By Stephanie Taylor in Ottawa
Canadian taxpayers spent at least $1 million hosting King Charles III, who was the Prince of Wales at the time, when he visited Canada earlier this year.
The RCMP provided a breakdown of the nearly $450,000 in costs it incurred for his three-day visit in May, accompanied by Queen Consort Camilla, who was then the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Mounties spent about $235,000 on travel and about $212,000 on overtime pay, but didn’t say for how many officers.
There may be additional costs to process, the RCMP said, adding that those totals do not include regular salary costs, benefit plans or supporting units.
Policing costs for the most recent royal visit were far lower than what RCMP spent in 2016 when Prince William and his wife Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, toured Canada.
Their eight-day visit in British Columbia and Yukon had cost the Mounties almost $2 million.
So far, the biggest bill from the King and Queen Consort’s trip this year was related to travel. The Department of National Defence reported spending about $568,000 to transport the royal couple using military aircraft.
“This includes the costs of flying the Airbus Polaris and associated support services to transport members of the Royal Family, along with personnel for the royal tour as identified by Canadian Heritage,” a spokesperson said.
But the $1-million price tag for policing and travel only represents part of the overall cost of the visit.
The department of Canadian Heritage was in charge of hosting the royals during their travels to Newfoundland, Ottawa and the Northwest Territories. It picked up the tab for thousands in hospitality costs as they celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September.
For example, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez approved nearly $18,700 worth of food and drink expenses for department officials and members of the former prince’s staff who journeyed to Canada for the visit, according to a briefing document he signed that was released to The Canadian Press under access-to-information law.
That included $8,400 for a 200-person reception at Rideau Hall hosted by Governor General Mary Simon, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended with the royal pair.
“It is customary for hospitality costs, including those for Clarence House staff, to be assumed by the host country,” the document read, referring to the King’s London residence.
The document, dated in April, said the British delegation was anticipated to range from 20 to 30 staff and that during the tour, temporary offices would be set up for them in Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier hotel.
A separate cost breakdown, which was also released to The Canadian Press under federal access law, shows the department spent at least $17,000 on music and other ceremonial events during the visit.
For a welcoming ceremony in Newfoundland, $3,000 was paid to have Deantha Edmunds-Ramsay, the country’s first Inuk opera singer, to perform for the royal couple. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples had been cited as a major focus of the trip.
The department spent another $3,500 for music by the Ennis Sisters, a Celtic-inspired trio from the province, plus $1,250 for group The Celtic Fiddlers.
A spokeswoman for Canadian Heritage said the final total for hospitality costs won’t be ready until the end of the current fiscal year in March 2023.
Canadians also footed the bill to have dignitaries including Trudeau and former prime ministers Stephen Harper, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin travel to the United Kingdom for the Queen’s state funeral in September — as well as the ceremonial events staged in Ottawa that were attended by members of Parliament and other officials.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2022.
Banner image via The Canadian Press