New Brunswick

Justin Trudeau won't move in to 24 Sussex, says Margaret Trudeau

Justin Trudeau won't immediately be moving his family into 24 Sussex Drive because the official prime minister's residence requires major repairs to its infrastructure, his mother, Margaret Trudeau, says.

Prime minister's residence needs $10M in renovations, National Capital Commission said in 2008

The National Capital Commission said in 2008 that $10 million in repairs were needed to 24 Sussex Drive. (Canadian Press)

Justin Trudeau won't immediately be moving his family into 24 Sussex Drive, his mother Margaret Trudeau said on Friday.

Margaret Trudeau was being interviewed by CBC Radio's Information Morning in Fredericton and was asked about her feelings about her son moving into the official residence of the prime minister.

"No, they're not," she said.

"Twenty-four Sussex is in need — has been in need since I was there 40 years ago — of major infrastructure repair, and it simply hasn't been done.

Margaret Trudeau holds her first-born son Justin as they get ready to leave on a train for a family holiday in 1972. The two official residences of the Canadian prime minister - 24 Sussex Drive and Harrington Lake (the summer cottage in Gatineau Park) - were Justin's childhood homes until his father left office in 1984. (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

"They'll live somewhere else while — not decor, not fancy stuff — just plumbing and roofs and all the things that keep a house standing [are repaired]."

An auditor general's report in 2008 said urgent repairs were needed to 24 Sussex Drive, which was Justin Trudeau's childhood home when his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was prime minister.

In the 2008 auditor general's report, the National Capital Commission said the home hadn't had major renovations in 50 years and needed $10 million of work.

It was stated the occupants would have to move out of the stone mansion for 12 to 15 months.

The prime minister's office responded in 2008 that Stephen Harper had no intention of moving out of the official residence until his term was up.

The report found the windows, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning at 24 Sussex Drive are all in poor to critical condition.

The home also has no fire sprinklers and contains asbestos, which has been linked to disease, including lung cancer.

Needs to move soon

In a 2014 interview with CBC News, Trudeau suggested his decision would be based on the advice he receives.

"I'm going to listen to the experts at the National Capital Commission and others who will say what is needed in this situation," he said.

Margaret Trudeau (left) poses with son Justin's wife Sophie and his two eldest children, son Xavier and daughter Ella-Grace, at his nomination meeting in Montreal last year. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

"I'm certainly not going to try and second guess people who have been waiting a long time to do some repairs to a house that is apparently ... in poor shape. I think we need to respect various elements of our heritage, and that's where I will defer to the experts who actually run that house."

The NCC released a statement Friday suggesting the Trudeau family would not be immediately moving in to 24 Sussex Dr.

"The National Capital Commission's Official Residences division is ensuring that the Prime Minister-designate and his family will be accommodated in a comfortable and appropriate setting while details regarding the 24 Sussex Drive residence are finalized," reads the statement from Jean Wolff.

Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gré​goire, sold their Montreal home and had been living in a rented home in Rockcliffe, the same prestigious Ottawa neighbourhood that houses 24 Sussex, Rideau Hall and Stornoway, the official residence for the leader of the Official Opposition. His children have attended a local school.

Trudeau told reporters covering his election campaign this fall that the house they've been renting was sold, so win or lose on Oct. 19, they'd need to move out very shortly after that.

In an email to CBC News on Friday, Liberal spokeswoman Kate Purchase said no decisions had been made about exactly where the Trudeaus will live from now on.

"We're in the process of being briefed and will make a decision shortly. Our primary focus at the moment is getting a cabinet together for Nov. 4 and ensuring a smooth transition to government," she wrote.


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