PM's trip to luxurious Prospect estate cost taxpayers $160,000
Opposition leaders slammed what they called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "lack of judgment" Tuesday after it was revealed he spent his Christmas vacation at the Jamaica home of a wealthy donor to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
Radio-Canada reported that Trudeau vacationed at Prospect, a "luxurious estate" with seaside villas owned by the Green family. Alexander and Andrew Green made a large donation to the foundation in 2021 to establish a scholarship in memory of their mother.
The Jamaica trip cost taxpayers roughly $160,000 because of travel-related security and personnel costs. The French-language arm of the CBC said some staff were also put up at a nearby all-inclusive resort, which cost the federal treasury.
Trudeau was reprimanded by Canada's ethics commissioner over a 2016 vacation to the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas — another trip that saddled taxpayers with the tens of thousands of dollars in costs that come when the prime minister travels abroad.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Trudeau's choice of a vacation spot shows he's "out of touch" and moves in elite circles where millionaires shower their friends with costly vacations.
Citing recent polling, Poilievre said many Canadians are planning to scale back on their summer vacation plans because of high inflation.
When they hear of Trudeau vacationing at a lavish tropical resort, he said, they get angry.
"Two-thirds of Canadians say they're cutting back on summer vacations. A quarter say they've cancelled their vacations altogether but they'll still have to pay for someone else's vacation," Poilievre said.
Under law, Trudeau can't travel like any other Canadian. As the head of government, he's protected around the clock by an RCMP security detail regardless of where he is in the world.
Liberal government House leader Mark Holland said the costs incurred were "reasonable" because Trudeau must be adequately protected. He said the vast majority of costs billed to the taxpayer were security-related.
Holland said Trudeau and his family deserve a vacation and the Conservative "fixation" on the prime minister's Jamaica trip is "very revealing."
"It is clear that the interest of the party opposite is a partisan interest. It's an interest to attack, it is an interest to advance their partisanship advantage," he said.
Trudeau himself defended the trip, saying he's been family friends with the Greens for more than 50 years.
He said his father was the godfather to one of the Green children and their father in turn was godfather to one of his brothers.
"The leader of the opposition struggles with the concept of friendship, Mr. Speaker. When one has a friend, you often go to visit them. We worked with the ethics commissioner to make sure all the rules were followed," Trudeau said.
Pressed to answer if he had paid the going rate — Prospect can cost up to $9,000 a night for any other guest — Trudeau punted, saying that if Poilievre was really concerned about cost of living issues he'd support Liberal programs like child care and dental care.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said it's not enough that Trudeau had the Jamaica trip pre-approved by the ethics commissioner.
Blanchet said the trip raises questions about Trudeau's capacity to lead the country.
"He didn't hear the little voice saying to him, 'Maybe you shouldn't do this,'" Blanchet said.
WATCH: Bloc Leader criticizes PM's Jamaica trip with Trudeau Foundation donor
Bloc Leader criticizes PM's Jamaica trip with Trudeau Foundation donor
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to go on the trip shows a 'lack of consideration and respect for the average citizen' when so many Canadians are concerned with making ends meet because of inflation.
While Blanchet conceded Trudeau is entitled to a vacation, the separatist leader said it is a politically questionable decision to take one at a place that costs taxpayers so much.
"Now, here we go again, talking about a lack of judgment and a lack of respect on the part of the prime minister for the average citizen, whose votes he would like to get at election time," Blanchet said.
"This is a lack of respect for taxpayers. A lack of respect for people who are struggling every day. Quebecers and Canadians are facing questions about their capacity to pay their mortgages."
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also pounced, saying the Jamaica vacation shows the prime minister is out of touch with what Canadians are experiencing.
"The fact is that the lifestyle of the prime minister — the way he lives — means that he doesn't understand people's challenges," Singh said.
Citing Canada's stretched housing market and failing health-care system, Singh said Trudeau isn't all that motivated to tackle the big issues of our time because he's never faced any hardship.
"I'm concerned about the cost of groceries because I went through that myself in my own life. The difference here is the prime minister does not understand that," Singh said.
Add some “good” to your morning and evening.
A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca