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

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

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
‘Horrible’: Number of positive tests in Elk Valley on the rise

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

(File Photo)
Fernie Heritage Library plans Family Literacy Day events

The Fernie Heritage Library is hosting a number of programs to get kids excited about reading

The City of Fernie's pilot snow plow program is ongoing through the 2020-21 winter season. (Soranne Floarea / The Free Press)
Changes coming to Fernie snow plow efforts

Curb-to-curb plowing will be the most obvious change after the next snowfall in Fernie

Dustin Denham, Colin Standish, Jennifer Sliva, Jennifer King, and Cindy Sleeman rode to the Montane Hut to celebrate Fernie Fatbike Day. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
First ever Fernie Fatbike Day gets local tires spinning

The FMBC’s inaugural event spread the Fernie fatbike stoke all over local trails on Jan. 16

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read