True leadership means learning and growing in the position Canadians have entrusted you with. In this case, the Prime Minister continues to flaunt the old rule of do as I say, not as I do. Pictured is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: The Canadian Press.
Oh, the tangled web we weave. It’s not even five days into the new year and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is already making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Right before Christmas, staff in the Prime Minister’s Office noted that Trudeau and his family would be heading to Jamaica for a family vacation. The trip was pitched as one that the family would cover the cost of, including stay and air travel equivalent to that of a commercial flight.
But as we know from experience, the devil is always in the details. On Wednesday, Trudeau’s staff clarified that the family would be staying at “no cost at a location owned by family friends.”
This of course raises questions about who the Prime Minister is staying with, where he was staying, and why this information was only disclosed after the fact. While the trip was run by the ethics commissioner’s office and subsequently cleared, it once again demonstrates that Trudeau has learned nothing over the last several years about the optics of a high-flying lifestyle.
The tone for these trips was first set when Trudeau took a now infamous family trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in 2017. This led to months of media headlines, a slap on the wrist by the ethics commissioner, and a bill of over $125,000 to taxpayers.
While things slowed down on the vacation front due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trudeau family also took off to Jamaica last spring for some downtime. As reported by CBC and Radio-Canada, the family “spent the holiday season at a luxurious estate in Jamaica belonging to a wealthy family that made a large donation two years ago to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.”
While the location where the Trudeau family stayed over the Christmas break hasn’t been disclosed, in this instance it doesn’t take much to put two and two together and deduce they are staying in the same luxury estate.
The vacation itself isn’t the issue here. No one can credibly fault the Prime Minister for taking time over the holidays to spend with family and friends, as many Canadian households have done.
The real problem is that Trudeau just doesn’t care about the optics of being on vacation at a luxury resort while there is a cost-of-living crisis happening at home. Whether intentional or not, his office pulled a bait and switch with the media regarding the details of the trip and now the details will be exposed in a drip-drip fashion.
This will certainly do nothing to bolster public opinion of the Prime Minister and his floundering Liberal Party, who are increasingly viewed as out of touch on the economic issues that matter to Canadians. As for the Conservatives, expect them to be in full force on social media exposing the hypocrisy of Trudeau’s vacation.
True leadership means learning and growing in the position Canadians have entrusted you with. In this case, the Prime Minister continues to flaunt the old rule of do as I say, not as I do.
Josie Sabatino is a Senior Consultant at Summa Strategies, focused on providing strategic insight and helping clients meet their objectives in an ever changing and complex political and regulatory environment. Prior to joining Summa, Josie spent nearly a decade in political communications and most recently served as the Director of Communications to the Hon. Erin O’Toole, former Leader of the Official Opposition.