The Canadian government is on track to spend a record amount on security to protect Justin Trudeau and members of his family this year.
According to records obtained byLa Presse, it has cost $17 million for the squad of RCMP officers to guard Trudeau from when he was elected prime minister last November to this June. That works out to an average of more than $2 million a month, and is on pace to reach around $25 million in one year. The most expensive month so far was March, which cost the government $5 million that included more than $1 million in overtime payments. That month saw a particularly hectic itinerary for Trudeau, who was travelling to meet with US President Barack Obama in Washington, and attend meetings at the United Nations. Trudeau has faced criticism for his packed travel schedule, prompting the government to clarify the rules around how his trips abroad are financed. During the first six months of his terms, Trudeau spent 30 days outside of Canada, while former Conservative leader Stephen Harper was gone for 16 days, The Toronto Starreported in April. Trudeau has defended his frequent trips as an important part of boosting Canada's reputation on the world stage. Stephen Harper, who claimed his government was fiscally responsible, was slammed for blowing through his security budget, overspending by more than $23 million over the course eight years, iPolitics reported in 2014. The annual budget for Harper's security eventually rose to nearly $20 million a year, more than double that of his predecessor. At the time, former Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale, who now serves as Trudeau's public safety minister, said he was concerned about Harper's cost overruns. "It just seems like a pretty clear case of petty bad management," Goodale told iPolitics. "It seems to be that the numbers need to be reconciled and there needs to be an explanation for why there is this constant and very substantial overrun year after year after year." Follow Rachel Browne on Twitter.