Justin Trudeau defends taxpayer-financed nannies
Prime minister says he rejigged household budget to adapt to the priorities of his young family
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended using tax dollars to pay for two nannies, insisting he is only shuffling the household budget to suit his young family.
"Obviously it will come as no surprise to people that we have a different family situation with three small children than the Harpers did," he said during a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday. "That means we will operate within the same family budget that the previous prime minister had, but we will shuffle it around so that it fits better our priorities.
"And that is what Canadians expect."
Trudeau was grilled during question period by Ontario Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, who said she was "offended" that one of the PM's first acts was to take up a benefit no other Canadian receives.
She accused Trudeau of saying one thing during the campaign and then doing another after his election.
"Why didn't the prime minister keep his word, and is it because he's entitled to his entitlements?" she asked.
The "entitlements" phrase was a reference to well-publicized remarks from Royal Mint CEO and former Jean Chrétien cabinet minister David Dingwall in 2005 during testimony before a committee about his questionable expenses.
2 nannies hired by Trudeaus
Trudeau has come under fire for having taxpayers foot the bill for two nannies hired to care for the children of Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau.
CBC News reported on the cabinet orders that were posted online authorizing the appointment of the two women under the Official Residences Act as "special assistants at the prime minister's residence."
They were to be paid between $15 and $20 an hour during the day and $11 to $13 an hour for night shifts effective Nov. 4, the day Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in.
The revelation came after Trudeau repeatedly attacked the Conservatives' enhanced universal child care benefit during the election campaign, maintaining that "wealthy families" like his didn't need taxpayers' help.
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said the "rich" Trudeau family should pay for their own nannies, while Conservative finance critic Lisa Raitt accused Trudeau of being "hypocritical."