -- even before he'd decided to run in the marathon.
“MPs are permitted to do up to two UN visits per year on areas of their interest. In my eight years as an MP, I have only gone once," he said.
Brown said he has been involved and interested in the role of human rights at the UN for a long time.
“I am particularly interested in the role they can play with regards to the Tamil situation in Sri Lanka,” he said. “I have been very involved in the issue since I met the Sureshkumar family in 2009 and they told me their story as Tamil Canadians living in Barrie.”
Brown would have needed to register several months in advance for the NYC Marathon. He promoted on Twitter that he was running to raise money for juvenile diabetes research.
Brown was unavailable for comment to QMI on Monday, but a spokeswoman from his constituency office said his visit to the UN "fortunately coincided" with the marathon.
“No expenses were charged for accommodation related to the marathon," Heather McCarthy said. "Patrick charged for one night associated with the visit and briefings at the UN."
Brown declared airfare expenses of $794.99, $392.98 for accommodation and $228.09 for other transportation for his trip to New York City.
“This information comes from my voluntary disclosure of all my expenses, something the official opposition doesn't partake in," he said.