October 27, 2015

"Trust fund boy" Trudeau's "first infrastructure program": $10M to redecorate 24 Sussex. (Clean water on reserves can wait.)

Rebel Staff

We're finally learned what Justin Trudeau's first move will be as Canada's new prime minister, even though he hasn't been sworn in yet.

He's going to spend $10M of taxpayers' money (minimum) renovating 24 Sussex Drive, the PM's official residence, from top to bottom.

So much for being a champion of the Canadian middle class!

I've been honoured to have been a guest at 24 Sussex Drive, and I can tell you that it's already pretty impressive.

It's true that some of the furnishings are a bit dated, but I bet you can say the same thing about Buckingham Palace.

The prime minister's official residence is a grand, historic building -- it's supposed to feel old.

For 99% of Canadians, it would be an honour to live in 24 Sussex Drive as it is. But not for Trudeau.

I guess this renovation is his idea of "infrastructure", not, say, providing clean water for reserves.

And the Media Party is behind him all the way.

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commented 2015-10-27 12:27:16 -0400
Alex and Jason, how much should it cost to repair and preserve a heritage building used as the primary residence for a world leader? In 2008, NCC estimated the repair costs at $10 million. In 2004, $2 million was deemed insufficient. Let us know, based on your expertise and experience renovating large heritage homes, and your site visits to 24 Sussex, how much the repairs should cost.
commented 2015-10-27 12:11:03 -0400
While I agree that this was a cheap shot in some respects, the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t have to cost THAT much to renovate. For 10M dollars, you could renovate it 100 times over.

In viewer defense Ezra, please find the REALLY hard targets to hit. That was a rookie story.
commented 2015-10-27 12:10:28 -0400
Actually, progress is being made on the water issues. Shoal Lake is getting help, through a collaborative effort between Ontario, Manitoba, and the city of Winnipeg (whose aqueduct cut them off in the first place). Harper was nowhere to be seen, so federal apathy is NOT new.

As I understand it, the physical structure of 24 Sussex is in rough shape. From an net present value perspective, it makes no sense to let it sit and continue to deteriorate – if the repair costs increase 10% a year and it costs 3% to finance repair costs, you’re wasting money NOT fixing it. Asset devaluation has the same impact on your net worth as direct debt does; if a bit of debt prevents a lot of depreciation you’re better off spending the money.
commented 2015-10-27 12:07:26 -0400
Darcey Smith you are a breath of fresh air.
commented 2015-10-27 12:02:01 -0400
Ken . . . you talking about the folks covered by the “Indian Act” ? ? ?
Trudope will spend, spend and spend some more . . . special interests, Public Sector Unions are all rubbing their hands today. And the Under 40 walking braindeads are going to get the bill . . .
commented 2015-10-27 12:00:26 -0400
Ken Martinson, they are called reserves even by those who live on reserves.
People like you make sick, being of Cree decent I am a human being like everyone else as is everyone else in my family ( reservations are dehumanizing but liberals like to keep us there ).
When socialist idiots like you try to suger coat racism like you “Indian reserves” as " First Nations Lands" it shows how ignorant the liberal voter base can be.
I may be Cree by blood, but I am 100% Canadian.
commented 2015-10-27 11:52:51 -0400
10M really? that seams a bit much.
commented 2015-10-27 11:40:47 -0400
Get with it Ezra, it is not “Indian reserves” it is “First Nation lands”.
commented 2015-10-27 11:37:50 -0400
I’m beginning to lose respect for this site.

If Ezra can do no better than turn a piece of data into a propaganda tool, then maybe it’s time to leave. Commenters below have brought up hard data that shows the PM’s residence has needed these “renovations” for nearly 2 political terms, if not longer. We all know the anti-Harper media would have had a field day had Harper agreed to these renovations… and it appears they ARE necessary.

So Ezra’s “story” turns out to be no better than the MSM’s treatment of Harper. Disappointing, especially for somebody who’s purporting to tell us the “real truth”… (and this site wants our support to get rid of “media bias”??? Just a tad hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?)
commented 2015-10-27 11:35:02 -0400
I usually agree with Esra on most things, but not this time. 24 Sussex has been marked for renovations for a number of years now. Harper refused to do it as it did not have good optics with the public; had it been done a decade ago when it was first brought up it would have been less than 10 million.

Lets bash the Liberals for things that are legitimate bash worthy; there are plenty.

As for reserves and drinking water, that problem will become worse with the Federal Court decision the other day, which most likely won’t be appealed. The money pit will continue, and Natives will be worse off than before.
commented 2015-10-27 11:34:06 -0400
This is a cheap shot – you can do better. I’d expect this of the media party if it was Harper doing it, and I’d be just as critical, – but not the Rebel. Please stick to substantial issues not contrived ones like this.
commented 2015-10-27 11:33:50 -0400
Deborah: it’s a national heritage site, not a Liberal Party shrine.
There are going to be more than enough REAL reasons to get angry at Justin Trudeau over the next four years. Don’t waste your time on nonsense like this designed specifically to make you angry.
commented 2015-10-27 11:32:45 -0400
Quick phone IKE – get some minimalist deore in here to convey the message imposed austerity is on its way .
Whenever I see things like this or hear politicians demand things of the public and do the opposite of their demands – I always reply – “lead by example or bear the shame of being a hypocrite”. I guess where this technique of politician “shaming” breaks down is if they have no sense guilt for their hypocrisy – in this case, the guy who wants to champion the cause of the struggling middle class pisses away $10M on feathering his crib. Bad juju Justin, history does not treat unrepentant sanctimony in leadership very kindly.
commented 2015-10-27 11:28:35 -0400
Then you Liberals pay for it! I’m sure with the billions that will be pocketed by these crooks, they and the unions, and MSM can pay for it, for interfering in a democratic election!
commented 2015-10-27 11:20:06 -0400
The mere mention of Asbestos is cause enough for the owner’s “we the people” to get this property in tip top shape. We own it and as G7 country our PM and his family require a safe and liveable home. Ezra should hang his hat on something else.
commented 2015-10-27 11:18:22 -0400
In 2004 the Ottawa Citizen did a feature on the crumbling official residence. This is a non-partisan issue which Ezra is using to stoke the flames of Trudeau Derangement Syndrome.

‘Although the funding allotment officially ended this past March, [National Capital Commission] said it has $2 million remaining, earmarked for 24 Sussex and the prime minister’s official summer residence, Harrington Lake.
“We know that it’s not enough,” said NCC spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Lawless.’
commented 2015-10-27 11:14:58 -0400
@terry Sure, perhaps. IF the NCC reached out to the PM elect and said, ‘hey, can we start this before you move in?" I can accept that, it’s not unreasonable.
commented 2015-10-27 11:10:58 -0400
I can appreciate the leader of a country living in a home that represents Canada’s success. It is still hard for me living in a home worth about $170,000 to imagine why anyone including royalty or any party leader who needs to live in a home with 34 rooms. That being said I love large homes and would love to have one with an indoor/outdoor pool and ample space and property. Still 34 rooms? Oh well think of all the infrastructure he is creating (lol) and maybe when he is done he can house a few immigrants or twenty.
commented 2015-10-27 11:07:12 -0400
Here’s the 2008 auditor general report on the required renovations and repairs. Perhaps Ezra can go line-by-line and dispute every cost.

Before Harper moved in in 2006, there were calls for renovating the Prime Minister’s residence—this is not related to Trudeau:

“The kitchen is 30 years old and inefficient. There is no central air-conditioning, so unattractive window units cool the house, including the formal dining room. Many of the windows date to the 1950s, but won’t be replaced until the A/C is modernized because the portable units vibrate, which wears out the windows.”

The neglected property came up again in the news in 2013:

“[The auditor general] warned that delaying work would cause further deterioration, increase future costs, and risk embarrassing Canada when foreign dignitaries come to town. The NCC has tried to relocate the Harpers and proposed Rideau Gate, the house across from 24 Sussex, where the royal family stays. Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff also offered up Stornoway, the Opposition leader’s house. But the Harpers have made it clear they won’t move out long-term.”

“The official residence of Canada’s prime minister is a wreck. It’s been a wreck for years. The insulation is inadequate, the windows are ancient, the heating is pre-Cambrian and the plumbing needs work.”
commented 2015-10-27 11:01:43 -0400
The waste and tax increases are just starting. This is the tip of the iceberg.
commented 2015-10-27 10:54:29 -0400
" I don’t like the optics of this being a priority for our newly elected PM."
Do you think perhaps it’s a “priority” because he hasn’t moved in yet, and because the renovation/restoration/maintenance will be easier to do before he does?
commented 2015-10-27 10:53:47 -0400
The Prime Minister’s residence has been in need of major repairs for years. Harper did not wish to move in 2008 to accommodate these repairs. Should we let the place crumble? This building belongs to the Canadian people, and needs to be maintained. The renovations were projected to be $10 million seven years ago—this is not a redecoration as Ezra suggests.

2008: ‘The National Capital Commission (NCC), which is the government agency responsible for managing all official residences in Ottawa, estimates the renovations would cost $10 million and “*would require full access to the residence for a minimum of 12 to 15 months*.” […] “The roof, windows, walls and foundations — more than two-thirds of the exterior of the residence — are in only fair condition and need repair,” the auditors wrote in their report.’
commented 2015-10-27 10:47:34 -0400
Do you think it is a sore sport for some because it is first and foremost residence? Unlike the White House and 10 Downing Street, which house the offices of POTUS and the Brit PM as well as their staff, 24 Sussex is the used primarily as the home for the PM. and family. Personally, I really think we have done a crap job of preserving this building and we should invest the money in it now, as a capital project that preserves a piece of national history. and overseen by the appropriate department (n this case the NCC). Ideally, we should be restoring the historical features while modernizing the infrastructure. I certainly would not want to see the place gutted and turned into a NY style loft or mid-century modern, or whatever the hipsters are doing these days LOL. Seriously, the current PM can certainly pick the paint colour in the master bedroom, that is where I draw the line! If this is done, and done properly, it is public project, not a personal project. As I already said, I don’t like the optics of this being a priority for our newly elected PM, and I think if Harper spent the money he would have been crucified by the Media Party, but I don’t have a problem with the building being brought up code. My budget suggestion was made with tongue firmly in cheek and total wishful thinking!
commented 2015-10-27 10:35:01 -0400
Since as Christian has said there were repairs done to the structure in 1997, are these repairs for the tune of $10 million truly needed? Just asking.
commented 2015-10-27 10:29:23 -0400
Terry said, “Those like Ezra who want to use this as excuse for a tantrum about Trudeau can, and will, continue to do so.”

Terry you are so disingenuous. You know that if it was Harper that ordered this renovation, the media and all of it’s “pundits” that comment on political activity just like Ezra does, would also be ranting endlessly accusing Harper of wasting tax payer money. But for you since it is Trudeau, it is okay. There is a word for that attitude. It starts with an “H” and ends with an “E” and is nine letters long.
commented 2015-10-27 10:23:28 -0400
I can remember back when Preston Manning was getting ready to move into Stornoway following the 1997 election, the NCC did some very much needed renovations and repairs to the place due to its age and that it had not been lived in for the previous four years (Lucien Bouchard lived in a condominium in Gatineau during his stint as opposition leader). Nevertheless, the Toronto Star put in a completely false headline alleging that Manning himself ordered this costly taxpayer funded work on Stornoway. What was funny about this is that the Reform party had a copy of the letter from the NCC saying that they would have done the work regardless if Manning did or did not move in there due to the above mentioned circumstances. Given that, I am ready to give Justin the benefit of the doubt here (because, among other reasons, as Prime Minister he will be disappointing people in many other instances soon).
commented 2015-10-27 10:14:04 -0400
Well, At least it will be in good shape when a conservative moves back in 4 years, after the inevitable Liberal scandals start occurring again. Liberals just can’t help themselves. The Trough is ‘right there’, and the temptation will be awesome!
commented 2015-10-27 10:07:29 -0400
Deborah; my point is that this is maintenance on a historic building, identified as a need some time ago, and being done between tenants. Those like Ezra who want to use this as excuse for a tantrum about Trudeau can, and will, continue to do so. Folks interested in the actual nature of this maintenance now know. I’m just providing information that Ezra failed to.
commented 2015-10-27 10:04:53 -0400
Andrea, you have made a logical and well reasoned argument for the upgrades. If it is in such desperate need of repair, then it makes sense … IF.

“I suggest we take money from the CBC budget, move it to the National Capital Commission earmarked for this project, and fix the damn place, once and for all.”

That would be the ideal, but we all know that will not happen.
commented 2015-10-27 09:58:42 -0400
This issue raises a lot of questions. The building falls under the National Capital Commission to maintain, does that department have room in that budget to do the repairs? How significant are the actual repairs? Repairs are different animal than decorating. Do Canadians feel that the elected public servant should be living in a taxpayer funded luxury home? I am not stating an opinion, just asking as there are ample alternative buildings in the Captial for state events. Before the anti-Harper posters get rabid…may I point out that Maggie herself mentioned the repairs needed to be done 40 years ago? From the National Post; “Margaret Trudeau, told the CBC that “24 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.”” So, basically, no government has been willing to spend the money to do the ’requisite’repairs. The building has historical significance, but it has only been the PM’s residence since 1950. From the sounds of it, after the initial acquisition of the property, there has been no significant investment into its maintenance. While I can’t stand our new PM, and find him to be a spoiled dilettante, his behaviour and attitude about the condition of the building illustrate his self-entitled persona, if the place is falling apart, someone needs to make the tough decision. to upgrade the property to current standards and find the appropriate means to fund the repairs. Infrastructure only; HVAC, electrical, plumbing, roof, windows and security, all overseen by the National Capital Commission, not suited to the whim of the current regime. Although this doesn’t meet international accounting standards and an accountant might find my simple solution is to be ridiculous, I suggest we take money from the CBC budget, move it to the National Capital Commission earmarked for this project, and fix the damn place, once and for all. I would also like to comment that many ‘middle class’ Canadians don’t have the luxury or the means to live in a separate home while their own renovations are being carried out. Surely, although I am not a contractor, this 34 room mansion can be utilized while repairs are being staged in a gradual manner.