Trudeaus go to Jamaica, vacation at 'luxurious' estate of Trudeau Foundation donor: report

Trudeau accused Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre of '[struggling] with the concept of friendship' and claimed the trip was 'cleared' by the ethics commissioner in advance.

Trudeaus go to Jamaica, vacation at 'luxurious' estate of Trudeau Foundation donor: report
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expensed at least $162,000 for a week-long family vacation in Jamaica last December, according to an order paper question posed by Conservative MP Luc Berthold.

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

Expenditures include nearly $33,000 at the Department of National Defence, which controls the use of the prime minister's Challenger fleet. However, the $33,000 allocated for hotels, meals, and local travel did not include the cost of using the Challenger.

The Privy Council Office (PCO) spent over $13,000, including about $3,200, to fly a staffer to Jamaica. The RCMP also spent approximately $115,000.

Global News verified the trip's costs almost one month after Rebel News.

The RCMP detail cost $115,526 to provide security for the Trudeaus, with additional costs still in process. Joining the prime minister on the trip included four Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flight crew for security reasons, totalling $29,951.92 in accommodations, $3,685.05 per diems and $40.20 in other expenses.

The order paper question revealed that the prime minister forfeited meal allowances for most of the trip, with much of the meals provided by the hotel. The Privy Council Office (PCO) also tallied $16,859.11 in expenses.

"The expenditures reported are comprehensive costs for the PCO support role for the trip," reads the document. One employee responsible for securing communications on the trip had an airfare of $3,270.12.

According to Trudeau's itinerary, he and his family stayed in Jamaica from December 26 to January 4. The CBC reported that they stayed at a luxurious estate belonging to a wealthy family friend who donated to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation two years ago.

The Prime Minister's Office did not confirm whether Trudeau declared this trip a gift under the Conflict of Interest Act or the code for MPs. The Trudeau Foundation ensured the Trudeaus stayed with donors to the charity.

"As per standard practice, we consulted with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to ensure that the rules are followed," said a Prime Minister's Office spokesperson on Tuesday.

The office of the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner did not comment.

"The prime minister reimbursed the equivalent of a commercial airline ticket for his travel and that of his family," continued the spokesperson.

Upon hearing of the cost, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh accused Trudeau of not "[understanding] the realities of everyday Canadians." 

"It's not about, in my mind, it's not about whether the commissioner approved it or whether there's an ethics issue here," said Singh, citing Canadians struggling with the cost of housing.

"This vacation is another example of a prime minister who doesn't understand the realities of everyday Canadians, hasn't lived those struggles, and is unwilling to use every power, every tool at his disposal to fix those problems."

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called the prime minister "out of touch" with Canadians. He accused Trudeau of knowing "these powerful interests are buying influence."

Trudeau replied his family and the family he stayed with had been friends for 50 years. He also accused Poilievre of "[struggling] with the concept of friendship" and claimed the trip was "cleared" by the ethics commissioner in advance.

The Trudeaus previously vacationed in Costa Rica over Christmas 2019, costing taxpayers about $57,000 and thousands more on flight crews, though that tally could exceed $200,000.

The prime minister violated conflict-of-interest rules in 2017 after a 2016 vacation to the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas, costing more than $200,000.

The deadline for declaring a gift under the Conflict of Interest Act is 30 days and 60 days under the Conflict of Interest code for MPs. All declarations are posted on the public registry.

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