Trudeau Dodges Questions on Cost of His Stay at Luxury Villa During New Year’s Jamaica Trip

Opposition leaders peppered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with questions in the House of Commons on April 18 about the cost of his stay several months ago at a luxurious estate in Jamaica owned by donors to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, but Trudeau provided no monetary figures in response.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre referenced figures released by cabinet in an Inquiry of Ministry in March that showed the federal government spent over $160,000 on a weeklong trip to Jamaica that Trudeau and his family took over the holiday season from late December 2022 to early January 2023.

Expenses included accommodation and security costs but did not specify where the prime minister and his family stayed during the vacation.

However, a CBC/Radio-Canada report published April 18 said the Trudeau family stayed at the Prospect Estate and Villas—a property owned by Peter Green’s wealthy family that has been friends with the Trudeaus since the 1970s and that also made a sizable donation to the Trudeau Foundation two years ago.

Poilievre said during question period on April 18 that accommodation prices at the Prospect Estate reach as high as $9,000 per night. He asked if the prime minister paid for the trip himself or billed taxpayers.

The previous Inquiry of Ministry said that accommodation costs for the prime minister and his entourage during the trip to Jamaica totalled just under $30,000, while per diems amounted to over $3,680.

“This prime minister wants us to believe that these Trudeau Foundation donors offered him a $9,000-a-night vacation for nothing,” said Poilievre.

“We know nothing is free. … This is about influence and power for the super rich,” he added.

“Why won’t he answer how much did he pay in accommodation per night at this luxurious villa?”

Trudeau responded by saying that his family has been friends with the estate’s owners for 50 years and that his father, former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, was “godfather to one of their kids” and “their father was godfather” to one of Trudeau’s brothers.

“This is 50 years of friendship,” the prime minister said, adding that the federal ethics commissioner approved the trip beforehand.

Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet also questioned Trudeau about his trip and asked if the prime minister was aware of the Green family’s donation to the Trudeau Foundation prior to his stay at their villa.

Blanchet also asked if Trudeau paid out of pocket for the accommodations, but the prime minister would not answer.

“Our families have been friends for 50 years,” Trudeau replied. “And when one has a friend, one often goes to visit them.”

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