By Richard Bell
[Updated: Noon, January 28. A spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has confirmed that the department has not released a press release or any other written information other than the facts and figures in the CBC story discussed in the original story below. The dates of the trip are now February 8 to February 16; the department is still working on the list of participants, other than the Minister. The number of participants may be fewer than 18. The province will be contributing $5000 per industry representative on the trip. All participants will be traveling economy class.]
In an announcement that will surely be the delight of cartoonists across Nova Scotia, CBC reported at 6:00 AM Saturday that Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell will be leading a fishing industry trip with 17 other Nova Scotians to Tasmania at a cost of $100,000. Participants will be looking at marine protected areas, aquaculture, and a Tasmanian market program for the native rock lobsters.
The Saturday 6AM announcement was a classic example of the “leak the story over the weekend so it will get minimal media coverage” PR strategy. There was no information on this junket on the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture media site, such as who might be going with the Minister—the latest release is dated December 28. The Cooperator has requested the official details from the media office of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The leaked CBC story says that Nova Scotia will be paying the expenses of the 5 government officials, and that the “13 industry reps will each receive $5K from the province to help cover their travel costs.”
The travel website Orbitz shows that keeping the cost of this 52-hour flight under $100,000 is dependent on all participants flying economy class. According to Orbitz, you could get an economy round-trip ticket and hotel accommodations for the week from Halifax to Hobart, Tasmania, traveling between February 7 and February 14, for around $3,000. Daily meals and incidental expenses for the weeklong trip would be around $1,365, using daily travel rates from the National Joint Council of the Public Service of Canada. The grand total is $4,365 per person. So the province’s $5,000 per person contribution to the 13 industry representatives should cover the bulk of their travel and lodging costs.
Fifty-two (52) hours sitting up in an economy seat will not be pleasant. But the cost of going business class is substantially higher. A ticket for the same round-trip flight and hotel deal flying business class costs $15,200, or a grand total of $16,565 with meals and incidental expenses.
In the past, various industries with an interest in the outcome of similar business-oriented trips have financed the cost of the trips. There was no indication in the CBC story that any industries or trade associations will be contributing to anyone on this trip.
The Cooperator will post the Department’s official release on this trip when it becomes available.