Justin Trudeau’s office to release his daily...
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Jan 12, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

Justin Trudeau’s office to release his daily schedule

Meetings and more meetings. The Prime Minister’s Office has begun revealing Justin Trudeau’s daily activities.


OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had private meetings scheduled Monday.

So, what’s the news in that? Well, the mere fact that the Prime Minister’s Office released a daily itinerary saying so.

In a practice that catches up with other political leaders, Trudeau’s office says it will now release an overview of his day’s activities.

“It will be a daily practice . . . those will keep you abreast of what he is up to,” said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for the prime minister.

“I think the overarching objective is openness and transparency as much as possible so at least people know what their prime minister is doing, where he is and have a sense of his activities,” Ahmad said in an interview Monday.

The details of Trudeau’s Monday schedule were fairly scarce, saying simply, “The prime minister will be in private meetings. It offered no specifics on either the people the prime minister was meeting with in Ottawa or the topics of their conversations. But Ahmad defended the first day’s notice.

“Sometimes they are meetings that can’t be disclosed but at least you know he is here doing meetings,” he said.

The release of a daily itinerary is a new development in Ottawa, where previously the Prime Minister’s Office would release details of only public events. Trudeau’s itinerary can be found on the prime minister’s website.

And if the Prime Minister’s Office wants to keep details of some meetings secret, that’s fine, said Chris Waddell, a journalism professor at Carleton University.

Some discussions have to happen “beyond public attention,” he said.

“Who he meets with in the office on a daily basis I think it’s reasonable to sort of say that doesn’t need to be public information,” he said.

“But I do think it’s a problem if he’s going out and delivering speeches to private groups and we don’t know about it,” Waddell said an interview.

“If he’s out speaking to a constituent group, I think the public needs to know about that,” Waddell said.

Still, he noted that Trudeau’s new practice is a contrast to his predecessor Stephen Harper.

“Mr. Harper almost carried it to the other extreme in that we really didn’t know what he was doing or where he was going a huge amount of the time,” Waddell said.

The premier’s office in Ontario has long released the daily schedule of the province’s top politician, dating back to the days of Mike Harris.

So, too, has the White House. On Monday, for example, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were to receive the daily presidential briefing in the Oval Office, according to the schedule released by the White House.

But as the experience south of the border has revealed, the practice of releasing a daily schedule is no guarantee that all will be revealed.

In a 2012 article, the Politico website found that many events were never listed on Obama’s public schedule, such as a meeting with actor George Clooney or the former Senate Speaker.

Politico analyzed more than 4,000 photos publicly posted by official White House photographers and concluded that some one-third of the events shown were never on his public schedule.

Toronto Star

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