Canadian delegation spent $410K to attend pope's inaugural mass

Crowds fill Saint Peter's Square for the inaugural mass of Pope Francis at the Vatican in this...

Crowds fill Saint Peter's Square for the inaugural mass of Pope Francis at the Vatican in this March 19, 2013 file picture. (POPE/PROFILE REUTERS/Tony Gentile/Files)

Dominique La Haye, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 AM ET

OTTAWA -- A 44-member Canadian delegation to the inaugural mass by Pope Francis cost taxpayers more than $410,000.

QMI Agency compiled the expenses from documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, as well as Public Accounts of Canada data.

The delegation to Rome included several Conservative, New Democrat and Liberal MPs as well as members of several Catholic organizations.

They travelled to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican to attend the mass as part of a four-day trip from March 17 to 20, 2013.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston organized the trip at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request.

Taxpayers doled out $193,791 for an Ottawa-Rome round trip aboard a National Defence Airbus CC-150 Polaris, data shows. It costs taxpayers $9,998 per hour to fly the aircraft. The prime minister has requested the governor general travel exclusively on government planes for "security reasons."


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