John Baird on free vacation in London

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Freebie eight-day vacation too for his six pals


Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and six friends had an eight-day free vacation at the official residence of the Canadian High Commissioner in London.

That's what Bob Fife of the CTV news network tells us.

The luxurious 42 room residence with 12 bathrooms is where our governor-general David Johnston stays when he's on an official visit to London to see the Queen.

It has a huge staff of employees. The building is for sale at $500 million because Baird said his department has to cut costs. But before it is sold he and his friends used it for their free vacation villa.

The building was bought in 1960 from the U.S. government, which had used it as their embassy.

In Ottawa the Opposition parties are saying that if Baird had been on official government business in London, it would have been acceptable to stay in the building. But using it to for a vacation with a bunch of his buddies?

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar described Baird as a "freeloader" at taxpayers' expense.

"The way it works is if you're a buddy of the Conservative Party, it's all free for you," he said.

High-Commissioner Gordon Campbell said he invited Baird to use the apartment while he was away.

Baird is Campbell's boss. Campbell did not get to say ‘No' to his boss.

Aides in Baird's office say he paid his own taxis and his own drinks. Whoopee!


What about all the other expenses? How much did the orange juice cost? Less than Bev Oda's?

Did they get to use one of the High-Commission's limousines?

It wasn't Baird's first holiday at taxpayers' expense. In 2011 he vacationed at the residence of the Canadian Consul-General in at the New York City. No cost figures yet on that free stay.

Baird is in Israel right now on a four-day trip to the Middle East. It is an official diplomatic trip, not a holiday. He's probably found a nice diplomatic mission.

Baird is not planning any more free embassy vacations for the next little while.



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