During her Power Play appearance the other day Sophie Trudeau made a number of odd comments. I dealt with the claim that it was her just listening to the professionals that resulted in her wearing those “too Indian for an Indian” outfits in this post.
Since then people have emailed me pointing to a Global News article that states how Sophie was connected to the designer of the outfits via her friend Jessica Mulroney.
But the part I want to focus on now is her claim that the trip to India was not a vacation.
“When you are on official trips it’s not a vacation,it is serious work,” Sophie told host Don Martin.
It’s a nice thought but is it true?
Not at all.
Now I can already hear Liberal supporters getting angry with me and screaming at their screens that Sophie worked hard on that trip. Well a look at the official itineraries shows that no one worked hard on that trip.
Most days were filled with the family essentially sight seeing in India, visiting all the holy sites they could to get all the photos they could for the next election. Some days the PM would cap off a day of sight seeing with a speech or a roundtable and that would be it.
The only real days of work were the Tuesday and the Friday. This was an eight day trip! Don’t tell me it wasn’t a vacation. I’ll cut the Trudeau’s some slack, I won’t count Saturday because they had left Ottawa on Friday at noon and arrived in New Delhi at roughly 4 on Saturday afternoon. Despite there being a bed and a shower for the PM on the plane, the Trudeau’s were travelling with their kids.
So I’ll cut some slack for Saturday. But the next seven days are essentially a taxpayer funded family vacation through India that also doubled as a campaign for certain ethnic groups in the next election.
For those that don’t want to believe me I’ve summarized the daily official itinerary below with links to the PM’s daily schedule. Sophie may not think this kind of schedule is a vacation but most Canadians would think otherwise.
Sunday, the first day of the trip saw the Trudeau family visit the Taj Mahal. The place was apparently cleared out so that they didn’t have to rub elbows with real people. That was in the morning. At 5pm that day the PM held a short round table discussion. That was it for anything that could be considered “official business.”
Monday the Trudeau family visited Gandhi’s home at Sabarmati Ashram and then the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, a Hindu temple. The PM held an “armchair discussion” and met with Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani. That all took about two hours out of the day and then the Trudeau’s were off flying to Mumbai.
Tuesday saw some business, but not much. Sure the prime minister had a series of back to back meetings with Indian business leaders that lasted from 9 until 4 and then he had an evening reception with Indian film stars. But those meetings were mostly quick photo ops with a few minutes of chatting and didn’t result in much. The $1 billion in trade is mostly Canadian investments in India and as I detail here, the jobs created don’t amount to much when you look at 5,800 jobs over several years. Oh and the evening reception is where Sophie was photographed with Jaspal Atwal.
Wednesday saw the Trudeau’s visit Armistar in the Punjab region. What was on the agenda? Visiting the Golden Temple, one of the holiest sites for Sikhs. Then they visited the Partition Museum that marks the 1947 partition of British India into two separate countries of India and Pakistan. There was one bit of official business, the PM met with Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh. This was a late addition and was not on the original plan because Trudeau didn’t want to meet Singh. So a short meeting promising that Canada was tough on Sikh extremists that happened just hours before the world found out that Jaspal Atwal was invited to a number of events on the PMs trip.
Thursday visits to Jama Masjid Mosque, Sacred Heart Church, and a cricket pitch in New Delhi. At 3pm the prime minister gave a speech to a business group and that was the day.
Friday was the only real day of official business with an official welcoming ceremony at 9am, a series of meetings that included meeting Indian PM Narendra Modi and wrapped up at 6pm with a news conference. This was a buys work day.
Saturday, the last day had this in the itinerary a hockey event with Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser and, “The Prime Minister and Ms. Grégoire Trudeau will deliver remarks at the Young Changemakers Conclave 2018.”
Not exactly a breakneck schedule. After the flight back Trudeau took two days of personal time while most of the MPs who accompanied him on the trip were back in the House of Commons on the Monday. Trudeau was napping, he needed a rest from his vacation.