In October 2012, Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk was vacationing in Poland when the Canadian premier’s office gave him work to do. Unfortunately, that work resulted in $20,000 of data roaming charges for using 2GB of data. The story recently resurfaced when the bill was leaked online.
“When the premier assigns me a job as deputy premier, and tells me you have to handle this file, it’s government business,” said Lukaszuk to the Calgary Herald. “I don’t handle files on vacation for pleasure. As deputy premier you’re at the service of the premier’s office. I was given an assignment to carry out.”
The exact nature of the assignment is hidden behind a court order, though Lukaszuk did say he had documents transferred to and from an Edmonton law firm. He also chatted with others on Skype. Even though he and the premier’s office tried to fight the charges, they failed and the bill was paid, according to Lukaszuk.
This is Canada’s second run-in with enormous data roaming charges. Last fall, Energy Minister Diana McQueen racked up data bills worth $14,577. Unlike Lukaszuk, McQueen managed to get her charges reversed and only ended up paying $191.
At least Lukaszuk learned something from the ordeal. “I was on vacation so I didn’t buy a data plan,” he said. “I should have. I apologize for that. I’m sorry.”