Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland boasted about not owning a car while responding to questions about the impact of rising fuel costs on Canadians but neglected to mention that she has a chauffeur service provided by the taxpayer.
Freeland made the comments while speaking with reporters in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Friday while being pressed about the high cost of fuel prices due largely in part to the Trudeau government’s green policies.
“I am right now an MP for downtown Toronto, and a fact that still shocks my dad is that I don’t actually own a car,” said Freeland. “I’m like 300 metres from the nearest subway; I walk, I take the subway; my kids walk and ride their bikes and take the subway – it’s actually healthier for our family.”
Freeland is entitled to a taxpayer-funded car and driver service as are all cabinet ministers and public records show that she uses the service quite frequently, even while in downtown Toronto. Government travel expenses reveal that she used the service at least fifteen times between April 2021 and March 2023 to commute around cities like Toronto and Montreal which have extensive public transit services.
The expenses indicate the Department of Finance charged $748.77 between July 28 to July 30, 2021 alone for the cost of accommodation and meal expenses of Freeland’s driver in order for her to be chauffeured around her home riding in Toronto.
Freeland has even billed taxpayers to have the chauffeur service drive around without her when she travels by air from Ottawa to Montreal so that she may be met by her usual driver at the airport. She also uses the service abroad such as in Glasgow, Scotland in April 2022 while attending the COP26 climate change conference. The conference was held in Glasgow but Freeland chose to stay in Edinburgh and used the service to commute back and forth to the conference. The service was billed more than $3,000, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The spike in gas prices comes following a hike to the carbon tax and the newly introduced Clean Fuel Regulations. This prompted The Council for Atlantic Premiers to issue a joint statement pleading with Ottawa to scale back their policies and acknowledge the “disproportionate impacts on Atlantic Canadians.”
“I understand that there are communities in P.E.I. and across Atlantic Canada where you need to drive, so I understand that our policies need to respect that, and I really believe they do,” said Freeland on Friday.
Conservative Leader Pierre Pollievre posted an edited video of Freeland’s comments to social media with the caption, “Freeland’s message to Prince Edward Islanders worried about 61c/litre carbon tax: move to Toronto and get a bike!!!”
In response to the post, Freeland wrote, “As I said yesterday, in comments you cut out of your clip, I am both a downtown Toronto MP who rides her bike to work in the city, and a proud daughter of northern Alberta, who got her driver’s licence on the day she turned 16.”
Conservative Deputy Leader Melissa Lantsman and Freeland also exchanged blows on social media following the Charlottetown press conference, with Lantsman accusing the deputy minister of lecturing Canadians.
Freeland responded to Lantsman’s allegations by accusing the CPC MP of “peddling blatant misinformation.”
Recent polls have shown a drop in Liberal support in Atlantic Canada, even in strongholds such as Fredericton, N.B., where the Conservatives are now leading by as much as seven points.