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Trudeau says family personally invited to state dinner by Obama; taxpayers footed bill

Trudeau hammered over bringing his mother-in-law on White House visit
WATCH ABOVE: Trudeau hammered over bringing his mother-in-law on White House visit

OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau says his mother and his in-laws were personally invited by President Barack Obama to attend a state dinner at the White House.

And he’s not denying that taxpayers footed the bill for those family members, who were part of a large delegation accompanying the prime minister during his first visit to the U.S. capital in March.

It was revealed last week that 44 people were part of the delegation, at a preliminary cost of just over $25,000, with some invoices and expense claims still to be tallied.

Trudeau defends the expense, arguing that the three-day visit marked the first time in almost 20 years that a president threw a state dinner in honour of a Canadian prime minister.

He says the size of the delegation was meant to underscore his long-standing view that there is no more important international relationship for Canada than its unique connection with the United States.

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Trudeau notes that Obama praised his mother, Margaret Trudeau, during the state dinner for her work on mental health issues and he says that “very positive moment” signalled a rapprochement in Canada-U.S. relations after a chilly period under his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper.