Harper's Middle East tour costs taxpayers $2.1 million

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen share a laugh at the newly christened Stephen J....

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen share a laugh at the newly christened Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary in northern Israel. The naming honour was one of several accorded the prime minister during his four days in Israel. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's tour of Israel and other Middle East countries in January cost taxpayers more than $2.1 million, documents obtained by QMI Agency reveal.

The Jan 18-25 trip -- in which Harper and a delegation of 200 people made stops in Israel, Jordan and The West Bank -- cost the government $2,117,432 in total, according to documents obtained via access to information.

Foreign Affairs spent $1,174,228, including $607,920 for accommodations, $463,845 for transportation, $6,342 for gifts, $5,482 for translation services and $5,300 for water and refreshments.

National Defence spent $411,367, including $266,946 to fly the delegation on a government CC-150 and $144,421 for catering and maintenance aboard the flight.

RCMP security cost $531,837.

Carl Vallee, a spokesman for Harper, defended the costs.

"The size of the delegation reflects the importance of the trip," he said, noting it included members of the business sector and religious communities.

"Typically, when people are invited to be part of the prime minister's delegation, the government of Canada pays for it."

 


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