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

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read