Alberta taxpayers paid $113,000 for hotel rooms that were booked, but not used, by province for the premier's trip to the Olympics last summer.
The rooms at the five-star Le Meridien Hotel in London were paid in advance. When the province pared down the size of its delegation, officials were unable to get a refund. The average nightly rate for each room was $850 CDN.
"It's not a cancellation fee. We actually made these plans well in advance," said Alberta Tourism and Parks Minister Christine Cusanelli on Monday.
"As you know, we have to book well in advance for something, an event like the Olympics. So the $113,000 is actually in the room costs that we were not able to recoup."
Travel costs for Premier Alison Redford, Cusanelli, Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk and three staff members added up to $87,135. The entire cost of the mission was $518,280.
Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle said the cost of the unused rooms shows how the government has no respect for how it spends taxpayers' money.
"When this government can drop that kind of money on galas, receptions and empty hotel rooms without batting an eye, it's no wonder we have a $3 billion deficit that's only getting bigger," she said in a news release.
NDP leader Brian Mason said the situation was "absurd."
"To spend over $100,000 on empty hotel rooms or unused hotel rooms is simply unacceptable," Mason said. "That is an awful lot of money, an awful lot of hotel rooms and if they can't plan better than that, then they shouldn't be the government."