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Federal government spent close to $140,000 on prime minister’s cancelled Barbados trip last year

Author: James Wood 2021/04/22

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent $137,273 to not go to Barbados last year, while unsuccessfully campaigning for a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council.

“This is quite the tab for a tropical government trip, but it’s an astronomical bill for a trip the prime minister didn’t even go on,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Federal Director. “Many Canadians spend zero dollars each year not going to Barbados, so taxpayers are rightly left scratching our heads wondering how the government could rack up such a tab not sending Trudeau.”

Back in February of 2020, Trudeau had been travelling to Ethiopia and Germany in an effort to drum up support for Canada’s ultimately-failed bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. Part of the tour had included a stop in Barbados to speak at a Caribbean leadership conference.

During his travel, a series of rail blockades had caused disruptions across Canada. Instead of heading to Barbados, Trudeau returned home on Feb. 15, 2020, to focus on the blockades, and then-Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne went to Barbados in his place.

Champagne stayed for a day, while the blockade crisis continued into the early days of March before dying down.

Despite the prime minister skipping the event and Champagne’s short stay, the bills still piled up. Records obtained by the CTF detail over $4,000 in staff flight costs, over $15,000 in vehicle rentals, and over $75,000 in hotel service costs.

The bills total $137,273, but that doesn’t include the cost of flying the government jet to Barbados and back for Champagne.

While a full breakdown of how much Canadian taxpayers were billed for the federal government’s failed United Nations bid has not been released, the CTF has filed multiple access to information requests to get that information.

“This is just another example of the massive waste of money that Trudeau’s failed UN security seat campaign was,” said Terrazzano. “It also puts a spotlight on how mind-bogglingly expensive government trips are for taxpayers.”