An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ONE OF THE TRULY amazing things about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is his blind spot when it comes to racking up air miles.
Records show he flew more than 127,000 km. on government aircraft in the last 10 months.
One of his trips was a 3,889 km. flight to Tofino for a vacation last Sept. 30 when he should have been helping Canada celebrate the first Truth and Reconciliation Day.
In a more recent example of the prime minister’s jet-setting ways, he flew from Ottawa to Hamilton, then back to Ottawa, then a couple of days later flew to Victoria, then to Edmonton, then Montreal.
Then it was back to Vancouver and Whistler for a ski trip. The numbers were collected by the National Post and published a few days ago. The newspaper noted that the 10 months of travel are equivalent to three trips around the world.
Nobody expects the prime minister to stay home all the time. Getting out and around the country to meet with Canadians and make announcements of various kinds is part of the job. It should also be noted that he’s had to travel to Europe lately in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Neither should we begrudge him the occasional vacation — Trudeau has the toughest job in the country.
No, it’s his seeming inability to read the room. The National Post investigation reveals a lot of back-and-forth travel that a good travel agent could organize much more efficiently and save the taxpayers some money.
More importantly, though, is the context in which all this is occurring, which is the current energy crisis and the long-term goal of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. It’s a time for leadership, a time for leaders to show personal restraint.
If Trudeau wants us to buy into the message about the urgency of the energy challenge, he needs to send his own message that he’s walking the walk.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.