Cana­dian PM doesn’t need rock star perks

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - COMMENT -

A pri­vate he­li­pad at the prime min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial cot­tage at Har­ring­ton Lake sure sounds like an elit­ist perk.

And yet an­other sign the post of Cana­dian prime min­is­ter is too fre­quently be­ing mis­taken for roy­alty or that of a pres­i­dent, es­pe­cially in the Justin Trudeau era.

Was the gov­ern­ment se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing this? And, if so, why?

There’s a lot we don’t know about the dozens of pages ob­tained un­der Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion about this pro­posal.

“Most of the 68 pages in­volved in the dis­cus­sions have been redacted: they don’t even sim­ply black out in­for­ma­tion any­more, they just re­move the pages,” ex­plains Brian Lilley, who broke the news in the Toronto Sun.

“But given the spe­cific ques­tion asked and the rea­sons for not re­leas­ing all the in­for­ma­tion (se­cu­rity), it is clear that this was an ac­tual pro­posal un­der dis­cus­sion.”

The doc­u­ments show the he­li­pad was dis­cussed by the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Com­mis­sion — which man­ages the Prime Min­is­ter’s sum­mer res­i­dence and re­treat — and by the Trea­sury Board.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice told Lilley Trudeau didn’t re­quest the he­li­pad and “no for­mal pro­pos­als” had been seen by them, but sug­gested gov­ern­ment de­part­ments rou­tinely dis­cuss trans­porta­tion op­tions for the PM.

Fair enough. And if there is a press­ing ar­gu­ment to be made for such a he­li­pad, we’re open to hear­ing it.

But at face value, it sounds like an­other of the many ex­trav­a­gances Trudeau has pre­vi­ously billed to tax­pay­ers.

Like the $215,000 cost as­so­ci­ated with his Ba­hamas va­ca­tion to the Aga Khan’s pri­vate is­land. Or the still grow­ing $1.5-mil­lion cost of his lav­ish and em­bar­rass­ing In­dia visit, in­clud­ing $17,000 to fly a celebrity chef from Van­cou­ver there. Or in­stalling a per­sonal sauna at Har­ring­ton Lake, a swing set there, a $5,000 golf cart and hik­ing snow re­moval costs $17,000 to groom cross coun­try ski runs and clear snow around an out­door fire pit.

There have been times when Trudeau has made the right choice when it comes to perks and en­ti­tle­ments, such as de­clin­ing mov­ing into 24 Sus­sex Drive to al­low for much-needed ren­o­va­tions.

And it’s good that plans for a he­li­pad did not pro­ceed.

How­ever, Trudeau’s not roy­alty or a rock star and his pen­chant for ex­trav­a­gance (in­clud­ing his pas­sion for debt and deficits) clearly shows how far out of touch our PM is with or­di­nary Cana­di­ans.

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