Friday, December 04, 2015

Trudeau's household staff issue is a distraction and a diversion

I'm not one to easily excuse the abuse of power or the sins of the rich, but the storm-in-a-teacup over Justin Trudeau's household staff is already starting to feel pretty tired, just a day or two after it began. Rona Ambrose, Lisa Raitt and other Conservatives are desperately trying to make a self-serving mountain out of what hardly qualifies as a molehill.
Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, have hired two nannies to help look after their three young children, and the Tories are replete with righteous indignation that a rich man like Trudeau should be charging their costs as part of his household expenses, rather than bearing them himself.
Yawn! OK, maybe the optics are not great and the public relations could have been better handled, but compared to the Prime Minster's $325,000 salary, and the legally-mandated household budget that goes with the job (which is almost certainly also huge), this is no great shakes. The two cabinet-authorized "special assistants" will have other responsibilities around the house in addition to child-care duties, and their appointment in the ongoing household staff shuffle is not expected to increase the total number of staff from the six members traditionally employed. Unlike ex-PM Stephen Harper's, the current household happens to include small children, that's just how it is.
And, in case it has escaped the notice of his detractors, Mr. Trudeau has been a little busy during his first few weeks in power, dealing with other minor issues like climate change, a major refugee crisis, world-changing trade agreements, taxation amendments, that kind of thing.
If this is all the Conservatives can find to carp about after Trudeau's extremely demanding first few weeks as Prime Minister, filled with several top level international meetings and tough decisions both at home and abroad, then I think he might consider himself well pleased.
As for the nannies? Just get over it. They are a distraction and a diversion, and there are more important things to discuss. And don't deliberately try to hobble him as he makes a concerted effort to get the country back on its feet after so many years of neglect.

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