Expense documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show that the taxpayer-funded grocery budget for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family works out to about $55,000 per year — or, about the equivalent of the Canadian median income.
The public always get upset when they find out a political leader is spending an unfathomable amount of money on basic essentials, but this story is particularly ill-timed given that grocery inflation is currently at its highest level in more than a generation.
In Dear Diary, the National Post satirically re-imagines a week in the life of a newsmaker. This week, Tristin Hopper takes a journey inside the thoughts of Trudeau’s grocery budget.
One thing I can say about the food budget is that it is always a judicious reflection of federal policy. When Prime Minister Trudeau entered office on a promise to pursue the world’s most aggressive climate policy, our menu became a bible of local, low-carbon foods. Similarly, as soon as the prime minister declared his war on single-use plastics in 2019, we immediately banished synthetic materials from these walls: Not one morsel of food made its way into this kitchen unless it was carried within glass, cloth or recycled paper. Ha ha, just kidding; last night dessert was hibiscus-flavoured cream donuts flown in same-day from New Jersey. It wasn’t entirely necessary to give each donut its own clamshell package, I guess, but you can never be too sure.
In the stress-filled weeks before tabling a budget, Stephen Harper would crush a family-sized bag of ketchup chips every night. Trudeau is not immune to consumptive vices, of course. But I do marvel that even his guilty pleasures manage to be unfathomably expensive. Who, after a few cocktails, dunks Melba toast in salmon roe? I didn’t even know they made cassava flour Oreos; that one might have been a special order.
I’ve heard the occasional whisper that my client may not have the most illustrious record when it comes to representing other’s cultures. Basically, you should probably meet the prime minister of India in a suit, rather than dressing as a groom at a wedding reception. So it’s gotten me to thinking, is my menu similarly a horror show of indelicate cultural representation? The other night we had, forgive me, falafel pizza — with hummus in lieu of tomato sauce. This kitchen has seen lentils incorporated into poutine. To this day, nobody believes me that we once served tuna nigiri drizzled in St.-Hubert gravy.
Can we talk about cheese for a second? Canada imposes strict import restrictions on foreign dairy in order to protect domestic producers. But you won’t be able to tell it from looking at our cupboards: French faisselle, Dutch maasdam, Greek kasseri; all judiciously sourced from European grocers who had to do unspeakable things to secure their dairy import quotas. I’m confident that if any prime minister had to spend one morning choking down a few sticks of palm oil-saturated Canadian butter, they’d be invoking the Emergencies Act against the dairy sector by the next morning.
I occasionally trade notes with the food budget over at Stornoway, where the leader of the opposition lives. You may be surprised to learn that we’re not all that different, me and them. Conservatives and Liberals, after all, both enjoy souffles, beef wellington and a glass or two of taxpayer-funded port after a long day of horse trading and parliamentary interjections. But I will say this: You can always tell whether a leader is new to the job by what they eat when guests are over. So let’s just say that Pierre Poilievre isn’t actually eating Kraft Dinner, saltines and no-name raisins when he doesn’t have the cabinet over for a strategy session.