Conservatives Question Government Purchase of Trudeau Replicas, Musical Tickets

By Pedwell, Terry | The Canadian Press, May 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Conservatives Question Government Purchase of Trudeau Replicas, Musical Tickets


Pedwell, Terry, The Canadian Press


Cutouts of PM cost nearly $1,900: documents

--

OTTAWA - Anyone who has wondered how much money it would take to buy Justin Trudeau now has an answer.

The cheapest life-size-but-lifeless version of the prime minister cost $63.24, according to documents released to the House of Commons this week that showed the government spent nearly $1,900 on cardboard Trudeau likenesses.

The "stand-up guy" made for much merriment during question period Tuesday as the Opposition Conservatives and the NDP seized on the chance to play the latest Liberal branding exercise for political points -- and laughs.

"It is a very large document, and I am not sure every member has yet had a chance to review it," Tory MP Chris Warkentin smirked at one point as he tried, in jest, to table the "document," a folded-up version of Trudeau.

The cutouts were originally meant for display at some Canadian missions abroad before their use was quickly banned and they were placed in storage.

The dollar figures were contained in responses to inquiries from Conservative MP Ben Lobb, who asked departments and agencies whether they had bought copies of the cutouts, how much each cost and who authorized the purchase.

Global Affairs Canada said the department bought 14 of the cutouts, ranging in price from $63.24 for an individual cutout to as high as $239.27 for two.

Other costs included shipping and, in one case, $464.20 for a wooden backing frame to hold the life-size image of Trudeau in a black suit, black shirt and silver tie.

The response did not say who approved the purchases. Earlier this year, however, Louise Blais, the Atlanta consul general, said she advised the embassy that she did ask for approval but "never got an answer."

"Which I took as no objections," she said, noting at the time that the U.S. embassy in Ottawa had a similar cardboard depiction of Barack and Michelle Obama for display purposes.

Soon after the Trudeau cutouts were seen at Canadian missions and government-sponsored events in the United States, however, Global Affairs instructed missions to stop using the replicas to promote Canada.

Trudeau's rigid doppelganger was on display at an event last June organized by the Canadian consulate in Atlanta, as well as in March at a Canadian music festival in Austin, Tex. …

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