Freeland Proudly Says She Doesn’t Own A Car…But Skips Mention of Tax-Funded Chauffeur Service

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland faced scrutiny after downplaying her use of taxpayer-funded cars while discussing spiking fuel costs in Atlantic Canada. 

Responding to questions from reporters in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Freeland admitted she doesn’t own a car due to the convenience of public transportation in downtown Toronto. 

“I am right now an MP for downtown Toronto, and a fact that still shocks my dad is that I don’t actually own a car,” Freeland told reporters on Friday. “I’m like 300 meters from the nearest subway; I walk, I take the subway; my kids walk and ride their bikes and take the subway – it’s actually healthier for our family.”

However, she failed to mention her use of a taxpayer-funded car and driver.

As a cabinet minister, Freeland is entitled to a government-funded car and chauffeur while in Ottawa. Publicly available federal records indicate that between the two-year period of April 2021 and March 2023, she used this service at least 15 times for travel in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City. 

The Department of Finance Canada even billed $749.77 for accommodation and meal expenses related to Freeland’s driver during a trip in July 2021.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s comments came in response to a reporter’s question regarding the impact of Liberal green policies on Atlantic provinces, which recently experienced a surge in gas prices due to new federal regulations, including a carbon tax hike and the introduction of Clean Fuel Regulations.

The Conservative Party used an edited video of Freeland’s statement to suggest that she was insensitive to Atlantic Canadians struggling with the carbon tax increase, with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre suggesting that she advised them to “move to Toronto and get a bike.” 

However, the edited video omitted Freeland’s acknowledgment that the government’s green policies are indeed affecting rural areas differently, and she emphasized the need for policies that respect communities where driving is necessary.

In a reply to Poilievre’s post, Freeland reiterated her stance, emphasizing that she is both an MP who rides her bike in downtown Toronto and a proud daughter of northern Alberta who got her driver’s license at 16.

Freeland’s comments come around the same time a new poll showed that Liberals are now 10 percentage points behind Conservatives. Atlantic Canada was oversampled in the Abacus Data poll to “get a better sense of things in that region” and they found that while a slight majority would still support Liberals, at just 37% to 36%, the Liberals’ advantage on the east coast appears to be at risk.

The poll also found that the rising cost of living ranks as the top priority, with a broad margin, for Canadians.

Information for this story was found via the National Post, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “Freeland Proudly Says She Doesn’t Own A Car…But Skips Mention of Tax-Funded Chauffeur Service

  • August 5, 2023 7:27 AM at 7:27 am

    She never claimed to not use a car. She just said she didn’t own one. Using a rented car about once a month isn’t actually very frequent – given she’s got a job that involves travelling and meeting people & Canadian general poverty of choices.

    In fact I’m surprised she can cope with just a single rented car journey a month. Maybe she’s right about using public transport a lot?

    Giving the driver a hotel stay is a bit weird – but $500 in the grand scheme of things – I can’t find myself caring.


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