International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda is apologizing publicly for charging the taxpayers for a pricey hotel upgrade in London. Oda attended a London conference on international immunizations last June and refused to stay at the five-star hotel where the meetings took place. Instead, she booked into the posh Savoy hotel at more than double the cost. Oda repaid the difference between the two hotels, as well as a cancellation fee at the first establishment. The opposition wants to know why she hadn’t offered to repay the costs of a car and driver that cost the taxpayer an average of nearly $1,000 per day.

Bev Oda may be in hot water for her champagne tastes, but by no means is she the highest-spending member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.

That distinction goes to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who has racked up the biggest travel and hospitality tab of any of his Conservative colleagues in recent years.

Since March 2010, his expenses for trade missions to places such as Italy, Turkey, Indonesia and Japan have totalled $271,489.

Here are the top MP expenses for 2010, as well as the top hospitality spenders and travel spenders.
 
Top Spenders 3. Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh – $584,966.37
 
Top Spenders 2. Conservative MP Richard Harris – $585,074.90
 
Top Spenders 1. Conservative MP Steven Fletcher – $803,108.54
Manitoba Conservative MP Steven Fletcher spent the most money, $803,109 in 2010 — but as quadriplegic MP much of his budget, $493,462, went to pay for specialized staff. Fletcher has since taken a temporary medical leave from Parliament.
 
Top Hospitality Spenders 3. Conservative MP Paul Calandra $9,481.32
 
Top Hospitality Spenders 2. Conservative MP Lisa Raitt $9,621.33
 
Top Hospitality Spenders 1. Conservative MP Richard Harris – $9,760.51
 
Top Travellers 3. Conservative MP Jim Abbott – $200,090.55
 
Top Travellers 2. Conservative MP LaVar Payne – $211,588.48
 
Top Travellers 1. Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh – $213,740.40
 
 
 

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