Michael Harris writes that the Conservative communications strategy for the next election is pretty clear. They plan to stage a full court Trumpian Press:
To portray the PM as a trust-fund aristocrat who hasn’t got the foggiest idea of how ordinary people live. Not a man of the people, but of the beautiful people. Not a weekend cottage kind of guy, but a holiday buddy of the Aga Khan kind of guy.
You can see that strategy at work in Andrew Scheer's reaction to the $7500 swing set Trudeau bought for his kids and had installed at Harrington Lake:
The way Conservative leader Andrew Scheer raised the subject, you would think that Trudeau had taken the money straight out of the Mint to splurge on his brood’s private playground.
The reality check here would normally be to simply state the facts. Trudeau personally paid for the swing set, charging taxpayers $1,800 for its installation, as per National Capital Commission rules. Presumably when he leaves as prime minister, the swing set stays — along with the sauna (also paid for by Trudeau), and the refurbished deck and floating dock.
All of those things will become part of history -- just like the architectural remnants Mackenzie King left on the property.
The real problem the Conservatives have in painting Trudeau as a spendthrift is that, on that score, Trudeau can't hold a candle to Stephen Harper:
The Conservatives have also roasted Trudeau for the profligacy of his February trip to India. The $1.5 million price tag for this ill-fated journey, included more than $17,000 to fly in a Vancouver chef. The guy whipped up a couple of doubtlessly delicious meals for mucky-mucks attending an official reception at the Canadian High Commission.
It also cost nearly half a million dollars to staff and fly the government Airbus that took Trudeau and his retinue from Canada to India.
Trudeau may have flown in a vanity chef on his nine-day sojourn to India, but former PM Stephen Harper blew $3.9 million during two trips to the same destination, one in 2009 and a second in 2012, which totalled nine days as well.
Part of Harper’s obscene travel bill was to fly in his own armoured and bullet-proof vehicles — two Cadillacs and an SUV.
Missing in Conservative screeds alleging prime ministerial excess is the fact that Trudeau used vehicles provided by the Indian government. At $58,000, that was quite a bargain compared to Harper’s million-dollar motorcade.
Trudeau can be criticized for many things. But, when it comes to spending money for his personal comfort, the guy who came before him is not the paragon the Conservatives will claim he was.
The Right these days is not principled. But it is shameless. So be prepared.
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