Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker decided to make a 6-day trip to Canada in order to complete a trade mission, but Democrats back home have criticized him for wasting taxpayer money and leaving town before budget disputes were over.
And the timing wasn’t perfect at all. Nevertheless, during his four-and-a-half-year tenure he made only two trips abroad – one to China and another one to Japan, both in 2013. But as Gov. Walker nears the launch of his presidential bid, he must be trying to gain foreign politics expertise as fast as possible.
For instance, this year alone he spent four days in the U.K. in February, a week in Western Europe two months ago, and will spend six more days in Canada. The trips were funded with tax-payer money.
Walker’s trip to Europe cost about $138,000, while his office declined to disclose the sums employed in other trips. Walker made a trip to Israel as well but that one was funded by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca admitted that trade missions were “useful,” yet he criticized the governor for “just jumping from country to country and continent to continent.” Mr. Barca also expressed his disbelief that the trips were made in the interest of Wisconsinites. He concluded that Walker was probably “beefing up” his foreign policy expertise on taxpayer money.
But the governor argued that his trips were necessary to lure foreign investors to the state and boost exports. Walker also said that previous governors used to travel abroad three to four times a year, every year. So he doesn’t believe that there was a problem with his trips.
His office described the Canada trip as a “business development mission” designed to promote job growth in the state. Travel expenses were covered by Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a nearly public agency that granted undocumented loans to an almost bankrupt Wisconsin firm.
In the weekend, the governor met with other U.S. governors and Canadian officials in the luxury hotel Le Chateau Frontenac. Walker seemed very excited to visit Quebec City since he had been in the country countless times but failed to reach Quebec’s capital.
“You really do feel like you’re in parts of Europe here. In fact, I joked with a woman on the way in. She said, ‘You get to go to Europe without the jet lag,’ ”
Gov. Walker said.
On Monday, Walker had a brief meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and have been arranging brief encounters with Canadian executives and other officials ever since. He is slated to return to the U.S. Wednesday.
Image Source: Daily Mail