While many Canadians haven’t been able to travel out of the country for years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and others haven’t been able to travel due to passport renewals being caught in bureaucratic limbo, Canada’s jet-setting prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has flown to Costa Rica for a family vacation.
I don’t begrudge the prime minister a vacation. He is working in a high-stress role and deserves personal time with his family as much as anybody else does. It is the tone-deaf hypocrisy of Trudeau that galls a person. While the rest of the country is being told to tighten their belts and reconsider their lifestyle choices to battle climate change, the prime minister continues a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption as he seems to spend more time airborne for trivial reasons than he does on the ground.
Trudeau’s last family trip to Costa Rica cost taxpayers $57.000 in flight costs even before the cost of housing the flight crew for the visit was accounted for. The emissions created for one trip on Trudeau’s private jet is more than the average family will likely create in a lifetime of vacations. Is the fight against climate change truly one that we all are taking part in or not?
Nobody expects the prime minister to pack the family into a compact car and travel through the Ottawa region while staying in roadside motels. Still, he would be well-served to tone down the luxury living while we enter a period of austerity due to record-breaking inflation and climate-change policies adding to the cost of living.
The prime minister has exclusive access to a taxpayer-funded mansion with several private, secured acres on Harrington Lake just North of Ottawa. Taxpayers spent an eye-popping $11.7 million renovating the estate since 2019. Is the space still not adequate and luxurious enough for the Trudeau family? Apparently not. If he won’t use it, perhaps it should be listed on Airbnb so the taxpayers who paid for it can have the opportunity to enjoy the space and we can recover some costs.
Demonstrations of moral hypocrisy can take down even the most popular of leaders—particularly when citizens are suffering. Just ask Boris Johson. It took some time but the do as I say, not as I do actions of Johnson and his staff at 10 Downing Street during the height of the pandemic caught up to him and led to his resignation. While citizens remained locked down in the spring of 2020 at great social and financial expense, it was revealed that Johnson was holding parties with his staff and selected guests. The public never forgave him, nor should they have.
Inflation is continuing to pressure Canadians and a possible recession is looming as interest hikes continue to pressure the economy. The carbon tax and proposed fertilizer reductions add costs to needs such as energy and food. Those policies are ostensibly being put in place to battle climate change, but if the prime minister won’t make personal sacrifices to reduce emissions, why should anybody else? When citizens realize they are being singled out to take the brunt of emission reduction policies while their political leadership won’t, they will eventually revolt.
Effective leadership means leading by example. It is easier to accept legislation and pressures to change our behaviour when we see our leaders doing the same.
My father caught and punished me several times for smoking when I was young. His opposition to my smoking would have been much more effective in making me quit had he not been smoking over a pack a day himself. I don’t blame him for the years I was a smoker, but he didn’t have a hope of convincing a rebellious young man of changing habits when he couldn’t demonstrate the same willpower.
Justin Trudeau’s plans to fight emissions will be doomed to failure if he can’t reduce his own excesses. How can he be taken seriously when he travels across the country on a private jet for photo opportunities for things as trivial as picking cherries in BC?
Citizens will forgive and forget many things. Electors let Trudeau off the hook for his former serial habit of appearing in blackface at events. People let the wafts of corruption slide over the WE Charity affair. Voters even overlooked the conflict of interest in Trudeau’s trip to Aga Khan’s private island though it was found to be a violation of government ethics rules. Canadians are some of the most forgiving people on the planet.
Hypocrisy is where many draw the line, however. If people don’t feel we are all in it together, they will turn on Trudeau. His “let them eat cake” attitude could be what ends his tenure as prime minister when it seemed nothing else could get to him.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.