N.S. premier criticized for first-class flight to China
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 7:06PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2012 7:08PM AST
There was some political turbulence at the Nova Scotia legislature Tuesday over some flying done by the premier.
At issue was Premier Darrell Dexter’s plane ticket when he flew to China for a trade mission in September. Dexter travelled in executive class which cost taxpayers $7,100.
"When the premier was asked why he flew in executive class, he was asked and said, 'It's simply the ability to get sleep, and this is the major difference you get in that service,'" says Liberal MLA Andrew Younger.
Younger says Dexter’s answer simply didn’t wash with the premier’s own work schedule.
"He was scheduled to take the next day off when he got back from China so he could sleep," says Younger.
According to the premier’s office, when Dexter landed in Nova Scotia early on Friday, Sept. 20, he then worked through the weekend on a deal to save the former NewPage paper mill.
Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil believes that is a secondary issue.
"The premier should be flying economy-class like every other Nova Scotian," he says.
That point is not lost on some residents.
"My reaction is the money could be used better," says one resident.
"I know he's an important person, going to China for important reasons, but does he need to go first-class?" asks another.
In response, Dexter put McNeil on the spot for his own spending habits.
"Maybe he'll file his expenses, since he hasn't filed since the day he became leader of the Opposition," says Dexter.
He claims McNeil has spent more than $156,000 in unaccounted expenses.
However, McNeil disputes that claim. He says he has done nothing wrong and has the paperwork to prove it.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth