OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail is reporting taxpayers were billed more than $200,000 in moving expenses for two of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top aides.
A source told the newspaper that Gerald Butts, the prime minister’s principal secretary, and Katie Telford, his chief of staff, were reimbursed for moving their families from Toronto to Ottawa.
The Globe reports the costs were mostly for legal and real estate fees covering the sale of their million-dollar homes.
One move cost almost $127,000, while the other was more than $80,000, though it’s unclear which expenses were associated with which aide.
The news comes a day after it was revealed taxpayers have forked out $1.1 million to move some four dozen political staffers to Ottawa after Trudeau’s Liberals won power last fall.
The expenses were disclosed by the government in response to Opposition questions on the order paper.
“People in Alberta are struggling and losing their homes, savings and livelihoods, but the prime minister is more concerned with making sure his friends are compensated,” Conservative MP Blaine Calkins said Wednesday in question period. “How can the prime minister justify to struggling Albertans this absolutely ridiculous waste of money?”
In a statement, Kate Purchase, a spokeswoman for the prime minister, said the government has had a relocation policy for public servants and ministerial staff since the 1970s. She said the current policy was also in place under the previous Conservative government since January 2011.
“Some people across government, and in the PMO, moved from rental to rental, others sold their homes and moved their families to Ottawa,” Purchase said.
“In the case of the two larger numbers for the PMO, the vast majority of the costs had to do with real estate and legal fees.”
Butts declined comment when reached by The Canadian Press, while Telford could not be reached for comment.