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The Trudeaus Take Vacation — Baggage in Tow

OTTAWA, Ont. — Justin Trudeau’s vacations always make headlines.

So even as he heads off the grid to an undisclosed location in British Columbia for a week of west-coast R&R, Canadians know to anticipate news.

The Canadian prime minister is traveling with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and their kids in a new configuration — the couple are officially separated but have publicly committed to co-parenting.

The Canadian Press reports that the Trudeaus will foot the bill for their stay, and have cleared their jaunt with the federal ethics commissioner’s office — to-do list details that the prime minister’s past getaways have made compulsory.

Unlike President Joe Biden, who travels to the beach with White House reporters in tow, Canada’s prime minister is not expected to vacation with the press pool. The Prime Minister’s Office typically releases scant information about the getaways.

Even so, details get out.

On his first vacation as prime minister in 2015, Trudeau and his family got the TMZ treatment after traveling to Paradise Beach Resort in St. Kitts & Nevis.

The next year, he and an entourage landed on a private island in the Bahamas to stay with the Aga Khan — a close, personal friend. The trip became the subject of a 66-page report in which a government watchdog identified the ethical faceplant for what it was: an exclusive getaway with a man whose foundation lobbied the government, and received millions in federal funding.

There was also a post-election trip in 2021 to Tofino, B.C., which coincided with Canada’s first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a date established to recognize the dark legacy of the country’s treatment of Indigenous people and First Nations communities.

The prime minister had been invited to spend the day at Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, a community that made international headlines after announcing the discovery of what is thought to be 200 unmarked graves of children who died there while attending residential school.

The prime minister’s airplane flew over Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc that day, but only en route to some time off in Tofino on Vancouver Island. Trudeau would later own up to the screw up. “I regret it,” he told reporters.

There have been other trips outside Canada — to Florida, to Jamaica, twice to Costa Rica. But at least those flights were relatable: When it’s cold, Canadians fly south.

Any Trudeau travel is a guaranteed talker. A litany of snafus and receipts have seen to that. Canadians want to know where he’s going, with whom he’s partying, how much it’ll cost taxpayers, and whether or not he’ll come to regret it.

Critics can’t resist digging up the literal receipts — trip expenses that include the staff and security that trails Trudeau and his crew wherever they go surfing and otherwise kick back.

In 2021, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation revealed the total cost of the Trudeaus’ 16-day Christmas escape to Costa Rica in 2019: C$196,137.

The prime minister’s 2023 summer vacation comes with extra baggage since he and Grégoire Trudeau recently shared news of their split after 18 years of marriage.

They’re now en route to B.C., so cue national debate about how, and where, they should spend their personal time.

Should Trudeau foot the bills? Should taxpayers? The only thing Canadians can agree on is that arguing about a prime minister’s personal time is a time-honored tradition.