Prime Minister Scott Moe criticized the cost of taking former Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trip to India
Prime Minister Scott Moe is facing criticism after former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was revealed to have joined a recent Sask. trade mission to India.
The Prime Minister documented his trade mission on Twitter, with Harper appearing by his side in several photos over the course of the trip.
Harper joined the delegation as a private adviser. Members of the opposition put questions to the prime minister and government, asking who covered Harper’s fees.
“Why was it necessary to bring an expensive consultant to India from out of province and what did it cost Saskatchewan people to take Mr. Harper on that journey?” Saskatchewan United Party Leader Nadine Wilson asked during question time.
The government did not immediately answer in the house.
‘It is important that we are visible to our most important customers, Mr. Speaker. India is a big customer,” Jim Reiter’s Minister of Energy and Resources said during the exchange.
The province later released a statement explaining that the former prime minister’s firm, Harper & Associates, has had a contract with the provincial government since 2019.
“The company provides valuable advice, access, expertise and support to advance Saskatchewan’s economic interests around the world,” the statement said.
The contract pays $240,000 annually, while Harper is responsible for his own travel expenses, the county explained.
According to Bruce Anderson, a member of the business faculty at Regina University, the results of Harper’s work can be measured.
“It would be pretty easy to gauge whether he’s giving access or not, and if he doesn’t, it’s not worth it,” he said.
“If he gives them access and he makes those things possible, then it’s probably a valuable exercise.”
In its statement to CTV News, the Saskatchewan government said the benefits of Harper’s contract are “significant” but did not elaborate.