Records contradict Freeland — she was chauffeured in a car 14 times over two years

On Friday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters she avoided car travel and attended meetings on foot or by public transit. 'I don’t own a car because I live in downtown Toronto. I am like 300 metres from the nearest subway,' she said.

Records contradict Freeland — she was chauffeured in a car 14 times over two years
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Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has befallen controversy when account expenses contradicted her claim of not travelling within Toronto by car.

On Friday, Freeland told reporters she avoided car travel and attended meetings on foot or by public transit. 

“I don’t own a car because I live in downtown Toronto. I am like 300 metres from the nearest subway,” she said.

“I walk, I take the subway. I make my kids walk and ride their bikes and take the subway. It’s healthier for our family. I can live that way.”

However, expense records show Freeland used a chauffeured car 14 times in the past two years to attend “meetings and events” in Toronto, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. She last used a chauffeur on March 6.

Chauffeur Daniel Labelle claimed expenses that day to support Freeland with “meetings and events” in Toronto and again on February 18 and 19, 2022. 

The chauffeur in 2021 billed for driving the minister in Toronto on April 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27, May 2 and 3, 5 and 6, again on May 25 and 26, July 28, 29 and 30 as either “ministerial transportation” or “transportation of the Minister.” 

According to records, she also billed Freeland for 28 days’ worth of meals and other expenses. 

However, the billings did not include Freeland’s use of a chauffeured car in Québec City last March 21 and 22, in Montréal last November 8, August 21 and 22 and April 11, and in Montréal again on July 19 and 20, 2021.

They also did not include chauffeured trips within Ottawa, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

The finance minister’s claim of car-free travel followed her remarks last November 6 that she cancelled her Disney cable subscription to save $14 as a typical thrifty household. “Families are looking closely at their expenses,” she said.

Accounts also revealed that she chartered government aircraft to fly from Ottawa to Hamilton, Ontario, which is accessible by VIA Rail.

However, the minister contested the controversy as “blatant misinformation.”

“I ride my bike to meetings in Toronto because I live in the community I represent in the centre of this great city,” said Freeland. “And I take taxis to the airport.”

Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin attempted to corroborate Freeland’s claim, insisting the two had bicycled together on government business, according to Blacklock’s Reporter

“I have biked alongside Chrystia Freeland to work,” tweeted Dabrusin. “Recently, we rode together to get to the announcement of the grocery rebate.”

“The real world exists outside of your Twitter bubble, and out here, we are walking the talk and riding our bikes,” added Dabrusin, with the MP posting a photo of herself and Freeland posing with their bicycles.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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