Calgary Herald



OTTAWA• Taxpayers forked out almost $ 150,000 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his 30 cabinet ministers to hole up for several days at a swanky seaside New Brunswick resort where they pondered weighty matters of state.

And now they’re poised to do it again, this time at a mountain resort in Kananaskis Country, 85 kilometres west of Calgary.

The retreat, which officials argue is an important exercise in regional outreach and bonding for Trudeau’s still relatively new ministers, includes a meeting Sunday evening with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

Her office has indicated Notley intends to bend ministeria­l ears about the need for a pipeline to get her province’s crude oil to tidewater and about her objections to Edmonton’s exclusion from a recent boost in employment insurance benefits for regions hit by the plunge in oil prices.

How much the retreat will cost is not clear, but it will likely be somewhat more expensive than a January retreat the Trudeau cabinet held in the resort town of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.

According to a tally by the Privy Council Office, the bureaucrat­ic arm of the Prime Minister’s Office, the St. Andrews retreat cost $ 74,429 in hotel, airfare, meals and incidental­s for the ministers; an additional $74,977 was paid by PCO for unspecifie­d costs related to the retreat.

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