Prime Minister Justin Trudeau infamously told a group of women at a Liberal fundraiser that “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”
Trudeau’s trip to China last year cost much more than a dime but might indicate his continued admiration for this “basic dictatorship.” At $1.8 million, Trudeau can now say that he tops another list: that of the most expensive trips taken by Canadian prime ministers in the last 10 years.
CBC News obtained the financial fall-out from Trudeau’s 10-day trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong to attend the G20 summit last September. The China trip, which also included an itinerary of meetings with Chinese business and political leaders, cost Canadian taxpayers $1.8 million.
Trudeau isn’t the only Canadian leader fond of spending money in China. Even former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper ran-up a $1.7 million tab while he toured Beijing and Hong Kong for six days — making him the runner-up in the most expensive trip category for the last decade.
But the cost of both trips combined still pales with the tab racked-up by former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2001, when he brought along his “Team Canada” compatriots for an 11-day, all-expenses paid excursion that was yet another get acquainted session for Canadian and Chinese business interests. Cost of this trip of a lifetime: $6.7 million.
Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin also spent $2 million on a China trip but that included stops in Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan.
Trips to China — despite having some of the lowest wages in the world — are the most expensive for any Canadian PM.
For example, Trudeau managed to attend the Paris climate conference on a relatively penurious $1 million. He even managed to spend some time in the U.K. too.