EDITORIAL – Trudeau’s Easter weekend set bad example in COVID-19 fight

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

A BIG PART OF LEADERSHIP is setting a good example.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to do that on the Easter long weekend as he said one thing, then did something else.

While the rest of us were staying home, just like he told us to do, he hopped in a cavalcade and drove to Harrington Lake — the prime minister’s summer retreat — to spend Easter with his wife and kids.

We have to acknowledge that Trudeau had been separated from his family for the past three weeks, has been working his butt off seven days a week and had showed exceptional leadership by isolating at his Ottawa home.

He has been a voice of calm resolve during the COVID-19 crisis. But then he blew it.

It doesn’t matter that it’s only a half-hour drive from Ottawa to the Harrington Lake house in Quebec. It doesn’t matter that he deserved a break and that he deserved to visit with his family for a couple of days.

What matters is that he told us: “During the long weekend, we will all have to stay home. We cannot have gatherings for dinner and we’ll have to be creative to organize an Easter egg hunt inside the house.”
And then ignored his own dictum and went off to the lake and held an Easter egg hunt — outside.

Did the Trudeaus put anyone at risk by doing that? Not likely. Maybe less than Conservative leader Andrew Scheer packing a nine-seater government jet full of family and a couple of other MPs for a flight to Ottawa, and claiming social distancing rules were maintained.

But it’s certainly disappointing. Trudeau set a terrible example.

You gotta wonder if he ever he ever asks himself, how would that look?

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8582 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on EDITORIAL – Trudeau’s Easter weekend set bad example in COVID-19 fight

  1. L Dawne Taylor // April 16, 2020 at 2:44 PM // Reply

    I think you’re out to lunch on this one Mel. Trudeau saw his family, wife and kids, from whom he has been separated for weeks – and working his butt off during those weeks. Cut the guy some slack.

    Not so for Scheer – no reason to fly his wife and 5 kids to Ottawa for the weekend, endangering other MP’s. He needs to be scolded indeed.

  2. John Noakes // April 16, 2020 at 9:46 AM // Reply

    This is kind of a tough call.
    One might be apt to look at the decision for a mother to leave with her youngsters to go to another Province to reside at what might be called a second residence instead of staying at the primary residence with her husband.
    If there was an “oops”, was it made when she & the kids left or when Dad went to see them for a long weekend in a different province?

  3. Sherry Balachanoff // April 16, 2020 at 9:17 AM // Reply

    I agree with Mel. He is warning people to stay at home, don’t go to your cottages as it puts a strain on the hospitals in these small communities and the population in these areas even if you are not sick. To stay home. Same when his wife finally got the clean bill of health why she left with the children to go to their cottage. The word is stay at home. Do as I say, not what I do mantality.

  4. Marcus Lowe // April 16, 2020 at 9:02 AM // Reply

    What is interesting in this article is the inclusion of opposing parties’ possession and allocation of resources. Common people possess neither cavalcades nor jets and so could not physically have the choices listed above and that is a stark reality.

  5. I think you are wrong. There have never been any restrictions about going home from work to see your immediate family. He has young kids – he’s not sick, he’s low risk and there is no need to isolate away from immediate family in his case. It would not be appropriate for him to stay away from his kids and wife for months depending how long restrictions are in place. That isn’t what public health officials are asking people to do. He didn’t put anyone at risk to do it, as far as I can tell.

    What Scheer imposed upon the other two MPs was really different. It was not fine to ignore social distancing outside of the family unit and put his colleagues and family at risk. It sounds like the situation was relatively low risk but it wasn’t necessary. It was better for his family, in some ways, but could have hurt others or his kids.

    • The problem with Trudeau joining his family is that it is not like an ordinary person going home. When he goes anywhere he has an entourage of people along with him, drivers, body guards, etc. I am sure he has a staff of cooks and cleaners at his residences. These people also have families and outside contacts, so the chances of infection are there for his family as well as theirs.

    • Exactly! He went home to his family and stayed home! Just like any other person would have done after work, providing it was safe to do so! There is little doubt in my mind that so many who judge here, would have done exactly the same thing! It was safe for him in all ways to go home, so he did! Get over yourselves, people!

  6. Now I find this editorial a bit ridiculous. We don’t know details but it is safe to assume he took precautions and went to see and be with his own immediate family. The bad example is set, in my opinion, by the ones that are panicking.

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