Saskatchewan’s Finance Minister, Donna Harpauer, is in hot water with the opposition NDP Carla Beck. 

Harpauer spent nearly $8,000 on a private plane to attend a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, not soon after she tabled a provincial budget containing 32 new taxes and fees.

“This flight could have very easily been a drive,” said Beck. “People are making changes to their summer plans because they can't afford gas all while the minister is introducing new taxes and burning more money to get to a lunch than some people earn in months.”

On March 25, Harpauer chartered a plane with Good Spirit Air Service to travel nearly 400 kilometers from Regina to North Battleford, costing a total of $7,872.60 to the taxpayer. 

An email from Harpauer’s spokesperson stated that for years, finance ministers have travelled across the province to discuss the budget and that this case is no exception. 

Two days prior, she announced the expansion of a six percent provincial sales tax to industries hard-hit by the pandemic, such as entertainment, gyms, concerts, museums, sporting events and a tax hike on properties and smokers. 

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour was displeased to hear about Harpaurer's travel expenses, stating that it was an insult.

“Sask. Party Finance Minister Donna Harpauer’s $8,000 private flight to travel 400 kilometers is an insult to workers who are struggling to make ends meet due to record high inflation and tax and utility rate hikes,” said SFL President Lori Johb.

“It’s unbelievable that at a time when workers are finding themselves unable to put food on the table, or to fill their cars with gas just to be able to get to work, the Sask. Party has no issue booking private jets and sending Saskatchewan people the bill,” Johb went on to say. “The Finance Minister should pay back the cost of the flight and apologize to working people for being so arrogant and out of touch with reality.”

On January 10, Premier Scott Moe, Education Minister Dustin Duncan and Rural Health Minister Everett Hindley also took private flights to the north, costing taxpayers around  $16,000. 

“If Scott Moe’s Sask. Party can jet set on the taxpayer dime, they can certainly do the right thing and scrap the PST increase, stop the utility rate hikes and provide affordability relief to Saskatchewan families today,” said Beck. “Maybe all this lavish spending and fiscal mismanagement is why Scott Moe and his finance minister have never balanced a budget.”

“Workers across the province are in desperate need of some financial relief, but the Sask. Party instead seems to be more focused on how they can use our money to benefit themselves,” said Johb. “Given that the Sask. Party sees no problem with flying around on private jets while raising taxes and utility rates, it doesn’t seem likely that workers will be seeing plans for relief from this government any time soon.”