Feds defend Trudeau’s excursion to Jamaica, claim he didn't violate ethics law

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the Trudeaus’ stay at a luxurious Jamaican villa — belonging to a long-time friend with ties to the Trudeau Foundation — came 'at no cost' to taxpayers. Had a bill been issued, Canadians would have paid out $83,700 for their nine-night stay.

Feds defend Trudeau’s excursion to Jamaica, claim he didn't violate ethics law
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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The backlash against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to intensify over another Christmas dash to Jamaica, prompting damage control by the federal government.

Mere minutes into MP Steve MacKinnon’s term as Liberal House leader, reporters pummelled the parliamentarian with questions on Trudeau's end-of-year excursion to Jamaica.

"I think Canadians don't want to deny the prime minister the ability to take a Christmas vacation with his family, and that's what he did," he told reporters at Rideau Hall.

From December 26 to January 4, they stayed at a luxurious 5,000-square-foot, fully staffed villa offering six bedrooms with en suite bathrooms in two buildings, sleeping 12 guests with a private swimming pool and hot tub mere steps from a private beach.

The Frankfort villa is one of five on the grounds of the luxurious Prospect Estate — the same resort the prime minister’s family vacationed in Christmas 2022.

Following that trip, taxpayers received a $162,000 bill and climbing, according to an order paper question posed by Conservative MP Luc Berthold. It excluded the fuel and operating costs of government aircraft.

As first reported by Rebel News last March, the costs for flights, security and accommodations for staff and the RCMP details assigned to the Trudeau family totalled over $200,000.

On January 3, the PMO clarified that taxpayers are not on the hook for accommodations this time around as the Trudeaus’ stay came “at no cost” — contradicting a claim made weeks before. Typically renting at over $9,300 a night, the cost incurred to Canadians would have totalled $83,700 for their nine-night stay had a bill been issued.

Nevertheless, the trip raised eyebrows as the resort belongs to a long-time family friend with ties to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Unsurprisingly, MacKinnon defended the vacation, citing the ethics commissioner approved it in advance with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Peter Green, the owner of the beach enclave and long-time friend of the Trudeaus also has ties to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

"All of the rules have been followed and the law has, as one of its fundamental pillars, transparency, which is of course the reason why we're discussing this today,” he added. “The prime minister has acted transparently."

The PMO said Trudeau would reimburse flight costs, as is standard practice. He partially reimbursed the cost of his family’s flight but did not cover operating and fuel costs for the government aircraft.

Concerning the previous excursion to Jamaica, the prime minister faced push back from Opposition parties about a potential conflict of interest over his trip to the Green family’s resort. "My friends might buy me a cup of coffee or a beer, but not an $80,000 gifted vacation that obviously comes with an IOU," said Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre at the time.

Trudeau's office did not confirm if the prime minister declared last year’s trip as a gift under the Conflict of Interest Act or the code for MPs. The office of the conflict of interest nor the ethics commissioner commented on the matter.

But as recently as September, the Conservatives remain in the dark on whether an ethics violation had occurred, reported the Toronto Star. They appealed to ethics commissioner Konrad von Finckenstein for an update though none had been given.

"People come to me and I tell them whether they comply with the existing law or not. That's my function," he said, adding his focus is not to give opinions "or to talk about how things look."

However, concerns about another ethics violation remain after Trudeau violated ethics law for staying at the Aga Khan's private island in 2016.

Over the past year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has flaunted his disregard for the Canadian taxpayer by going on several all-inclusive vacations — costing over $678,000.

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