Freeland urges restraint with expenses following Rideau Hall renovations

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OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says public office holders should be mindful of how they spend taxpayer dollars, following a report on Rideau Hall renovations.

The CBC reported Thursday that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on designs and renovations to the official residence of Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, some allegedly at her personal request for privacy, accessibility and security reasons.

Freeland would not say whether she believes the expenditures were appropriate, but she did say she thinks questions about the Rideau Hall expenses are legitimate.

She also says she has respect for the office and constitutional role of the Governor General, without directly answering a question about her confidence in Payette.

Payette has faced significant scrutiny since the CBC published a report citing anonymous sources saying she had created a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.

The Privy Council Office said last month it was launching an independent review of the allegations and Payette said she welcomed the probe.