By Monique Muise: National Online Journalist, Politics Global News
WATCH ABOVE: Environment Minister Catherine McKenna responds to questions on Tuesday about a photographer hired to take photos of her during last year’s Paris climate summit.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says her department will review its policies after it was revealed taxpayers were billed over $6,600 for a freelance photographer to follow her around at last year’s Paris climate summit.
On Monday night, CTV News reported that McKenna’s office hired French photographer Sébastien Leban to cover McKenna at the event, which saved the government the cost of sending a photographer from Canada to do the job.
CTV initially reported that the cost of the contract was close to $10,000, but McKenna clarified on Tuesday that it was $6,600 and change.
WATCH: PM Trudeau responds to recent issues in his cabinet regarding expense claims
It’s the latest in a string of stories involving expenses linked to ministers in the Trudeau cabinet.
Health Minister Jane Philpott came under fire last week for $3,700 paid to Executive Sedan Livery Service Inc. for travel around Toronto and to Hamilton and Niagara Falls on March 31 and July 12 – an amount she has since promised to reimburse.
Philpott then found herself promising to reimburse another $520 that had been used to cover the cost of Air Canada lounge access for the minister over a one-year period.
On Tuesday, McKenna noted that photos are an important part of how the government transmits its message in the digital world. The practice of hiring an official photographer is a long-standing policy also followed by the Conservatives, she noted.
McKenna’s press secretary, Caitlin Workman, confirmed that the minister’s office and the department do not have a photographer on staff at the moment. They do have a camera, however, and McKenna’s assistant was taking photos on Tuesday as the minister spoke to the media.
Early in 2015, an investigation by online news website iPolitics revealed that the Harper government had spent approximately $2.3 million on photography contracts linked to its ministers during its time in government.
There is no central photography database for the Canadian government or the cabinet, and each department is in charge of taking, storing and disseminating its own images.