Conservatives call for ethics probe into Trudeau’s Jamaica vacation

Click to play video: 'Trudeau’s plane breaks down during Jamaica family vacation'
Trudeau’s plane breaks down during Jamaica family vacation
The military aircraft that brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Jamaica for a family vacation had a maintenance issue prior to his planned return to Canada this week, prompting a second plane to be flown to the Caribbean island, the Department of National Defence said Friday – Jan 5, 2024

The Conservatives are calling on the interim conflict of interest and ethics commissioner to launch a probe into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s holiday in Jamaica.

Opposition parties were already criticizing Trudeau earlier this week for spending his holiday at an oceanfront villa in Jamaica at no cost, as first reported by the National Post. Rooms go for about $9,300 per night, according to the resort’s website.

Had Trudeau paid out of pocket, the nine-night stay would be believed to have cost nearly $84,000.

Prospect Estate and Villas located near Ocho Rios is owned by businessman Peter Green. The Green family has known Trudeau for decades, and Trudeau has faced criticisms and questions about stays at the same resort in the past.

In a letter to the interim commissioner Konrad von Finckenstein, Conservative MP Michael Barrett said there were “serious ethical concerns” about the vacation, saying the resort stay was “not the equivalent of staying at a friend’s home, in a guest house on a wealthy friend’s property, or even a personal home which might be rented out periodically.”

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Last week, the prime minister’s office said in a statement the trip had been cleared by the ethics commissioner, and originally said he would continue to reimburse the equivalent of a commercial airline ticket for his personal travel and that of his family.

But earlier this week, the PMO clarified that Trudeau and his family stayed “at no cost at a location owned by family friends,” after it originally told The Canadian Press the family was paying.

In his letter, Barrett raises concerns that as the resort would be “forgoing substantial revenue” by allowing a free of charge stay, the holiday was “a gift – and a very substantial gift at that.”

He goes on to note that the Conflict of Interest Act makes it clear that no public office holder or family member “shall accept any gift or other advantage … that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the public office holder in the exercise of an official power, duty or function.”

Click to play video: 'Trudeau reiterates vacation stay at villa in Jamaica was not $80k gift, but belongs to family friends'
Trudeau reiterates vacation stay at villa in Jamaica was not $80k gift, but belongs to family friends


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Barrett called on the PMO to release all communication about the trip made with von Finckenstein’s office.

This is not the first time Trudeau faced criticism for his trips, including to the same resort.

The Green family also donated to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in 2021. Last year, the charity came under scrutiny following revelations that a businessman with ties to Beijing donated $200,000 to the foundation.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau’s Jamaica family holiday facing scrutiny'
Trudeau’s Jamaica family holiday facing scrutiny

The prime minister has said he has not been involved with the charity since becoming leader.

Trudeau’s last Caribbean getaway cost taxpayers around $162,000, with most of it going to security and personnel costs for the RCMP and Royal Canadian Air Force.

At the time, the prime minister’s office said he paid the “equivalent of a commercial airline ticket for himself and his family” which is “standard practice.”

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The ethics commissioner also cleared that trip.

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