Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent New Year’s Eve in the Bahamas, a fact only revealed after his return following intense media pressure on his office to keep the Canadian people informed regarding his taxpayer-funded travels abroad.
Trudeau is currently under intense financial scrutiny after the Globe and Mail revealed that he had attended fundraisers for the Trudeau Foundation along with Chinese businessmen and appeared to engage in lobbying. The Trudeau Foundation also reportedly received an intense influx of donations following his attendance at these events.
The Prime Minister’s year-end vacation also became the target of ridicule following the release of his New Year message to constituents in which he called 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding, a “once in a lifetime opportunity to ring in the new year together.”
“When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said New Year’s Eve was the perfect time for Canadians to celebrate the start of Canada’s 150th anniversary ‘together,’ he obviously meant ‘together’ without him,” the Toronto Sun noted, in a piece comparing Trudeau to the titular character of the Where’s Waldo? book series. The Sun accuses him of “gilding the lily” with his New Year message and reiterates: “‘Together’ means in close proximity to others.”
The National Post‘s Chris Selley appeared similarly incensed, though not at the irony of his message to Canadians, but at the lack of transparency in the PM office’s refusal to divulge where Trudeau was spending the end of the year. Selley emphasizes that he does not think anything illicit happened on the vacation — “odds are they were having a regular rich-people vacation in an uncontroversial location” — but notes that this “is all the more reason to be irked the PMO would default to secrecy: if this is how it handles totally anodyne information, how do you suppose it’s handling the explosive stuff?”
CTV reports that the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement saying only that, “in order to protect the privacy of the Prime Minister and his family, we do not disclose the locations of their vacations prior to their departure” on Tuesday (the office revealed the Bahamas destination on Monday).
“U.S. reporters are given daily updates on President Barack Obama’s whereabouts when he takes annual vacations to Hawaii, causing many to ask whether Canadians should expect the same,” CTV argues.
The network notes that this is the second year that the Prime Minister has left the public out of the loop on his international travels for the new year. To ring in 2016, the Trudeau family traveled to St. Kitts and Nevis; the Prime Minister’s office refused this information to Canadians, leaving them to find out through the online pages of TMZ.
Only in December 2016 was CTV able to find information related to the cost of the Trudeau family visit to St. Kitts and Nevis. While the Prime Minister reimbursed Canadian taxpayers for the flights there and back and his family’s stay at a lavish resort there, CTV found that “an unspecified number of RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] officers stayed with Trudeau and his family at… the exclusive $1,500 per night villas on Nevis, at a total cost of $20,411.” The government of Canada spent another $44,786 on a separate group of RCMP officers not staying at the resort in question, but nearby.
Ottawa has not revealed the costs of this year’s Trudeau family vacation to the Caribbean.
Trudeau, the head of the Liberty Party and son of leftist Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, won the nation’s top office in 2015 on a pro-marijuana, high-tax, anti-inequality, and pro-diversity political platform. His image has suffered significantly since taking office, however, due to his support for raids on marijuana dispensaries, praise for Communist dictator Fidel Castro, and admission that he has allowed himself to be improperly lobbied at Trudeau Foundation fundraisers. Confronted by his legislature on the Trudeau Foundation scandal, the Prime Minister argued that his conversations with Chinese millionaires at elite Trudeau Foundation fundraisers were meant to “create economic growth for the middle class.”