Trudeau’s Vacation Expenditures Under Scrutiny Again

Trudeau's Vacation Expenditures Under Scrutiny Again
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and son Xavier depart New Delhi, India on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. Trudeau's departure was delayed several days due to a technical issue with his military aircraft.

Recent revelations indicate that the cost of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Montana vacation was significantly higher than the government initially reported to Parliament. This follows a pattern of the Trudeau family vacations which have come under scrutiny in the past.

In the detailed examination of Trudeau’s recent Montana trip, the government had previously disclosed a sum of $23,846 in expenses associated with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Privy Council. However, this figure did not account for an additional $204,993 spent by the RCMP on overtime, accommodations, meals, and other related costs. This information only came to light this week when CBC News posed a question to the police force.

The specifics of Trudeau’s Montana vacation remain shrouded in mystery. While flight trackers confirmed the Prime Minister’s plane landing in Bozeman, Montana and returning to Ottawa a few days later, the government has not provided much detail about his activities during this period. Trudeau’s office, when probed further about the Montana trip, declined to provide specifics, citing security reasons. “As per long-standing government policy and for security reasons, the prime minister must travel on government aircraft, whether he is on official or personal business,” stated Alison Murphy, spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Trudeau's Montana holiday cost taxpayers much more than reported
The Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, Mont., north of Yellowstone National Park. Big Sky’s skiing and snowboarding trails attract wealthy tourists from around the world. (Erik Peterson/AP)

Furthermore, amidst reports of his separation from wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the Prime Minister announced another vacation to British Columbia. While the Prime Minister’s Office has stated that they consulted with the ethics commissioner regarding this trip and emphasized that the Trudeaus would bear the cost of their stay, Trudeau’s travel habits continue to generate discussions, especially given past controversies.

Several other vacations taken by the Trudeau family have raised eyebrows over the years. Notably:

  • A 2016 trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas resulted in a $215,000 bill to the taxpayers and an ethics violation finding.
  • In 2021, Trudeau took a trip to Tofino, B.C., on the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day meant to commemorate the grave findings of Indigenous children who died in residential schools.
  • A Costa Rican getaway in 2019 cost approximately $200,000, while a subsequent visit in 2022 saw the family spending two weeks in the Central American nation.

Melanie Rushworth, director of communications for the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s office, clarified that the office doesn’t typically greenlight vacations of elected officials but would intervene “when the travel or stay could be considered a gift under the Conflict of Interest Act or the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.”

As taxpayers foot the bill for a considerable part of these vacations, many Canadians are left wondering about the ethics and optics of these lavish trips amidst economic and social challenges faced by the country.