Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, and children Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien (right) watch election results in Montreal on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. Both Prime Minister Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer are fighting off criticism they’re asking Canadians to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19 than they’re willing to do themselves.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Do as we say, not as we do? Trudeau, Scheer forced to defend family trips

Scheer flew family to Ottawa, Trudeau joined his for Easter

Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer fended off criticism Tuesday that they’re asking Canadians to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19 than they’re willing to do themselves.

Both men defended family trips that appeared to flout the physical distancing measures they’ve spent weeks imploring people to uphold.

Trudeau travelled from Ottawa into Quebec over the weekend to meet up with his family at their official country residence of Harrington Lake.

Non-essential travel in Canada has been restricted for weeks, and Quebec authorities began earlier this month to implement provincial border checks in a bid to stop recreational travellers into the province. They also asked people to stay away from their cottages.

Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their three children had gone to Harrington Lake in late March, once she recovered from COVID-19 and their isolation period ended. Trudeau stayed behind in Ottawa.

Trudeau dodged questions on how his trip could be considered in keeping with those measures.

“After three weeks of my family living up at Harrington, and me living here, I went to join them for Easter,” he said Tuesday outside his Ottawa residence at Rideau Cottage.

“We continue to follow all the instructions of public health authorities.”

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border restrictions won’t be lifted any time soon, says Trudeau

Scheer travelled with his five kids and spouse onto a government jet from their home in Regina to Ottawa.

The plane had been dispatched to ferry Scheer, the Green party’s Elizabeth May and Liberal cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough back to Ottawa for an extraordinary sitting of Parliament on Saturday to pass the latest iteration of the government’s financial aid package.

But with extra seats available, the decision to have the rest of the Scheer family join made sense, he said.

Parliament is scheduled to resume as a whole on Monday, though whether or not that will actually happen is up for debate.

Still, Scheer said the plan is for his family to be in Ottawa for the balance of the spring session. Otherwise, he’d have to commute back and forth. If they turned down the invite for the government flight, they’d have to transit through multiple airports to reach Ottawa.

“We took disinfectant wipes, we didn’t interact with each other,” he said.

“We kept to ourselves.”

May said she thought it would just be the three politicians onboard, but received a call from the Prime Minister’s Office saying Scheer wanted to bring his wife and children.

May said they told her she could say no, as physical distancing would be impossible.

But May said she couldn’t imagine Jill Scheer having to cart five kids through airports when they couldn’t touch anything.

“I can’t be the person who says no,” she said.

May said she felt pretty safe during the flight and was sitting at the front with Qualtrough while the Scheer family sat together in the back.

— with files from Mia Rabson.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Andrew ScheerCoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Most Read