As a matter of principle I believe that members of parliament, including ministers and even the prime minister, have a right to privacy. They have agreed to serve us, not to be our slaves, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They are entitled to some free time, some family time and to some “freedom” from relentless media scrutiny … so long as they play by the rules.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau felt that the rules didn’t apply to him and now the media, and many Canadians, are suspicious of his latest vacation. His office refuses to provide details, and if it was Prime Minister Harper or Prime Minister Chrétien or Prime Ministers Mulroney, Trudeau senior, Diefenbaker or Pearson the matter would, most likely, not arise at all … but Justin Trudeau is not like any of his predecessors; he is, as the linked National Post article says, “the first prime minister ever to have [been] found to have violated the [Conflict of Interest] act.” Every other prime minister in Canadian history managed to take “ethical” vacations. He has, now, had to promise to clear all his vacations with the parliamentary ethics office … that’s a new low for Canadian leaders, even for Liberal Party of Canada leaders who gave us e.g. the sponsorship scandal in the 1990s and early 2000s. It seems that nothing much changes with the Grits … except the faces.
Given Prime Minister Trudeau’s difficulties in managing his own personal affairs, even his family vacations, in an adult, ethical manner he, and we, ought not to be surprised when the media wonders if this most recent trip is “kosher.” It’s a pretty sad state of affairs … but almost 40% of Canadians decided that a totally unprepared trust-fund kid should hold the highest elected office in the land, all because too many of them were tired of the competent, honest but painfully introverted guy.
I think the answer to our dilemma is to change … back to honest, competent political leadership. Then we wouldn’t have to worry if our prime minister was breaking the rules when he went on a March Break holiday with his family.