A three-day retreat by the Liberal government in Charlottetown, P.E.I., dedicated to examining the escalating cost of living for Canadians, cost taxpayers over $160,000 solely for lodging and transportation in connection with one government department. 

This information was brought to light through recently disclosed documents, prompted by an order paper question from Conservative MP Tracy Gray. 

The Privy Council Office (PCO), responsible for managing the federal cabinet’s affairs, detailed the expenditures, including $88,930.01 allocated to hotel accommodations and $20,733.45 designated for meals and incidentals.

Total costs reached $160,467.17. 

“Instead of reducing their wasteful spending that is driving up the cost of everything, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal ministers racked up a whopping $160,000 bill for their so-called ‘affordability retreat’ in Prince Edward Island,” said Gray. 

Additionally, $7,689.65 was spent on miscellaneous transportation, and $1,169 for an Airbnb rental during the retreat held from Aug. 21-23.

It is essential to note that the total expenses for the retreat might surpass the disclosed amount, as the PCO was the solitary department responding to Gray’s inquiry. 

Notably, other departments, such as the Prime Minister’s Office, have not yet divulged their respective expenditures.

“Expenditures only include travel expenses for Privy Council Office and PCO supported Ministers and their staff who attended the cabinet retreat,” reads the government response. 

“PCO does not have this information for attendees from other departments.”

Criticism from opposition parties has arisen due to the perceived hypocrisy of addressing the affordability crisis faced by Canadians while at the same time embarking on expensive trips. 

The Liberal government’s recent fall economic statement included measures aiming to restrict the usage of Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms in regions with housing shortages.

The PCO specified that 49 individuals, including 38 cabinet ministers and their support staff, participated in the retreat. 

The expense breakdown revealed charges for 43 separate rooms at two Charlottetown hotels, namely the Delta Hotels Prince Edward and the Holman Grand Hotel, with individual room charges ranging from $1,200 to $3,200.

Moreover, the PCO clarified that the disclosed expenses only encompass claims submitted up to Sept. 30 and exclude any subsequent travel claims and processed invoices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet convened in P.E.I. to deliberate on various issues affecting Canadians, including housing affordability, inflation, climate change, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.