Oh man, CTV News thought they had a scoop! No, not the one about the warning to Hydro One that one of their computers might have Russian malware on it, I mean the other scoop. The one where CTV found out where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family went on holiday! We got him!!! [Crickets.] We’ve heard a lot about fake news lately, but crowing about the indepth investigation to find out where the PM’s sitting in idle for a weeks blurs the line between “news” and “you call this news?” Sure, it’s nice to know where Trudeau’s at, but you’re not Woodward and Bernstein with an atlas, CTV.
Let’s put aside the question of should we know where the prime minister vacations? Yeah, sure. Why shouldn’t we know where Trudeau is hanging his hat for a couple of weeks? If something were to happen in Canada, a situation where we would need to see and hear the prime minister reacting, it would be nice to know, even in general details, where he’s at because it would inform how long it might take for him to back to Ottawa, or to wherever a crisis might need him to go. But this is not the same thing as how American reporters follow the president to wherever he’s vacationing. The president can launch a nuclear war from wherever he or she is. Can the Canadian PM? Are we vastly underestimating his authority?
For the last two years, there’s been this obsession with the Trudeau family Christmas vacation, which might be fun if that had the words “National Lampoon’s” in front of it. But as far as I know, no one’s been electrocuted and Justin’s never had his head stuck up a turkey, so chances are it’s a regular holiday. So I’ve got to ask, did Stephen Harper ever go on vacation? Because damned if I know. There were no TMZ photos of the Harper family relaxing on a beach enjoying some sun and surf. So far as I know, Harper never went on vacation. He just quietly sat at his desk quietly until Parliament started up again, or until he had to make a public appearance. What ever came first.
Of course, Harper went on vacation! But who gave a crap? I don’t! Just as I don’t care that Trudeau want on vacation. If I rack my brain, the only thing that bothers me about this entire situation is that Trudeau is another one of these nimby whiners that can’t stand a little snow and cold. While the old Governor-General braved a new year’s blizzard on Parliament Hill to kick-off Canada’s 150th birthday year, Trudeau sent a tape while doing the resort thing in Nassau, Bahamas. I realize the PM can’t be everywhere and everything to everyone, but the least he can do is not be a snowbird on Canada’s sesquicentennial.
So fine, Trudeau is a nimby. As soon as decorum allows, he’s on a plane to somewhere several degrees more tropical than Ottawa, or Papineau. Again, who cares? We know that the reporters do! It was such a big priority they put their own holiday plans on hold to badger the PMO press office till they darn well told the media where Trudeau was. It’s important, because the taxpayer is footing the bill for Trudeau’s beach adventures like he’s some Korean Kim enjoying good times while the people starve! I can’t wait to hear what the Canadian Taxpayer Federation has to say about this…
“Should Canadians know which country he’s in? Probably. Do we need readouts six times daily about where he ate lunch and what leisure activities he engaged in? I don’t think so,” Canadian Taxpayer Federation national director, Aaron Wudrick told Global in a not-so-sick burn. So we’ve got to ask ourselves, if the Canadian Taxpayer Federation doesn’t want a piece of this, just how far off the beaten path have we strayed.
Look, there’s a point to be made that the prime minister should be weary of how he spends public money, or at least the appearance of being weary. Yes, the Challenger jet that the PM and family flies in costs $10,000 per hour of flight time to maintain, but while it sits idle at an airport in the Bahamas, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it would stand idle for a week costing money no matter where the Trudeaus went on vacation. During Trudeau’s St. Kitts and Nevis sojourn last year, the cost of keeping the jet and crew on standby, plus the prime minister’s security detail, for nine days cost over $100,000, but is the point that CTV is trying to make that if Trudeau had stayed home, then that number would be $0?
Should we know how much an expenditure like this should cost? Of course, transparency serves its own interest and we deserve to know everything that the government does or spends money on, but let’s not pretend the prime ministerial security is some kind of perk. Jean Chrétien, after once getting ringed for his own Christmas vacation to a golf resort in Florida, said that he might as well fly commercial, which, for security reasons, he couldn’t. No prime minister can. And let’s be honest, if something were to happen to the prime minister or his family, the same media that shakes its finger at RCMP officers in Hawaiian shirts would be losing their minds about why the Mounties weren’t doing their jobs better.
This is the game we play, we attack a story and ignore the fact that the alternative is just as unreasonable. Should the PMO stop being so sensitive? Yes, the Trudeaus will undoubtedly still be enjoying a private vacation if it just came out and said the first family is in the Bahamas because what’s CTV going to do? Send a reporter down there, over Christmas, to scour the island for them and only get so far as the front gate of whatever private resort they’re staying at? No, they’re not going to do that. The scandal is that they could stop the scandal from the beginning because, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, the Canadian Taxpayer Federation is right.