I’ll be the first to admit that Canadians can be what Jean Chretien once called, “small town cheap.” Chretien would know, he was from a small town and also called out previous governments for what he considered excessive spending.
While there is much to admire about Chretien’s frugality, there were also major repairs to Parliament, official residences and more that were put off. Why? Because he didn’t want to spend the money and had criticized the previous government for doing so.
So now we have a few competing stories that show where the Trudeau government’s priorities lie and it appears to be on the luxury side. To put it another way, Trudeau spends on wants, not needs.
We all know about the need to renovate 24 Sussex Drive and yet nothing of substance has been done to the official residence of the prime minister.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that for just the first few months after Trudeau’s election, the costs were huge even though no one was living there.
The total expenses for the period from November 2015 through March 2016 were $171,376 — for the building alone, not food or staffing. (The dates are approximate. Not all expenses were billed on the same schedule.)
Then there was the story from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson on the ageing of the prime minister’s plane. It had to be fixed during a refueling stop on his way to India in February.
Emails obtained by CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson through an access to information request show that a gauge designed to monitor engine temperature began “fluctuating randomly” during the Feb. 16 flight to New Delhi, and that a ground crew at a scheduled refueling stop in Rome found “a few loose wires.”
The internal Air Force emails state that the “snag” caused a delay on the ground, and that although the problem seemed to be fixed before takeoff, the “snag came back” hours after the plane was back in the air.
The plane dates to 1987, that is when WardAir bought the plane. The government acquired it in 1992 and retrofitted it with a bed and shower for the PM, prompting Chretien to call it a flying Taj Mahal.
It needs replaced but politicians won’t do it.
Just like they won’t update our air force properly, the Trudeau Liberals are currently extending our fleet of CF-18s that came into service in 1982 by buying slightly less old Australian F-18s for an undisclosed sum. Likely to be in the billions.
I expect them to work as well as the used submarines that Canada bought from the British in 1998 and they still don’t fully work properly.
But hey, we are spending on what matters. Like Justin Trudeau’s sauna.
This is why people get pissed at the small things, because government can’t get the big things right – like a new prime ministerial residence, new jets and the like but when it comes to hooking up Trudeau’s sauna at the PM’s cottage, it gets done and you pay.
CBC has a story on the expenses incurred by Trudeau and company on the cottage at Harrington Lake.
Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request show that since Justin Trudeau came to office, there have been several upgrades to the five-hectare property in Gatineau Park, including the installation of a sauna.
The prime minister paid for the sauna himself, but it cost $4,368 to provide electrical service to it.
A new screened patio cost approximately $10,000, and three patio umbrellas and stands were purchased for about $3,000. A new play structure with swings was added for $7,500, and an old deck and floating dock were replaced for $12,000 each.
There are also new boat racks, which cost $8,500, and a $5,000 golf cart.
None of these expenses are outlandish but they do add up and when juxtaposed against real spending requirements, it seems like small town cheap by the prime minister.
He wants to make sure his toushy is coushy but doesn’t want to spend on things that might matter beyond his own time in office.