OTTAWA — Taxpayers paid $61,000 for hotel rooms so the prime minister could attend a celebrity-studded, two-day summit in New York City, newly released documents obtained by National Post reveal.
Held in New York City on April 27 and 28, the Global Citizen NOW summit saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hobnob with celebrities that included John Legend, Billie Eilish and Hugh Jackman. It was billed as an opportunity to unite celebrities and activists with business and political leaders — all to take “urgent action” to end extreme poverty.
The hotel expenses were released in response to an order paper question table by Conservative MP Dan Albas, and did not include flights or additional costs.
The prime minister departed Ottawa for New York City on April 26 in an RCAF Challenger business jet joined by 11 passengers, including Trudeau’s executive assistant James Armbruster, his official photographer Adam Scotti, his official videographer Akshay Grover, former PMO adviser Jeremy Broadhurst, chief- of-staff Katie Telford and other staffers.
Fourteen rooms were booked at the five-star Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel for Canada’s delegation on April 25 at $562.72 per night, according to the documents.
That number grew to 39 rooms on April 26 and 27, reducing to 11 rooms on April 28, the conference’s last day.
An office at the hotel was also rented out for the duration of the stay, listed at $1,137.29 per night. A note in the documents says that it is standard practice for an office to be maintained for use by both PMO and Privy Council Office staff during trips with the prime minister.
All figures are in Canadian dollars.
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The attendance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the summit was announced by conference organizers in an April 21 press release.
“Building a future that is fair, equal and peaceful, with clean air and clean water for everyone, is at the heart of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and reflects the vision of the Global Citizen NOW summit,” Trudeau said in the press release.
“In New York City, I look forward to advancing our shared progress and advocating for strong global commitments to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.”
Other world leaders in attendance included French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
In addition to Legend, Eilish and Jackman, celebrity attendees included rock star Lenny Kravitz, Canadian model Sabrina Elba, and actors Jordan Fisher and Katie Holmes.
Jackman, the star of Wolverine films, and co-chair of the summit, posed with Trudeau for a photo, which appeared on Jackman’s social media feed, before it was deleted shortly afterward.
Founded in 2008, Global Citizen is an international social advocacy group headed by Australian humanitarian Hugh Evans, with the aim of eliminating poverty while promoting social justice.
The Prime Minister’s Office directed National Post inquiries about the costs to Global Affairs Canada, which said the rooms were used to lodge members of Canada’s delegation that didn’t travel on the government plane.
“The Canadian delegation for the Prime Minister’s visit to New York consisted of the Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America, the Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, staff from the Prime Minister’s Office as well as officials from the Privy Council Office and Global Affairs Canada,” read the Global Affairs statement.
“Not all delegation members traveled with the prime minister.”
Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett questioned the need for the prime minister to attend the New York conference in light of the rising affordability crisis faced by many Canadians.
“This comes at a time when, because of Trudeau’s inflationary deficits and ever increasing carbon taxes, many Canadians are canceling their own travel plans, one in five are skipping meals, and millions are accessing food banks every month,” he said.
It was recently revealed that the prime minister stayed in a $6,000-per-night luxury suite at a London hotel during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Trudeau had spent months refusing to say who had stayed in the suite, and the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly had even ordered staffers not to reply to reporters’ questions on the pricey room.
Hotel costs for Canada’s royal funeral delegation amounted to 281,400 pounds, or over $475,000 Canadian, according to this week’s exchange rates.