21 August 2015

#19 Let Them Drink Orange Juice

Sixteen dollars is not a lot of money. When it becomes the symbol of spending excess because it is the price of a glass of orange juice in one of the more expensive hotels in London (no, not Ontario, England), it starts to look a little more significant.

Bev Oda, then Minister for International Development, was attending a donors' conference for a program to immunize children in poor countries. The five-star hotel booked for the conference couldn't provide her with a smoking room, so she got her staff to rebook her at the Savoy Hotel, about 2 kilometres distant. Cancellation fees, extra cost of room at the luxury hotel, limousine to travel back and forth to the hotel and the infamous $16 glass of orange juice.

The additional problem in this case was how long it took to own up to the facts and reimburse the unwarranted expenses. A journalist uncovered the expense claim through an access to information request and, after a time for public outrage and the calls of the opposition for her resignation, she paid back the excess costs.

There is nothing like doing the right thing when you have been caught and have no choice.

Further reading here

Who knew that child health
could lead a journalist to

a juicy story?

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