Cost of Canadian Delegation to UN Climate Summit Doubles to $3 Million

Cost of Canadian Delegation to UN Climate Summit Doubles to $3 Million
A man walks past a COP28 sign at the venue of the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Nov. 30, 2023. (Jewel Sawad/AFP via Getty Images)
Matthew Horwood

The Liberal government spent nearly $3 million for delegates to attend the annual COP28 in 2023, more than double the amount previously reported, according to new figures.

The costs were detailed in the government’s May 6 response to an Inquiry of Ministry filed by Conservative MP Dan Mazier. It said for the 182 Canadian delegates that attended the event, the federal government spent $825,000 on transportation, $472,000 on accommodations, $295,000 on meals and “incidentals,” and $37,000 on hospitality.

Additionally, $1.3 million was spent on the Canadian pavilion, in which 60 events showcased Canadian innovations in several green energy sectors and international support for developing countries. The expenses totalled $2,954,188.

“The figures do not reflect final costs. There are still invoices and claims that have yet to be processed,” the order paper notes.

A previous government order paper in response to questions submitted by Conservative MP Andrew Scheer showed that $1,353,307 had been spent on COP28.

COP28 drew delegates from nearly 200 countries to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to discuss global climate change action. The countries agreed at the conference to transition away from oil, gas, and coal by 2050, surpassing previous commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

According to the order paper, Canadian government costs for 21 different hotels included $200,000 for 40 rooms at Delta Hotels by Marriot Dubai, $195,000 for 55 rooms at Premier Inn Hotels LLC, and $83,000 for 10 rooms at the Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

The order paper also detailed gifts related to the conference, including a $75 metal decorative tree gifted to Japanese politician Akihiro Nishimura, a $130 wooden bowl given to United Arab Emirates Special Envoy for Climate Change Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, and a $35 bottle of wine purchased by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault for Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu.

Costs for Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault totalled $13,239, with $4,461 spent on accommodation for 12 nights at the Investment Park Delta Hotel and $2,262 on meals and incidentals.

Other Trips

The previous government order paper showed that the reported $1,353,307 COP28 expenditure included $658,611 for transportation, $449,597 for hotels, $241,106 for meals and incidentals, and $3,992 for hospitality.

That order paper included a list of Canadian pavilion members, but did not disclose the associated costs, nor how many people in the COP28 delegation Ottawa paid for. Since not all invoices and claims had been processed, the order paper also noted that the numbers were not final.

In 2022, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon came under fire for her week-long trip to Dubai in March, which cost more $1,307,731 according to documents. The trip’s expenses included $93,117 for food and accommodations.

Ms. Simon also spent $298,000 for a trip to Iceland in October 2022, $800,000 for a four-day trip to Germany in 2021, and over $90,000 for a five-day tour of her hometown in Quebec.