The price of a speech from Trudeau

So the Liberal leader is going to make amends. Now what?


So Justin Trudeau is going to make amends with any organization that feels it didn’t get its money’s worth when it paid to have him speak at an event. In the specific case of the event in Saint John, I don’t think Mr. Trudeau can really be blamed for the Grace Foundation’s losses—the foundation’s treasurer has conceded that it was Grace’s mistake, not Mr. Trudeau’s and the math ($20,000 paid to Mr. Trudeau, $52 per ticket) does seem difficult to justify—but morally and politically this is surely the right move.

The larger principles at play here are more difficult to resolve.

There is something odd about an elected politician being paid to deliver a speech—speechifying being something they are expected to do in the general carrying-out of their responsibilities as an elected politician. At the same time, of the time period involved—2008 through 2012—Mr. Trudeau was only officially employed as the elected representative of the constituents of Papineau. It was not necessarily his job as the MP for Papineau to deliver speeches anywhere but the House and his riding.

If there’s an argument to justify his speeches to various audiences across the country that might be it—though I’m not sure it quite convinces me. Of course, since he is now leader of the Liberal party, that argument obviously no longer applies, but it doesn’t seem he’s charged for a speech since June 27, 2012.

Complicating matters are two questions. First, should any charitable organizations have been charged for his services as a public speaker? Kevin Newman quibbled with this in the CTV interview, but I’m not familiar with the standard practice in the speaking industry. Second, did he neglect any of his duties as a parliamentarian as a result of his work as a public speaker? Global, for instance, has Mr. Trudeau missing two votes in the House on the day he was giving a speech in Saskatchewan (though I suppose whether the speech caused him to miss the votes or whether he was already out of the House for some other reason might have to be clarified).

The Conservatives, of course, might have to explain their own position on this issue given the previously reported speeches of senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy, Larry Smith and Jacques Demers.

Beyond the specifics of whether parliamentarians should be paid for delivering speeches, whatever the circumstances, there is the larger question of whether MPs should be able to derive any income beyond what they are paid by the public treasury. In the abstract, that’s what Mr. Trudeau was doing. Before being elected, he was employed, in part, as a public speaker. And he continued to do such work after being elected. By one count, in 2010, 151 of 308 MPs had some other source of income—here is Glen McGregor’s complete tally of filings.

In that sense, it’s harder to draw a line. You could attempt to ban all MPs from deriving any other income beyond the salary and any bonuses they receive as a parliamentarian. But then you’d have to accept the possibility that some worthy individuals might not be willing to seek office as a result. And you’d have to deal with the argument made here by Ned Franks that we’re better off with MPs who maintain such a tangible connection to the outside world.

The better rule would be this: Full and complete disclosure of all other sources of income, including time spent on such endeavours and money earned (down to the cent). If the Conservatives are truly troubled by Mr. Trudeau’s activities, they might include such rules in their rumoured sequel to the Accountability Act.


The price of a speech from Trudeau

  1. I don’t think any duly elected representative of any political stripe, persuasion or level of government, should be allowed to moonlight for pay.

    What else will they accept on the side, preferably in small, unmarked and non-consecutive denominations in an off-shore account?

    The argument that you can’t get good people in office by forcing them to actually do their job is BS. Make up your mind before throwing the hat into the ring. You either get paid a salary to represent your constituents, and get a fat pension for your trouble, or you don’t.

    • So the famed pediatric surgeon Dr. Kellie Leitch shouldn’t be allowed to save childrens’ lives while she’s an MP because she gets paid for it?

      I understand the sentiment, but I think it’s unreasonable and unfeasible to bar parliamentarians from getting paid for work outside Parliament. If anything, doing outside work actually makes them more “normal” in that they deal with the same workforce and face the same employment concerns any Canadian has outside of government.

      I think any MP should have to give full and absolute financial disclosure for their employment and jobs outside of Parliament to the public, but I fully encourage them to engage with the workforce.

      • You say:”So the famed pediatric surgeon Dr. Kellie Leitch shouldn’t be allowed to save childrens’ lives while she’s an MP because she gets paid for it?”

        What complete nonsense you are trying to spout!

        And, no, MP Leitch does not work as a surgeon now that she is an MP!

        And if she would help anyone being injured at an accident, for instance, when Leitch is an MP, she would NOT charge for it!

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          • Your wish would be for me to just simply disappear.

            But why? Why are you so afraid of the truth?

            What do you want to remain hidden?

          • Just echoing your comments, dear Francien!
            The more literate readers here will recognize that I wished for your nonsense to disappear – not you personally. Not necessarily.

            If you had any grasp of “truth” at all, I would embrace it whole-heartedly. Call me a dreamer!

        • Dr Kelly Leitch is a part time surgeon at CHEO,to maintain her medical license.

          (FRancien, you are such a contrarian)

          • And she does NOT get paid for doing that!

            Justin DID get paid a total of $277,000 between Oct 2008 and the end of June 2012 for speaking while skipping the House in session.

          • Prove she doesn’t get paid. Your words ring hollow because you hate Trudeau and love any CPC MP out there.

        • Actually, Dr. Leitch does still in fact practice. She does so to maintain her credentials on top of other reasons. She has stated as much in the past. If she has changed her opinion, or does no longer, then you’ll have to prove it.

          Also, you’ll have to show that she doesn’t “charge for it.”

          In case you couldn’t figure it out, I was defending Dr. Leitch, I think she ought to be allowed to earn money as a surgeon as well as an MP. I see absolutely no problem with that.

          My question is: What is wrong with you? Why are you so adamant in crucifying Justin Trudeau for earning money outside his MP’s duties, and ardently insisting Kellie Leitch does not earn money outside what she is paid for MP’s duties?

          It seems like you’re really twisting and turning on this one, but it’s too late, you already look the fool.

      • If Dr. LEITCH is operating only on children with Conservative connections and enhancing her political career with the Conservatives while being paid by the taxpayer and the medical system at the same time then you have a similar situation.

        • Funny, the chair of the board of the Grace Foundation, the charity that wants its money back from Justin Trudeau, has known Conservative connections. So it seems Trudeau was actually doing paid speaking gigs for people of every political stripe, not just Liberals, or organizations with Liberal connections as you seem to be trying to claim.

    • OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau is one of just
      three MPs – all of them Liberals – to report extra income from speaking
      engagements in the last five years.

      And, in Trudeau’s case, it appears he missed debates, votes and
      possibly one of his party’s caucus meetings so he could earn tens of
      thousands on the speaking circuit.

      Trudeau, speaking to supporters in Bracebrige, Ont., Friday, declined to provide any more details about the issue.

      But in documents he provided to the Ottawa Citizen, he said he had
      been paid $277,000 for 17 speaking engagements since becoming an MP in
      the 2008 general election.

      A QMI agency examination of those engagements founds that nine events
      for which he earned $147,000 were held on days the House of Commons was

      Hansard, the official record of House of Common proceedings shows no
      evidence Trudeau was in the House on the dates of those nine events.

      On April 20, 2012, for example, Trudeau earned $20,000 for a speech
      he gave to Literacy for Life in Saskatoon. In the House of Commons,
      other MPs were debating and voting on a pension reform initiative.

      On Jan. 31, 2009, MPs debated and voted on changes to employment
      insurance benefits. There is no record Trudeau voted on that initiative
      or participated in the day’s proceedings. But he did give a speech that
      day to the Toronto-based group, The Learning Partnership, for which he
      was paid $10,000.

  2. Don’t members of cabinet or the executative have to use blind trusts? If we are going to insist on full accountability and transparency maybe this rule should be expanded to all MPs? Although it seems a bit over the top, and Frank’s point is a good one. Anything that ties MPs to ordinary Canadians is a good thing.
    So half the house has another source of income, and an incentive at least to moonlight when they should be in the House. It seems a little convenient to single out JT on the grounds of his moonlighting as a public speaker, rather than say running a family business on the side. I suspect we have more than one hypocrite in the house when you consider Trudeau voluntarily put his record out there. Be nice to see at least one Tory backbencher take his side of the argument.
    Trudeau has made the right move though. I’m pretty sure the public thinks these guys are already compensated well.

    • Having another source of income does not mean that such income is derived by active participation of the MP in question.

      In fact, Justin, when gathering extra income from speaking engagements could ONLY have been from his ACTIVE involvement, namely delivering the speech for a fee. He could not have delegated such activity.

      MP’s who have stocks, or MP’s who have farm income, can gather such extra income by NOT being actively engaged in those businesses. They don’t have to be there to make that extra income. They did NOT have to skip the House in any case!

      • You’re telling me that over half the House that have income on the side are delegating it. I find that difficult to believe. And I simply don’t get your point – obviously JT couldn’t delegate his speaking engagements. The very reason he was in demand would preclude that. People wanted the genuine article, right!

        • If you don’t believe me, then show me evidence to the contrary!

          Show me all of those 150 some MPs who make money on the side by skipping the House for doing the extra activity for getting extra income. Show me the evidence!

          Otherwise, stop with the unsubstantiated allegations.

          We have evidence that Justin did deliver speeches while skipping the House in session!

          • That’s the number cited in the article. It appears you did not read it before you came here to make a fool out of yourself. If you don;t believe the numbers, it’s your responsibility to prove otherwise and take it up with the author of the story. Kapeesh?

          • I have read the article twice before commenting.

            The article above does NOT state that those other MPs HAVE to be there, actively working for that extra income.

            Justin could NOT have delegated the source of his extra income. ONLY he could do the public speaking for a fee. Not his son, nor his stock broker, nor his secretary!

          • The troll is really hungry today – please do not feed it as it will only encourage it to come back. I know that from experience.

          • I want the truth to come out, regardless of who is trying to hide things.

          • “Truth” is the furthest thing from your mind today.
            Trudeau said quite simply and plainly what he did.
            He is not obliged to explain away your wild-eyed fantasies and accusations.

          • Trudeau is the son of a former Prime Minister. That is why people would listen to him. Trudeau did not earn any credentials as an educator. He didn’t work long enough in the field to have teaching experience that would qualify him to speak on that subject. NO Trudeau was hired simply because of his daddy’s name and the political significance of that.

            Did the charities have Liberal connections?
            What were the charities hoping to get in return?

          • Well it seems like the CPC likes to fill Senate vacancies and all public service vacancies with people like Ms. Buck…

          • What did they get in return? Satisfaction, obviously.
            (Except for the one with faulty math.)

          • It would be simple enough to match up those with a poor attendance record with a secondary source of income. But that wouldn’t necessarily prove anything. Unlike you I’d prefer open disclosure, rather than making assumptions or conducting witch hunts. As AW notes here, it has not been proven conclusively that Trudeau intentionally missed sittings in order to mooight on the side.

          • Trudeau’s whole existence is political.
            Without daddy’s name he would be lucky to have a part time teaching job.

        • Did the charities have Liberal connections?
          What were the charities hoping to get in return?

          Why would a charity hire an up and coming politician and give him $20,000 for speaking for only a few moments?

          Trudeau is the son of a former Prime Minister.
          PAID TWICE
          Once by the taxpayer and once by the Charity.

          $200,000 plus is a lot of money.
          Duffy has received 100 times the media attention for less than half this amount.
          This is far more serious that some old guy plugging his expense account.

          • Why does the name Trudeau cause ordinarily sane people to go off the trolley tracks?

          • What’s serious about it is that by clearing his business activities with the ethics commissioner, and making full financial disclosure, Trudeau set the accountability/transparency bar uncomfortably high for the CPC and the NDP. Obviously, or they wouldn’t be behaving so badly now.

      • Farmer MPs do not put their entire operation into a blind trust. They make decisions about what to plant, where to plant, what to raise if it’s livestock and when to sell.

        • How do you know?

          Have evidence?

          • My Dad’s neighbour is an MP from Alberta.

          • SO?

          • They are friends and share a drink periodically, in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Sometimes, even when the House is sitting.

          • When?


            Real evidence?

            Got none?

            Then stop inventing stories. We already pay for the CBC for inventing false stories!

          • I have stopped feeding trolls. Sorry.

          • Clearly, Francien will only be satisfied with corroborated surveillance videos depicting farmers in the act of farming. Personal experience and logic can’t stand up to such a hard-wired rant in full throttle.

          • Now now, she is not a troll. She is the Royal Mistress of the Irrelevant Interrogatory.

        • My MP owns a farm usually does most of the work during HOCs summer break

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          • You’re neither….just stupid.

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          • No he doesn’t

          • “Most,” but I can assume not all?

    • Paul Martin’s company CSL, while he as Finance Minister, received via taxpayers wallets some $162 million dollars, curiously that is almost the exact amount he owed for the loans to buy the company.

      Go figure.

      • Get that one off Wiki did you, or perhaps you put it up yourself?

    • Too Little
      Too Late

      Did the charities have Liberal connections?
      What were the charities REALLY hoping to get in return?

      Trudeau is the son of a former Prime Minister. That is why people would listen to him. Trudeau did not earn any credentials as an educator. He didn’t work long enough in the field to have teaching experience that would qualify him to speak on that subject. NO Trudeau was hired simply because of his daddy’s name and the political significance of that.

      The upshot of this is that he was paid because he was a “political” figure.
      Once by the taxpayer and once by the Charity.

      $200,000 plus is a lot of money.
      Duffy has received 100 times the media attention for less than half this amount.
      This is far more serious that some old guy plugging his expense account.

      • Hi, Eric:

        “Did the charities have Liberal connections?”
        Well, the charity in question’s vice chair was appointed by Minister James Moore to be on the board of the Museum of Civilization . And the Vice Chair’s daughter works in the PMO. Here’s a lovely photo of mom and daughter in the Prime Minister’s office.
        So, the charity has direct connection to both the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister’s office.

        “What were the charities REALLY hoping to get in return?”
        Money. Which you raise by selling tickets to a speaker people want to see. Bill Clinton charges a million bucks. Pinball Clemons charges $25,000. Mike Duffy charged $10,000. I’ve worked for charities. You hire a speaker. You sell tickets, If you do a good job, you make money.

        • Bill Clinton did not charge a million bucks (or any amount) for his speaking engagements while he was POTUS. Therein lies the difference.

          • Did he give any speeches at a charity fundraiser while POTUS? And last I looked Trudeau isn’t PM or for that matter POTUS.

          • He was probably far too busy to do paid speaking engagements as POTUS.

            It’s interesting that you think a backbench MP from the third largest party in Canada’s House of Commons should be as busy as the POTUS though.

        • Probably uninformed charity who hired Trudeau. They must not have known that in order to have a successful “Trudeau” event you need to have a lot of “Liberal” supporters in your midst.


          NO $20,000 SPEECHES to non partisans outside Canada.

          The only way Junior could be sold in the US would be if they booked him into a left wing audience using his fathers credentials.

          My point is that Trudeau was not a speaker in his own right but in fact a Liberal HACK who can only be successful in “Canadian liberal” connected audiences.

          If we were to look at the promotional material the Speakers Group used to promote Trudeau I would be willing to bet they took full advantage of his daddy’s name and political family mystique.

          NOT QUALIFIED.

          Without the family name and liberal connections this junior Trudeau fellow would be lucky to be teaching school.

          • So, what you’re saying is, I’m right, you’re wrong, and you don’t like Justin Trudeau.

            Nice talking to you.

        • Bill Clinton waiting to retire from public office before he made any speeches for money. I am really glad you brought him up. Perhaps you have heard of the Clinton Foundation and the amount of money it spends on medication for HIV and AIDS treatment in Africa. Perhaps you also know about the work Bill Clinton did during the Tsunami that killed 130 thousand people. If you honestly think that Bill Clinton takes money from charities for speeches, you are losing it.

  3. 1. Kevin Newman said he did not charge fees when speaking for charity events BUT that is beside the point in any case; Kevin Newman is not being paid by the tax payer’s dollars when he works for CTV. Newman does NOT have to justify what he does on CTV time if it is CTV who pays him for working at CTV.

    2.Only two Mp’s have charged for public speaking while sitting as a paid MP. Justin is one of those two (the other one is a Liberal MP also!).

    3.Justin may have done public speaking as part of his job description before he became an MP, but again, that point is moot; Harper was president of the NCC before he was elected MP again. Would it have been acceptable for Harper to have skipped the House when he was an elected MP to then go and continue being president of the NCC? Of course not!

    4. Why did the Liberal Party of Canada not consider the question of Justin’s double dipping practice during the last leadership campaign??

    5.Yes, other MPs make extra income, but such income is not at the cost of skipping the House. When a farmer is elected MP, such MP could still hold on to the farm, but others will then run such farm even though the elected MP who the farm belongs to will benefit from such farm holdings! Furthermore, many other MP’s will have money in the stock exchange, for instance, gaining (or losing) money while those MP’s serve in the House, but THOSE extra incomes (or losses) are not by actively working for gaining such income.

    Justin was ACTIVELY engaged when securing his extra income from speech giving, while other MPs consider giving speeches as to be part of their job!

    Are you trying to convince us that when Justin speaks about the environment and/or education issues, that he then was not talking or thinking as a politician? What then is the difference when Justin speaks on the issues of environment or education when he IS speaking as a paid MP?

    Please advice!

    • Looks like you’re biased against public speakers.

      • YOU are completely missing the point, on purpose!

        Is such practice something to be proud of?

        If so, then be proud of Justin; he, too, tries to deflect the real issue.

        But Justin will have to come clean, fully, whether he likes it or not, or whether YOU like it or not!

        • He did come clean. He’s the only one that did. What planet did you just come from?

          • Justin says the the Ethics Commissioner had cleared him.

            But what Justin is NOT telling us is whether or not HE told the Ethics Commissioner that he would be skipping the House in session for making hefty fees out of giving speeches.

            Furthermore, did Justin tell Dawson that he would be getting paid by schoolboards and universities while skipping the House?

            Justin does understand that schools etc are being funded by tax dollars as well, right, just as his $160,000 MP salary is being paid for by the tax dollar!

        • You seem to enjoy ignoring the fact that he has come clean on this. However, you’re intent on bashing him no matter what he does.

          Why do you hate Justin Trudeau so much? Did he kill your dog or something?

    • Ten to one says farmer MPs take time off in the spring for planting and in the fall for harvesting. Check for yourself.

      • Give me the evidence!

        No evidence = no valid argument.

        Enough of empty allegations doing the rounds!

        • You shoot your mouth of all the time were is all your evidence

          • I am not doing the accusing.

            The ones doing the accusing should present the evidence! Not the other way around!

      • And who cares.
        We need farmers in politics. They add much needed common sense.
        They probably take time off to grow crops but they are not cultivating connections. They are truly earning their money.

        When someone is taking $20,000 for a few moments of work; there might be more going on than meets the eye.

        Mark Carney has value outside Canada.
        I don’t think Trudeau does.

        With no Liberals to harvest outside Canada I doubt Trudeau has ever been paid to speak by business groups in the US, Europe or Asia.
        (unless of course someone was trying to buy some political influence)

    • 4. Why did the Liberal Party of Canada not consider the question of Justin’s double dipping practice during the last leadership campaign??
      Cauchon did challenge him on it, that’s why Trudeau made his speaking income public.

      • So the Liberal party believes it is OK then to skip the House to go out and deliver speeches for some hefty fee?

        If the LPC was fully aware of Justin’s double dipping practices, why then did they condone it by choosing him as their new leader????

        • OK – it’s time to stop feeding the troll!

        • Have you watched what goes on in the House lately? I think skipping out was a hell of a lot smarter than staying in school and having to listen to all that BS. You can’t really balme him.

          • Really? Well I think last week QP was MOST informative.

            If the media is reluctant to report on what Justin has been up to, then why should Canadians be left in the dark?

            Good stuff coming out in QP lately! Keep it coming!

      • Because there’s a difference between assertion and proven fact. Something for all their sins the LPC gets, even if you don’t and never have. Hearsay seems to be the gold standard for you boys. For everyone else it’s got to be a sworn affidavit witnessed by the good lord himself.

    • And don’t forget, Justin also derived another benefit from all of his speaking engagements, besides the money he earned – they helped raise his public profile for an eventual run for the Liberal leadership.

  4. why should they complain they got two for one Edgar Bergen behind him pulling the strings?

  5. what a shame but are we really surprised….seriously?

  6. Trudeau would have done the right thing, showed compassion and generosity, if he had agreed to donate back his speaking fee four months ago, when the seniors charity begged him to.
    He was the only one of the 10 speakers to charge a huge fee, taking 1/2 of the speaking budget for himself.
    ‘Making it right’ now is just damage control.

    • I think he is digging himself a bigger hole!

      Justin does not truly understand what he has done and what he is doing now!

      Stay tuned.

    • Ten speakers at the Grace event? They billed it as a night with Justin Trudeau. By the way, I cannot find this charity on the CRA’s list of registered charities. If anyone else can, let me know.

    • You know no one begged him, right?

      You know that no one forced them to pay Trudeau, right? Whatever happened to being accountable for your own actions? They should have got someone who would speak for free if they wanted someone to speak for free.

      • The point is that when a charity calls, Trudeau should *offer* to speak for free. It’s not that he did anything criminally or ethically wrong, per se. It just speaks to his complete lack of judgement and class.

    • Check your facts Wilson. Only one member of the board complained 9 months after the fact. Why wouldn’t Trudeau be skeptical, apparently no one else was complaining.

    • Good point Sharon.

    • “…taking 1/2 of the speaking budget for himself”? Did Trudeau set the budget? Surely setting the budget & who they were offering speaking fees to was the charity’s responsibility.

  7. Should charities get supplies of food for free? What is a charity even? Some organization that managed to get tax exempt status. Some on this list in Canada would make your hair stand on end. Charging for you speeches serves two purposes. It puts money into your pocket and we all like that. But it also helps the person decide who is serious about really wanting him to speak. Suppose I am invited by the Legion of Suburban Farters and by the Salvation Army to speak at the same time. How to decide? To some degree you want them to show you their money.

    • Legion of Suburban Farters? I’m an old and gassy guy who wants to join. D’ya think Francien could hook me up with the recruiters?

      • Mike, maybe you should look at some of the charities before you make a truly ridiculous comment. Some of those charities are nation wide and do work with the mentally ill and address issues important issues like children’s failure to learn to read.
        You should also realize that IF you are taxpayer, those charities are also likely getting government grants which means the money to pay Justin Trudeau came out of YOUR pocket. That means not only did you pay Justin to sit in the House when he didn’t show up for work but YOU paid him to speak at those charitable functions. YOU, Mike, paid for Justin to get richer. How smug do you feel now?

        • Most charities get zero government cash. Go look it up.
          (“likely getting government grants” is pretty weak, by the way.)

          Those that do get program funding, often used to do things like hire outreach workers, pay for interpreters or hire researchers. Gov grants come with strings, which you pay close attention to if you ever want to get more cash. They expect you to show them where you spent the cash.

          The charities (plural) I worked for in the 90’s and the 00’s used donor money to run events and raise funds, period.

          And if the donors don’t like what you’re doing with their money, they tell you, and they stop donating.

          • My sister works for a seniors’ charity. They run mostly on government grants which they apply for. The building they are in was donated to them by the municipal government in which they are located.

            I am not sure what the point of YOUR comment was. It appears Justin Trudeau accepted money from taxpayer supported charities or Brad Wall wouldn’t have asked him to give back the money for the literacy conference speech and Mr. Mulclair wouldn’t have admonished him for taking money from taxpayer-funded charities. You really think it is better that the hundreds of thousands of dollars Justin Trudeau took for speaking fees were donated in good faith to these charities by ordinary Canadians who likely don’t have anywhere near Justin’s wealth. Fine, I’ll agree that the money to further enrich Justin likely came out of the pockets of hard-working ordinary Canadians. I am sure plenty will stop donating now that they know that.

          • “I am sure plenty will stop donating now that they know that.”

            You’re sure about something you have a singular, second-hand source of info about? Let’s wait and see how the charities fare, shall we? My decade of event planning and charity work says you’ll be wrong.

          • Yes, let’s wait and see.

          • See, that’s a much more reasonable suggestion. Up next, expect to see the exit of the letter writer from her charity board.

          • Oh, what the hell.
            So people may become disillusioned about charities.
            So what. —-as long as I`m defending the indefensible actions of a fluff fool like Justin then who cares about charities ?
            Liberals take Canadians for such fools.

          • Now you’re just trolling. Troll..

    • Canadian Mental Health is a nation-wide completely volunteer run organization that educates and advocates on behalf of the mentally ill who are one of the most marginalized people in our country. That is just one of the charities which Justin Trudeau took $35K from for probably 20 minutes of speaking time. In the meantime, Canadian Mental Health is asking ordinary Canadians to open their wallets and donate their hard earned cash. I just cannot see how the knowledge that the man who would be Prime Minister would not donate 20 minutes of his time is in anyway going to propel people to donate their time and money to this worthy cause. If Justin Trudeau wanted a life in public service, he should have weighed out his actions. He is a celebrity and with that comes some moral responsibility, especially when you have aspirations to lead a nation.

      • Did he take that money at gun point? Was it a registered gun?

        Did the folks who contracted with Trudeau show good judgement in spending the money? Are Volunteers less responsible for bad financial decisions than people who are paid?

        • What would happen if ALL Canadians followed the example of our PM in waiting, Justin Trudeau and NEVER volunteered or gave a cent to charity again? Would we ever have another Olympic games? Would hospitals continue to run? Would food banks and soup kitchens? What would happen to political parties? You think it is okay to have a PM like Justin Trudeau set an example for this country. Well then bring it on and let’s just see what happens.

          • Anyone who models their behaviour on the example of politicians will certainly get the life they deserve. Partisan politics is poisonous to the minds and the principles of those who practice it and those who follow it like soccer hooligans. The benefits for the politicians are at least tangible (although still not worth the sacrifice IMO),. but those who act as partisan boosters get nothing but the dubious pleasures of tribalism.

          • Well I would certainly agree that I wouldn’t want anyone to model their behavior on any of our current politicians but I think Tommy Douglas was a fine example of a decent human being. Sadly, we expect more of our sports heroes like Steve Nash and Jerome Iginla than we do of the people we vote into public office.
            I completely agree that being a partisan political booster is very poisonous and I will never go down that path again. It makes it impossible to honestly exam the behavior of those in public office. I see it time and again in the comment section and I find very troubling in these current comments regarding Justin Trudeau. I cannot understand how Mr. Trudeau could in good conscience accept money to speak at Canadian Mental Health when his own mother was plagued with severe mental health problems her whole adult life. I work in mental health and I see the way these illnesses destroy the lives of our promising young people. It breaks my heart that someone like Justin Trudeau would use his power to make a difference in a way that can only be described as self-serving.

          • I think you’re expecting more from Mr. Trudeau than is reasonable. At the time he was making these speeches he was just another 3rd party MP who was likely considering – but certainly not committed to – running for leadership of his party. He was doing some charity events and he was doing some for-profit events, as he is entitled to do both legally and morally.

            Given perfect hind-sight he might have chosen more wisely. But I’m not prepared to condemn him for making some money for himself and his family. We’re not all communists after all.

          • Didn’t Trudeau do a little strip-tease for charity? Look up some of the CPC attack ads and I think you’ll find some footage. Didn’t Trudeau beat up Patrick Brazeau for charity?

            I think you’re getting a wee bit overwrought.

          • Yes, I guess I will have to give him credit for those two charitable offerings. However, I think Brad Wall was right to nail him for the literacy convention speaking fee. He was a school teacher for goodness sake. If he can’t give of his time to champion literacy, what the hell?

          • I’ve already said that I agree that the optics are bad. But I refuse to condemn a man for selling his services on the open market. A willing seller and a willing buyer are what makes a fair trade, by definition. If I were advising Trudeau, I would urge him to resist the political pressure to reimburse. He earned that money honestly and returning it only feeds into the socialist claptrap that is being peddled by CPC partisans. It’s a strange circumstance when you have people who call themselves Conservatives demanding that political leaders should be as socialist and as selfless as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

            Don’t those frauds believe in ANYTHING?

          • I told you I am not a CPC partisan. I am also telling you that your instinct that the “optics are bad” are correct. Your advice for Trudeau to resist the political pressure to reimburse is completely up to you but from a person who does volunteer her time and money to charity, I can tell you that your advice would sink him in many people’s eyes. It isn’t “socialist claptrap” but rather a belief that there is a nobility in giving of one’s time and money especially when it comes to the haves giving to better the life of the have nots. You might not subscribe to this notion but there are a lot of Canadians who do and many of those who do are Liberals. Think about families like the Kennedy’s in the US. They are all about serving the public through environmental causes and altruistic endeavors as well as through public office. Think about all these rich individuals who are giving half of their fortunes to charitable endeavors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to find cures for AIDS, vaccinate people in developing countries and educate the poor. Altruism is in!
            The whole occupy movement was about disdain for the 1 percent who take, take, take and give nothing back. Well, hate to tell you but Justin Trudeau is part of Canada’s 1 percent. The fact that you can’t see that is incredible to me.

          • Whether or not Trudeau is a member of the 1% is a question I’ll leave for Darryl Bricker and that other guy to debate. Certainly Trudeau is not hurting for his next meal but I think the vast majority of people in Canada don’t resent him his circumstances. The whole occupy movement was a very small fraction of 1% and I don’t think they have much future as a political force.

            I think if you reflect on it, you’ll agree that you are reacting emotionally to a pet cause. Nothing wrong with that, but you shouldn’t assume the whole population reacts the same way.

          • Perhaps the whole population won’t react to MY pet cause but your suggestion that we are a bunch of communists is BS and there are plenty of people who have donated time and money to their own pet causes and they sure didn’t expect that money to go to pay Justin Trudeau a big speaking fee.

          • Read more carefully, I didn’t suggest that you*** are a bunch of communists, I said that many CPC partisans are talking like a bunch of communists, they are hissing at the word “profit” like cats hissing at the rain.

            If you think that Charities should not be paying fees for guest speakers, I’d join in with you on that sentiment. But if you’re arguing instead that one particular charity should not be paying one particular speaker then I’m afraid we part company at that point.

            I find it remarkable that people are so incensed at Trudeau for getting paid, but have no apparent concern with the Charities who paid him so handsomely. Odd that two parties made the deal but only one is being condemned for it.

            (***why do you insist on taking this personally since you’ve stated – and I’ve accepted – that you are not a member of the CPC?)

          • Well I find it odd that you keep talking to me about the CPC when I told you a few times that I am not a CPC or a communist for that matter. I also told you that it wasn’t just about one charity. I also have issues with Trudeau taking money to speak at the literacy conference. You are right. I don’t think charities have to pay people to speak. My guess is that they can get good speakers without paying OR they can get speakers who donate a large amount of their fees to charities. This entire bothers me a lot because I believe that people will be more careful about where they donate their money and time once they know that Canadian politicians are making money off of charities. I don’t think people expect that when they donate.

          • Well, I’ll agree with you there. I don’t think charities should be paying speakers but it seems we are in the minority on that. It’s apparently a big business and a big part of fundraising. But, as I say, I’m pretty suspicious of the entire charity industry in general.

          • We live in interesting times.

          • Latest news in SK: the literacy charity has said it does NOT want any monies back from Mr Trudeau because their event was such a huge success.

            Now, ask yourself why the likes of Brad Wall would have anything to say about this at all. (hint: small man of Canadian politics; lives inside Harper’s pocket; thinks he has a chance to replace harper).

            This is politics. Surely you knew that.

          • Really? So what is it when Brad Wall admonished the federal Conservatives for not paying the bill for a refugees’ cancer meds? Was that politics as well or is all of it just common sense? The feds should pay for the cancer meds and Trudeau should have done the literacy conference for free.

          • The literacy event organizers said they do not want Trudeau’s fees back. Professional event organizers budget for guest speakers.
            The Grace Foundation seems to have only organized one event. One which they claim to have lost money. They have a dead website and facebook page. Meanwhile, they have $700,000 in assets. Something doesn’t smell right. I hope none of their patients are being pressured into anything.

          • Jan, for me something didn’t smell right as soon as I learned Justin Trudeau was earning money speaking to charities. As soon as I saw he made $35K speaking to Canadian Mental Health, I was really bothered. I thought, here is man whose own mother has had life-long devastating mental illness and he can’t GIVE 20 minutes of his time to this very worthwhile charity. No, he charges them for his time. My mother-in-law died of cancer 20 years ago. Since she was first sickened by the illness 25 years ago, I started volunteering my time to fund raising for cancer and I have always donated money to that worthy cause. Do you think that Terry Fox’s mother charged to speak at fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society because I’ll bet she was a big draw. I guess Justin Trudeau feels more entitled than most to earn money off other’s people suffering.

          • Sure, let`s not get overwrought about someone who strives to be a future PM while ripping off charities that are often funded from Canadian paycheques and public funds.

            Let`s forget about the several hundred thousand he took from these organizations and centre on a couple times he stripped for charity.

            Any criticism of Trudeau would be showing that partisan politics are poisonous—-tribal pleasure—sure.
            Let`s go with that story.
            I`m sure Canadians will understand.

          • “Ripping off charities” or “Signing a contract”?

            Seems a case of situational ethics. You don’t like the situation, so you make up new ethics.


          • He took 20000 dollars for a speech at a charity fundraiser that lost 21000 dollars.

            He wants to lead our country.

            You and Igarvin should do like most Liberals at this time .

            It`s very obvious.

            Stop digging.

          • He was paid $20,000 by a charity that hired him so they could sell tickets and raise money.

            They screwed it up, and lost money.

            Why do you hate capitalism?

          • Why do you hate charities ?

          • Troll.

          • I thought he was hired by Grace to speak, not run the event. The organizers were the ones who should be held responsible for losing money. I would love to see the details of this event – something doesn’t smell right.

    • Charity that wants their $ back from Trudeau gets $4,040,956 in govt funding & spends $3,263,046 on Mgmt/Admin!

      I have a feeling this Conservative-connected charity is going to be very scrutinzed — you have seen the photo of one of the charity’s Board in PMO a few months ago, yes?

  8. Income levered out of a charity’s bank account should not be permitted.

    • I think people need to be a little more dubious of “Charity” as an automatic signifier of virtue. The more you look into some of these things, the more you start to feel like a rube for supporting them.

      If you want to help, volunteer. That way you get to see what results from your efforts. If you just sign a cheque you are putting your faith in people you don’t know and should not trust implicitly.

  9. A speech never comes with a warranty nor bears a refund policy. The organization should have watched on TV how Trudeau used to speak in parliament. Grace Foundation could have saved the money, had they done that. Did they call Bill Clinton who is a fabulous speaker?

  10. Paying speakers at charity events is not uncommon.

    As Francis has ably pointed out, we simply do not know anything about the extra income of other MPs, and therefore we are unable to disprove Francis’s theory. Of course Francis cant prove the theory is correct either.

    All this means is that Trudeau is correct – all MPs should disclose all details of their secondary employment. They should all meet the standard set by Trudeau.

    I am sure Francis is writing Harper to demand that right now.

  11. Got to wonder about the lack of talent as regarding Trudeau’s advisors. Legally he did not nothing wrong but the perception that he received $20,000 from seniors for an hours work leaves a bitter taste for many. Should have just refunded the money when approached by the Grace Foundation. This wobbling back and forth does not look good on a potential PM.

    • Really? No one forced any charity or non profit to pay him. Apparently they could have got Kevin Newman or any number of CPC or NDP MPs for free, and yet they chose to pay Trudeau.

      • True however Trudeau’s handlers should has seen this as a risk in the first place if he had not charged a fee and not drawn the crowds it isn’t an issue

        • This happened before he entered the leadership race. His handlers had nothing to do with it.

          • Perhaps this is the reason that Trudeau needs handlers

  12. Telling MPs they can’t earn an income would be difficult when we have some politiicians, as Paul Martin, who are well plugged into large family corporations and investments that earn money for them whether they are actively engaged in the business or not. I know Martin put all his holdings into a trust while he was PM, but how do you tell him to stop his family business from growing for 4 or 8 or 12 years?
    The problems of the wealthy, I know….

    • Blind Trust…………..right.

      Martin kept pulling the Sgt. Shultz routine, what a load of BS.

  13. Having voted on 64% of the items presented in the House, Trudeau is only 1% behind PM Harper. According to the figures published by the Citizen, it seems our party leaders leaders are the least likely MPs to be present for votes.

    • Harper is the leader of the country and has time-consuming responsibilities as a national and international leader.
      Trudeau went to the gym, did fashion shows and took charitable money from foolish and gullible old ladies.

      • Trudeau has leadership responsibilities, too — during the short period in question, he was keeping numerous speaking engagements (unpaid) across the country on behalf of his party, comparable to most senior members of the House. Prior to this period, as an MP, his voting attendance was well over 80%.
        Your characterization of the seniors charity is pretty insulting but, apart from that, all Trudeau did was accept a commercial gig at his published rate through his booking agent. Nobody got tricked or blackmailed into paying him — as a Quebec MP, he had no other reason to be in that part of the country at the time. Doing his job.
        Seems one of Harper’s key “leadership’ responsibilities is to stay out of the country to duck questions about his own party’s behaviour!

        • That`s pretty lame of you to say that the leadership responsibilities of the member for Papineau for the past 5 years would in any way be comparable to that of the sitting PM of the country.

          But, go ahead and make excuses for this greedy little socialist.
          The hypocrisy of him taking money from naive organizers of a charity to supplement his generous MP income not to mention his found money-inheritance, is only exceeded by the cheerleading hypocrisy of people like you who lack the principles to condemn him for these actions.

          Now before you mention Duffy—-I have always said Duffy was wrong for his inappropriate expenses.
          Conservatives call out bad behaviour.
          Liberals make excuses.
          Canadians know the difference.

          • All the bitching about Trudeau’s parliamentary performance is related only to the latest session when he was traveling mainly to gather support for his leadership campaign. Previously, asa local MP, his attendance was exemplary, so your “5-years” squawk is irrelevant. If you had any idea what the voting records really said, you would see that all senior members of Parliament spend considerable time away from the House — especially with a majority government controlling the outcome of the votes. Reports have taken pains to point out that Trudeau’s absences had almost nothing to do with his speaking engagements.

            These “naive organizers” you mention are, in fact, managers of a fundraising arm for a very wealthy charity that’s closely linked to the CPC.
            It amazes me that so-called conservatives are so outraged that a man continued with his business interests after he was elected. I don’t see CPC shop-keepers and investors and lawyers shutting down their businesses during their terms in office!

          • You are assuming some level of sincerity in Andrew’s remarks. That’s a mistake. The CPC supporters on this board display the same moral “flexibility” as their leadership.

            Don’t look for logical consistency or moral reasoning in the rhetoric of these people, it’s not a part of their job description and it only hinders them in their real work, which is to manufacture noise.

          • Keep it up boys.

            Make excuses for the failings of another Lib leader.

            Try to convince Canadians that it`s OK for a Montreal Millionaire to travel the country to exploit tax-exempt charities for his own benefit.

            Let`s keep talking about it.

            Let`s see how the average Canadian feels about where his charitable donations are ending up.

            Let`s see how folks feel about Trudeau`s logical consistency and moral reasoning when he uses his rhetoric to explain how he ripped of a bunch of naive seniors trying to raise money to buy furniture.

          • Clearly you have no idea who these “naive seniors” are.
            You seem to be believe that seniors are too dim to understand the idea that, when you order services off a price list, you pay the listed price.
            Let’s see how folks feel about the CPC saying that seniors and charity managers too stupid to read a price tag.

          • Okay so you don’t like the seniors. What about the literacy convention or Canadian Mental Health. Are you going to demean people with dyslexia and schizophrenia as well as you can defend Justin’s lack of integrity?

          • It’s you and the CPC who are demeaning these people by claiming they didn’t know what they were doing when they contacted a booking agency for an event speaker.

            I have every confidence that the “seniors” and the other event planners understood exactly what they were shopping for and what they were buying. It’s unfortunate that you and the CPC believe that publishing a clear list of fees for service somehow represents a lack of integrity.

          • Please do not lump me in with the CPC. I am a Canadian citizen who is outraged that one of our MPs who is in fact our PM in waiting, cannot donate 20 minutes of his time (which he was already being paid for to be in the House) to worthy charities. Meanwhile, he lives in a country that is full of generous people who volunteer their time and money to all kinds of causes. I have every right to be concerned about the integrity and priorities of the man who finds it necessary to continue to pad his own pockets despite the fact that he is a millionaire rather than give something back to the most disadvantaged in our country.

          • Please try to keep up!
            Trudeau quit taking bookings for his business engagement when he won the leadership — it’s done, over, history, not happening.
            In the past, when he made a living as an event speaker, and as the lowly MP for Papineau, he had no reason to zoom all over the country for non-paying events.
            He could not possibly fly to New Brunswick and deliver an address and return in a mere 20 minutes – seriously!
            And he was NOT paid a government salary to address the locals in another proviince – he wouldn’t even be allowed to claim the travel expenses!

            His personal charitable activities are well documented. There’s no reason to deride someone for charging their usual fees for their usual services in a simple business agreement.

            And there’s no point in trying to portray professional fundraising organizations as naive babes-in-the-woods who know nothing about how to plan and hire event speakers.

          • Keep it up.
            Continue to defend your leader who wishes to be PM after he finishes fleecing the charities of the country.
            That`s a good plan.
            Should work out real well by the time of the next election.
            Will he be charging a fee for his campaign speeches ?

          • This is nuts… I don’t even support the Liberal party. Or Trudeau. But all this whining & bleating about him getting paid for his other work in past years is plain asinine.
            “Fleecing” – come to earth!!!!
            His speakers bureau had a published price list that event planners could shop from. They did. They chose Trudeau and they chose the fee. Where I come from, that’s called a simple business transaction. Something you yahoos don’t seem to comprehend.

          • Oh I know he didn’t take any speaking engagements after he won the leadership. Why do you think that was? Did he suddenly decide it was unpalatable for the leader of the party to be taking money from charities but it was okay when he was just toying with the idea of being leader and running for PM? As for being the “lowly MP for Papineau”, does he really refer to himself that way? If so, that is a very sad thing for his constituents who I am sure see themselves as being just as important as any other citizens in this great country of ours and just as deserving of a devoted MP who takes his job in the House seriously.
            His expenses were covered by the charity in addition to his pay of $20K for what was likely a 10 minute speech. Those speeches he gave to Canadian Mental Health were in Ontario. Your comments about the length of time it took him to go to New Brunswick would only point out that he spent even longer away from his paying job in the House. He is actually on a salary, like a teacher. So yes, he is getting paid to show up to work in the House on the days it convenes. If he skipped out to go to make a speech, he failed to appear at his salaried job to moonlight at another job. As for his charitable endeavors, I would love to hear about them. The guy was a former school teacher yet according to Brad Wall he had no qualms about charging $20K to speak at a literacy convention. Then he goes to the set of Degrassi and does a commercial. What exactly does Mr. Trudeau champion if it isn’t young children and reading? I would love to hear all about his altruism.

          • Justin Trudeau, is not, ‘in fact’, the PM in waiting. The party with the plurality of seats is the governing party. The leader of the party which can command the confidence of the house is the leader of the government, or ‘Prime’ Minister.

            The CPC has at present no reason to call an election. There is no second in command of the CPC. There is no PM in waiting.

            And besides, an argument can be made that Mulcair is the most likely PM in waiting. If the NDP could command the confidence of the house, then perhaps.

            This would require a number of CPC MP’s to abandon the CPC. not likely.

            So there is no PM in waiting.

          • Thank you for the semantics lesson, Doug. Justin Trudeau has aspirations to be the PM in 2015 and the polls and his devoted followers on Macleans online would seem him accomplish that goal.

          • You are a little confused and/or a lot dishonest. I haven’t defended or attacked Trudeau for his moonlighting job. I think it’s entirely defensible, as a believer in free markets, but pretty short-sighted for a politician with leadership ambitions.

            But all of that is beside the point. The point is that River_City seemed to think you were a credible and sincere person, I was just warning him that you are neither.

          • I have no interest in what kind of person you think I am, and have zero interest in your character.

            The issue is young-head-on-old shoulders that is now the leader of the Liberals. This is a serious blunder by this boy-man who is proving to be every bit as big a fool as I thought he would be.

            You cannot take serious money from schools and churches and charities over and over again, and then stand up and say ” I want to be your leader ”
            It`s the beginning of the end for this fluffy fool.

            The unfortunate thing is that he will take the LPC down with him. Harper doesn`t have to destroy the Liberals. They are doing it to themselves.

  14. It’s what Justin did before he was an MP…..Cons are just making stuff up same as they did with Dion and Ignatieff.

    • Trudeau, speaking to supporters in Bracebrige, Ont., Friday, declined to provide any more details about the issue.

      But in documents he provided to the Ottawa Citizen, he said he had
      been paid $277,000 for 17 speaking engagements since becoming an MP in
      the 2008 general election.

      • Yes, we know that. I said it was also what he did before he was an MP….when he made a great deal more.

        People don’t give up their work when they become MPs

        This is just the usual Con political clap-trap

        • JT went and gave speeches while he was supposed to be doing his job as an MP, actually being in the House of Commons while in session.

          • So? Most MPs are gone…most of the time

            Usual Con political clap-trap

          • Usual progressive we lost the election in 2011 and can’t get over it drivel

          • Sorry, not a Progressive…..and don’t be trying to change the subject

          • Sorry not a progressive just a hater

          • Not that either….sorry.

            And no channel changing.

          • Not for the speech in question, the house had shut down for the summer.

          • Nine speeches were when the House was in session.

      • And what Liberal connections were within the charities?
        And what were they really hoping for by paying such huge fees to a politician or potential politician.

        • The charity everyone is up in arms about, Grace Foundation, is actually closely linked to CPC.

    • It seems to have escaped your attention that the NDP is also criticizing Justin’s moonlighting.

      • Of course they are….it’s a rival party.

  15. Interesting picture just shown on Twitter: That is the Grace Foundation Chairperson posing at the PMO – and bragging about it:

    • Yeah, tried to set up Justin and blackmail him….another Con stunt that backfired.

    • From Twitter: ( need verification) she was apparently appointed there by the CPC a couple of weeks before the letter to Justin Trudeau

      • Just following the timeline here from the twitter feed on this (again needs verification):

        Feb 14: JT disclosed speaking $.
        Feb 23: Visit to PMO by Grace Foundation board.
        Mar 5: Letter to JT written.
        PMO leaked letter.

      • There we have it, straight from the tightened tin foil.

        Taking lessons at the “Red Star School of Journalism”????????

        • Nope.. just saying. Actually I’ll clarify.. I incorrectly read the tweet.. The person wasnt saying the Grace Foundation Prez was appointed 2 weeks before by CPC.. she visited PMO 2 weeks before letter to JT was written,, as I said in the timeline below that also came from Twitter.

      • Also a person of the same name from NB on the board of the Museum of Civilization. Surely it’s a coincidence…

      • From what I can tell from the Grace Foundation website (assuming it’s up to date), that picture you linked above is not the chairperson, she’s a member of the board. And I’m a little unclear as to why would the government would appoint her to that position? No charity I’ve ever been involved with has had their chairpersons (or any member of the board) appointed by the government.

        • See below. I corrected myself on that.

          • You’re just an asshat longtime Liberal Scott, seen your POS blog before.

    • OK. So you believe that anybody who’s been in the Prime Ministers office shouldn’t be running a charity? Give me a break.

  16. Too Little
    Too Late

    Trudeau has already proved himself a scoundrel.
    Was there an implied wink or suggestion that the Trudeau the politician would steer a lot of money or influence to the charity at some future date?
    Why would a charity hire an up and coming politician and give him $20,000 for speaking for only a few moments? Were there Liberal connections?

    At best Trudeau took $200,000 on the side for doing pretty much what he was paid to do by the Canadian taxpayer. I mean what else do politicians do other than to make speeches? Making speeches to interested groups of people would no doubt enhance his political career. Probably groups of partisan Liberal leanings.

    Trudeau is the son of a former Prime Minister. That is why people would listen to him. Trudeau did not earn any credentials as an educator. He didn’t work long enough in the field to have teaching experience that would qualify him to speak on that subject. NO Trudeau was hired simply because of his daddy’s name and the political significance of that.

    The upshot of this is that he was paid because he was a “political” figure.
    Once by the taxpayer and once by the Charity.

    $200,000 plus is a lot of money.
    Duffy has received 100 times the media attention for less than half this amount.
    This is far more serious that some old guy plugging his expense account.

    Did the charities have Liberal connections?
    What were the charities hoping to get in return?

    • I don’t believe “influence” is the big question here. Charities don’t need to hire Liberal MPs to bend their ears or exert influence… there are plenty of lobby groups for hire in Ottawa to do that kind of work.

      I think this just boils down to poor judgment on the part of Trudeau. He shouldn’t have accepted money from a charity/taxpayer funded group. He shouldn’t have refused to pay it back when pressed to do so, as it makes him seem callous, selfish, cold-hearted, & arrogant. This is horrible PR for him, but the issue of influence? I don’t think that plays a significant role here.

      • Eric has a point. Who is to say that these speeches were not just a way to launder illegal, >$1100 political donations?

        I’m not accusing Trudeau of this…I’m just saying that it seems like it could be very easy to abuse this kind of extra income.

  17. if you are paid on the days you are not there, it is called “double dipping”. Not right.
    Unless you are not paid on those days.

  18. The debate over whether this is ethical / legal is legitimate, but misses the point. If it’s legal, then let him do it. If it’s unethical, then let voters decide on voting day (unless the ethics commish explicitly states that he shouldn’t do it).

    The overall point is the OPTICS of all this. He moonlights? Fine; he’s certainly not the first MP to do so. He missed a few debates/votes in the House to deliver speeches? Not a huge deal – the public is willing to forgive this to a certain extent…… But taking large amounts of money from charities? Bad PR. Refusing to pay it back when being pressed by that same cash-strapped charity? REALLY bad PR.

    It might be legal, it might not violate ethics codes of conduct, it might have caused him to miss a somewhat-insignificant total of 2 votes in the House, it might have been a stupid move by the charity to hire him for such a fee, but the OPTICS of taking money from charities/taxpayer-funded groups, and then refusing to give it back, is absolutely horrible.

    • And he leaves himself open for abuse .The other party leader Mulcair pointed out that he considers making speechs a part of his job description and does not charge a fee. It is very obvious that Trudeau could make a very good living as a professional speaker however it was his choice to run for office. Professional speaker or party leader what’s it going to been Justin; you cannot serve two masters.

  19. Was Trudeau an “A” speaker in his own right?
    Was Trudeau worth $20,000 or was he just someone who was a Liberal HACK trading on daddy’s name and being supported by partisan Liberals?
    (Angling to get their snout into the government trough one day)


    How many speeches did Trudeau give OUTSIDE Canada where he was paid $20,000 and advertised on ABILITY and not booked or advertised without mention of Trudeau’s father, Canadian Politics or words to that effect.

    Can anyone show such an event outside Canada where Trudeau spoke on ABILITY, and the advertising was not somehow linked to daddy and liberal politics?

    • It is an easy answer.

      Did the charity have to hire him? No.

      Did the charity choose to hire him? Yes.

      is he worth what he charged? Well I guess they could have got their CPC MP for free, and chose to pay Trudeau instead, so they must have thought so.

  20. I think folk need to step back and ask some questions before becoming to silly over this.
    1: Before the MP became an MP what was their profession?
    2: Have they declared any outside interests that they still receive income from?
    3: Would their position as an MP lead to a conflict of interest?

    If the answer to Q2 is yes and the answer to Q3 is no then as long as there is no problem over constituent representation then I can see no problem with them continuing on with their answer to Q1.
    Trudeau was a public speaker prior to his being an MP as Wherry explains. so there is no problem in him continuing to practice his profession as long as there is no conflict or dereliction of duty. Just like all those farmers can continue to farm, property and all those property owners can continue to rent and Stephen Harper can co-author a book on Hockey.

    • Stephen Harper will be donating any proceeds from his book to charity. It’s not the same thing.

      • But the real issue with Trudeau was his taking time off work to speak. Harper must have been off the clock when playing at author and he’s the PM. Trudeau was just a MP.
        And before being elected Trudeau was a public speaker, Harper wasn’t an author, well not of non-fiction anyway.

  21. So…given that Trudeau now agrees that accepting speaking fees from charities was not the best idea…

    Will CBC News now apologize to Brad Wall for this egregious headline?

    Or is today’s headline “CBC News refuses to apologize for smearing Brad Wall”?

  22. I wonder if Justin shook down the Muslim conference for 20K last December? ,you know the one sponsored by IRFAN-Canada, or were they a little cash strapped after sending $15 Million to groups tied to terrorism

  23. The public speaking career would actually be Mr. Trudeau’s third source of income, besides his salary as an MP and the investment income from his inheritance from his father.
    Should our elected representatives be allowed to moonlight? I remember when MP André Arthur (elected as in independent MP from Quebec) moonlighted as a bus driver, and his constituents were not happy. MP’s already get a high salary (a minimum of $ 160,000) plus a pension if they stay in office long enough, on the assumption that it is a full-time job and deserves the MP’s full attention.
    Imagine if a U.S. Congressman moonlighted as a paid professional speaker to charitable organizations – leaving his duties in Washington to deliver speeches to, say, the Red Cross in NYC, then the Boy Scouts in Wyoming, and so on, receiving a substantial income for doing so. I don’t think the American public would be pleased.

    • I see nothing wrong with MPs having a second income. My MP is a farmer how much sense would it make for him to sit on his duff all summer. However if any MP misses time at the HOC for the second job we do have a problem

  24. What I’d like to know is:

    1. Didn’t these so called ‘charities’ have a business plan before hiring Trudeau? If they didn’t then perhaps the tax man should be looking at their books.

    2. Why did the charities feel they had to go through the Conservatives to get their money back? Isn’t that called political lobbying? If it’s called political lobbying then why do they have tax exempt charity status?

    I really don’t know if Trudeau did the right thing or not by paying back the money, a contract is a contract. Whether Trudeau should have been giving paid speeches while sitting as an MP is a separate issue. Charities in the future may be hard pressed to find good speakers. A terrible precedent has been set.

    Mr Red White and Blue (even Mulroney and Chretin weren’t as arrogant) wanted a distraction. This distraction may cost fund raising efforts for all charities.

    • “This distraction may cost fund raising efforts for all charities.”

      I liked all of your post but I quote the above only to say, it’s already cost the charities that I used to contribute to. I’m going volunteer only from now on. So many charities are turning out to be scams.

  25. This is amazing! Everyone was championing Brad Wall when he gave a well-deserved b*tch-slap to Harper and the Conservatives when they refused to provide cancer drugs for a refugee and Wall’s government had to pony up to relieve the poor man’s suffering. However, now you are all singing a different tune when Mr. Wall b*tch-slaps poor little rich boy Justin Trudeau for charging money for speaking at a literacy convention. Apparently, it’s okay to point out some peoples’ lack of integrity but not others. Mr. Wall of course does not appreciate his government being asked to provide funding grants that pad the pockets of people like Justin Trudeau who are on the federal payroll. He also doesn’t want to be on the hook for medical expenses that should be paid by the Harper government. It is time people put aside their partisan attitudes and realized that taypayer money is coming out of YOUR pockets and YOUR children’s pockets. Thank goodness people like Brad Wall will speak up.

    • What is shocking is that Tom Mulcair almost echoed Wall’s comments a day later didn’t think those two would agree on anything

  26. Hm, I just had a quick scan through all those other sources of income that there was a link to above, and there are a whole lot of double dippers out there. Plenty of Conservative Farmers running their Farm, and moonlighting in the house of commons on the side. A LOT of people running corportaions, and sitting as directors while still drawing their MP’s pay. Basically, that is what I expected, since MP’s do not have serious jobs until and unless they get a Cabinet slot. The fact is, a backbencher is not of any use in the house, except as a jack in the box to stand for a vote when so ordered by the Party whip. I do not really care whether our local MP is in the house every day, or only occasionally. In fact, I would have to say that I would prefer he did NOT waste his time in the house. I would be better served if he were to focus on constituency work, which is mostly after hours and weekends. That is what Politics is like, weekends, evenings, community groups to meet, community events to attend. Why not let them manage their schedules as they see fit? That includes Trudeau (as a backbencher anyway) or any number of farmer or lawyer-politicians.

    • Brilliant! I can just see the news story now…Justin Trudeau is attacking Conservative MPs who are trying to hang onto family farms in Saskatchewan. This attack came after Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall admonished Trudeau, a former school teacher and MP for Papineau, for accepting $20K to speak at charitable literacy conference. The well documented ongoing struggle of the family farm in Canada…..

      • Typical progressive thinking my MP works the summer at his farm but he’s supposed to do nothing.

        • Many of these farms have been in the families of MPs for generations. The funny thing is that if they looked at the MPs income tax records, the farms are probably losing money. As for physicians working while being in political office. Raj Sherman who is the leader of the provincial liberal party works one day a week (on a Sunday) in an Edmonton ER to keep up his skills and his certifications. No one has an issue with that. He doesn’t miss any votes in the legislature and he is helping with the backlog of patients in the ER.

  27. Without delving into the morality or ethics of whether a politician *should* charge for a speaking engagement, I have a simple (perhaps too simple) solution. Why can the speaker not request a tax receipt from the charity for the amount he would have charged? The charity gets the speaker, no cash out of pocket, and the speaker gets a tax deduction (albeit only a percentage of the receipt’s amount). As far as I know, this is perfectly legal. And for those who want to complain that this is then coming out of taxpayers’ dollars, let’s not forget that the deductible tax receipt is one of the main reasons organizations apply for charitable status in the first place.

    • I am quite certain what you are suggesting already occurs. A speaker is offered a fee and the speaker donates the fee back to the charity and receives a tax receipt for the donation. I was at an event where a Canadian Olympic two-time medalist spoke. She donated her fee from the event to a literacy advocacy group. She would receive the tax receipt for the donation.

      • Right. I’ve done it myself. My question is, why can’t our oh-so-slick politicians figure this out and make it policy?