Conservative Party leadership candidate Peter MacKay says he wouldn’t hesitate to sell off the prime minister’s cottage property at Harrington Lake.
Canadian taxpayers are getting billed more than $17 million to renovate the buildings on the Gatineau Park property in Quebec, across the river from Ottawa.
“What does a prime minister need a cottage 20 minutes from his home for anyway?” MacKay said on the Canadian Taxpayers Podcast. “I see no hesitation in selling that property. I think there’s a lot of government properties, quite frankly, that we could sell, including the CBC building in downtown Toronto.
“Certainly, a full examination of the government’s inventory of property could reveal some very valuable returns on investment and free up property that could be used much more efficiently and for a better purpose.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the feds to stop spending millions of dollars on government-held properties.
“Taxpayers should not be footing the bills for multiple mansions for politicians when many people are struggling to pay their own mortgages and rents,” said Canadian Taxpayers Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “We hope more politicians promise to sell these expensive properties and get them off of taxpayers’ backs.”
Built in the 1920s by a lumber baron and purchased by the federal government in 1951, the 13 acre Harrington Lake property has four buildings including a rebuilt and newly renamed Farm House, formerly known as the Caretaker’s Cottage, and a 16 room main house which is a colonial revival style mansion with fieldstone chimneys.
Prime ministers have used it as an official summer residence in the past and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family reportedly stays at the property regularly.
When working, Trudeau lives at Rideau Cottage most of the year, which is located next Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s official residence in Ottawa.
The contract for the Harrington Lake renos shows that the feds plan to spend $17 million on the updates to the property.
For that amount of money taxpayers could instead purchase Chad Kroger and Avril Lavigne’s Los Angeles mansion, NHL star Corey Perry’s London home, Halle Berry’s Laurentian cottage and a luxury cottage in the Muskokas near Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn and they would still have about $200 thousand left over.