Thank you for your question.
First, I would like to clarify something. You were told that the catering costs were astronomical. I have to tell you that, over the past three years, since 2009, a total of 2,530 meals and snacks were served at 175 business meetings, for an average cost of $15 per person. Those meals and snacks were served at business meetings with two to 150 people, such as volunteer teachers and science researchers, volunteer members on the science and programming committees, and at biennial meetings for the Old Port of Montréal Corporation employees. Although the meals were delivered at the Old Port, they were not delivered or served at my office, as the QMI Agency alleges. As you said, all those meals and snacks amounted to $11,300 per year, and they were justified.
As for annual meetings outside the office, it is normal for our managers to be able to get away once a year so that they can focus on our objectives and the business plan, which we are responsible for and which we submit to the government every year. We are managing a budget of $48 million and we have $500 million in assets. That is the common practice both in the private and the public sectors. Those two meetings are always with nine people and they last three days. In my view, they were justified. I would also like to point out that, in 2011, given the cuts that we made to help reduce the government’s debt, we decided to hold the meeting with our employees somewhere in Montreal.