Already under attack for attending Hillary Clinton-style “cash for access” fundraisers, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cross-country tour is just another fundraising effort, say the Opposition Conservatives.
The taxpayer-funded tour, beginning Thursday, is contingent upon Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) across Canada inviting the public to attend by posting online information about coming townhall events with the prime minister.
Conservative Party House Leader Candice Bergen told the Canadian Press that it’s “almost impossible to believe” that this information will not be used by the Liberal Party for partisan fundraising purposes.
“Are they suggesting that once they get that information, they delete it all and they don’t share it with the party?” she said, suggesting it is reminiscent of the party’s glib guarantee that no one talks about government business at the cash for access fundraisers with Trudeau.
Trudeau has admitted that lobbying does occur at these events.
Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad dismissed the allegations, insisting that “no information collected by the MP site, including event registrations, is shared with the Liberal party of Canada.”
“We wanted to ensure that attendance at these events would not simply be limited to partisans or Liberals. In order to do so, MPs took the opportunity to reach out to all their constituents — regardless of political affiliation — and share information on upcoming events,” he said.
Ahmad claims the online registration is only captured in case the townhall is canceled, rescheduled or changes location. He says an event planned for Friday in London, Ontario had to be amended because of “popular demand.”
Bergen says that sounds exactly “like a partisan political event.”
“It looks like it will be a rally where the prime minister will get up and be able to have people cheering for him and then send out pictures and press releases on how loved he is. Hey, that’s not a grassroots townhall meeting. That’s a rally.”
Contacted by The Daily Caller, Manitoba Conservative MP James Bezan noted, “There is no denying the fact that Prime Minister Trudeau is in damage control due to the unethical $1500 pay-to-play fundraisers… The idea that the Liberal Party is harvesting the personal data of people who want to attend a town hall with the Prime Minister proves the point that Prime Minister Trudeau is using the tour for the self serving interests of the Liberal Party.”
On his tour, Trudeau plans to visit “average Canadians” at coffee shop “meet and greets.” He will begin his trip in Ontario and will spend time over the few weeks dropping in at locations in Quebec, British Columbia, the prairie provinces and the Maritimes.
Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, who is currently running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, told The Daily Caller, “The Liberals think they can fix this with a public relations band-aid. They hope that if PM Trudeau parks the jet for a few weeks to share a couple of Timmy’s coffees with us regular folks, all will be forgiven.”
While MPs are prohibited from conducting partisan business on their government websites, they can advertise their political party.