$ 150,000 per day for a visit

News 18 March, 2018
  • Photo AFP
    We will not know before the end of march how much will cost the visit of king Philippe and queen Mathilde of Belgium, pictured here in the process of taste is coming to Ottawa last Monday.

    Christopher Nardi

    Sunday, 18 march, 2018 01:00

    Sunday, 18 march, 2018 01:00

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    OTTAWA | Limousines, identity cards, secure translators, and artists to make a calligraphy and painting a flag in the golden book of Canada. No detail or cost is spared when the country hosts a foreign dignitary.

    In some cases, a diplomatic visit of a day can cost up to $ 150,000 to Canadians to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

    “Everything is planned well in advance and nothing is left to chance. Every little minute of the visit, regardless of length, is planned and we must stick to it rigorously. Imagine what would happen if we said to the media to arrive to an event “between 10 h and 11 h” and the half the was missing “, lance laughed Frank Kim Cross, who has over 30 years of experience as organizer of official visits to Canada.

    How much could it cost to visit a few days of the belgian royal family in Ottawa this week ? The amount of the final invoice will not be known until several months, but experts say that it is possible to have a glimpse of it by looking at the cost of another visit almost royal, one of the ex-u.s. vice-president Joe Biden.

    The Newspaper obtained via access to information a comprehensive set of invoices paid by the federal government during the visit of a day of Mr. Biden on December 8, 2016.

    Day to $150,000

    In total, the whirlwind tour of the right arm of Barack Obama has cost nearly $ 150, 000 to world Affairs, Canada. This includes accommodation, transport, reception as well as administrative costs, said the ministry spokesperson, Jocelyn Sweet.

    Alone, the dinner of honor to which 350 people were invited to have cost nearly $ 70,000 from the Westin hotel, was the caterer. Of this amount, $ 15,000 for the costs of the service outside of the hotel and 4300 $ for the alcohol.

    For this dinner, even the centerpieces flowers had to be designed in a very precise way. “The look will be simple and elegant, avoid the trappings of Christmas and will be the reflection of the colours of the flags of our country “, one can read on the invoice of $1600.

    For the golden Book of Canada in which the visitors bear witness to their passage, the government hires a calligraphiste and an artist to decorate the page in the honor of the prestigious visitor.

    “The Book of gold is an integral part of canadian history. Many dignitaries will sign it, and then go back and see what other heads of State included in the previous pages. Therefore, it is important to give the respect that is due, ” says Mr. Cross.


    Even the preparation of the visit there are a lot of important expenses. Ottawa has received its charge of many employees of the u.s. government and the cabinet of Mr. Biden in a week of his stay to complete the planning of its passage.

    Canada has paid more than 1400 $ to rent a limousine for a day, and another amount of $ 1500 for a buffet offered to the 43 people involved in the preparation of the event.

    “Canada invests the necessary resources to accommodate all of the official visits, so as to follow the protocols established at the international level and the standards expected of a host country,” said Ms. Sweet.


    Some expenses, of Canada to host Joe Biden


    Joe Biden

    ► 170 $ to an artist specialized in calligraphy and 214,70 $ for a painter who has decorated the page of the golden Book of Canada, signed by the high dignitaries who come to the country. In this case, they painted the american flag and wrote the complete title of the vice-president Joe Biden.

    ► 14 238 $ for the services of a consultant who prepared the ground and then coordinated the work and access only the foreign media during the visit of the vp to The consultant has worked for almost ten days, including two days of the visit.

    ► 69 174 $ for the dinner in honour Joe Biden in which 350 people were invited, including the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

    ► 1620 $ for the flowers and centerpieces. “Flowers should be a combination of red roses and white with accents of thistle blue, eucalyptus, pittosporum, ruscus and leaves shallon “, one can read on the invoice.

    ► $ 19 for the Labatt 50, the favorite beer of prime minister Trudeau.

    ► 1122 $ for an ice wine in ontario, the Strewn Winery Vidal icewine, which accompanied the dessert.

    ► 2983 $ for id cards secure for employees of the canadian government and members of the team that voyagaient with the former american vice-president. The government states that these cards are reprogrammable and will be used again in the future.

    ► 4308,85 $ for the rental of 350 chairs “golden with cousins of color ivory” for dinner as well as the printing of tickets for the evening of honor.


    “It’s the cost of doing business”

    If certain expenses Ottawa to host foreign dignitaries may seem frivolous or excessive, many experts are sure that it should not count the dollars when trying to make a good impression with visitors of importance.

    “The organization of such a visit, it is a monumental effort. There is always a purpose behind these visits, either to improve the links between the two countries or to illustrate the quality of the relationship. Thus, we want to look good and impress guests. It’s the cost of doing business, ” says Ferry De Kerckhove, former canadian ambassador.

    Elsewhere, the canadian diplomats abroad are becoming valuable sources of information to appeal to a dignitary during a visit.

    “What is this foreign dignitary like? Some flowers, or some dishes, for example? The organisation of the visits depends a lot on what our diplomats are telling us about the tastes of our visitors, ” said a former high-placed government Harper attending the organisation of such visits. He requested anonymity because he did not have permission to talk about this to the media.

    In the case of the journey of Joe Biden, the canadian organisers have insisted that the centerpieces from the dinner of honor to have flowers in the colors of the american flag (see another text).

    According to Mr. De Kerckhove, the visits of american leaders are always exponentially more expensive, especially because of the large number of personal passenger and safety requirements “colossal”.


    However, Canada loses rarely changes at the organization, because our diplomats usually receive treatment with onions is similar to when they visit a foreign country.

    “Each country wants to impress the visitors of importance, and there are many written and unwritten rules of international protocol that also apply when Canadians go abroad. So finally, one receives as much as one spends,” Frank Cross, a consultant in the field of the trips protocol.

    For example, it is Ottawa that has paid nearly $ 2000 for the five hotel rooms used by the vice-president Biden and his staff during his trip in December 2016.

    “But when the prime minister or even a minister makes an official trip abroad, it is almost always the host that will cover the cost of accommodation. So it is give and take, ” adds Mr De Kerckhove.