Minister who wants carbon footprint reduced flew on empty plane

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“Do as I say, not as I do” could be applied to recent actions by Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier.

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Lebouthillier had an empty five-seat Transport Canada plane fly 2,200 kilometres, round trip, from Ottawa to her Gaspé home last summer so she could attend an hour-long news conference in her riding of Îles de la Madeleine, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

The minister has previously said all Canadians must reduce their carbon footprint due to climate change.

But flight logs show after making inquires on June 29, Lebouthillier had Transport Canada fly her to the Îles de la Madeleine Airport for a July 2 announcement on the purchase of a ferry with service to P.E.I.

“I’m sorry,” wrote one transport department manager in an Access to Information Act e-mail. “This is getting weird again.”

“Would we have an approximate sense of cost for the flights?” asked another.

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No expense was revealed.

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Air Canada had suspended scheduled flights to Îles de la Madeleine to cut costs during the pandemic on June 30.

“It is shameful the way Air Canada behaved with people in the regions,” Lebouthillier told La Presse at the time.

The minister’s office didn’t comment on the flight or explain why she couldn’t have made the announcement by video conference.

Lebouthillier has repeatedly said action was needed on climate change.

“Extreme weather is becoming more severe, frequent, damaging and expensive because of climate change,” Lebouthillier said on Aug. 26, 2019.

And on Nov. 6, she said all Canadians must “reduce their carbon footprint.”

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