On Monday, members returned from their March break to learn that the prime minister racked up a $50,000 bill for a private plane that sat idle on a Caribbean tarmac in December.
Some were less than impressed.
During question period, Tory MP Alex Nuttall grilled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the latest details about his family’s New Year’s trip to St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Fifty thousand is just the bill for the private plane to sit on the tarmac.”
— Alex Nuttall, Tory MP
“What’s worse is that Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for $50,000 so the prime minister could enjoy his ‘sunny ways,’” the Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte MP said.
He continued: “Fifty thousand is just the bill for the private plane to sit on the tarmac. How much more will the Canadian taxpayer have to shell out for this prime minister’s private Caribbean vacation?”
Trudeau’s family vacationed for 10 days on the tropical island, renting villas at an exclusive resort.
After the trip, the prime minister reimbursed taxpayers the economy airfare equivalent for each family member who travelled with him on the government plane.
CTV News reported that the prime minister’s private military plane, pair of pilots, and flight crew — all of which sat idle on a tarmac in case of emergency — will cost the government approximately $48,000.
Conservative MP Alex Nuttall and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak during question period on March 21, 2016. (Screengrab: ParlVu)
House Leader Dominic LeBlanc responded to Nuttall by saying the costs are not extraordinary — they’re following “long-standing” security protocols and policies that existed under previous governments.
“The prime minister and members of his family reimbursed an economy airfare,” LeBlanc said, reminding the House of a standard procedure that the PM’s plane must be constantly ready to leave with three hours’ notice in case of national emergencies.
“That policy existed under previous governments and we’re respecting that same policy today,” he said.
At a Conservative networking event in Barrie, Ont. Saturday, Nuttall called Trudeau a “millionaire prime minister” who ought to fund his own taxpayer-funded nannies.
Last year, Trudeau faced criticism from both Conservatives and NDP members, who charged that just because he’s prime minister with a $325,000 salary doesn’t mean he should get taxpayer dollars for his child care needs.
The prime minister defended the use of tax dollars to pay for two nannies for his three children, saying he reorganized the allotted household budget to suit his young family’s needs.
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