Canadian Prime Minister`s Trip To World Economic Forum Costs Taxpayers $700,000

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds himself in the political hot seat again after revelations that his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this past January cost taxpayers almost $700,000.

The total cost of the Prime Minister’s three-day trip to the World Economic Forum was $678,000 – the bulk of the cost for hotels, office and room rentals, as well as transportation, according to figures tabled in Parliament. However, not all amounts associated with the trip have been publicly reported yet.

The cost of flying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his delegation on a government jet from Ottawa to Zurich was almost $200,000, the documents show. The RCMP requires prime ministers to fly on government aircraft for security reasons.

Opposition Members of Parliament questioned whether the trip produced tangible results for Canadian taxpayers who are worried about their pensions, student debt and medical expenses.

“Davos is such a symbol of the super powerful hanging with the super powerful, to no discernible benefit to ordinary people,” NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said. “So spending that much money is really not justifiable.”

Mr. Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef attended this year’s World Economic Forum, where billionaires, celebrities and world leaders gather each January to discuss business, politics and go skiing.

Mr. Trudeau gave a keynote speech at this year`s World Economic Forum, saying Canada will not slash taxes and regulatory red tape to compete with the United States under President Donald Trump, and calling on corporate executives to put workers before profits. Mr. Trudeau also met with business executives in Davos, including the chief executives of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM, and participated in a panel discussion with activist Malala Yousafzai.

The Prime Minister’s Office defended the trip, pointing to investments made after Mr. Trudeau’s meetings with business and world leaders.

“The recent visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos provided an invaluable platform for the Prime Minister to promote Canadian interests and Canadian values on the world stage,” spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro said in an e-mail to Ottawa-based media.

Ms. Catenaro said the trip delivered investments such as $500-million from UPS to create 1,000 jobs; $400-million in 5G technology to create 4,000 jobs; and $2-billion over five years from tech company Salesforce.

But according to the recently released travel documents, Global Affairs Canada spent $422,804 on hotels, office and room rentals and telecommunications for Mr. Trudeau and the Canadian delegation. Costs for Mr. Trudeau’s first trip to Davos in 2016 were reported by the CBC to total more than $850,000. Mr. Trudeau did not attend the World Economic Forum in 2017.

Mr. Trudeau has come under political fire for his travels before, including a recent trip to India and for vacationing on a private island with the Aga Khan.