QCOSTARICA – Manitoba (Canada) Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister in in the hot seat, days ahead of a provincial election, for his time spent at his vacation home in Costa Rica.
Canada’s CBC News reported on Thursday that Pallister, who represents the constituency of Fort Whyte, has spent a total of 240 days either en route to or in Costa Rica since becoming a member of the Manitoba Legislature in 2012.
That works out to roughly 20% of this time. Pallister did not dispute CBC’s reporting on his 15 trips to Costa Rica since returning to provincial politics.
“I don’t stop working. No public dollars were involved in my travel,” Pallister said. “We saved for over 30 years to have a vacation property that we enjoy as a family, but I also work and I would want to be clear about that.”
Asked if elected Premier of Manitoba he would spend the same amount of time in Costa Rica, Pallister said “probably not”, then later said he expects his time there to be reduced by a “considerable amount.”
His comments come just days before the provincial election on Tuesday April 19. The latest poll data shows his party is in position to win a majority.
The CBC report noted that none of Pallister’s trips to Costa Rica, where he has a vacation home, occurred when the legislature was sitting. He defended the amount of time and did not publicly disclose his 15 trips to Costa Rica because he was trying to “safeguard the protection” of his family and balance that with reporters “knowing where I am all the time.”
“I do have an obligation, I feel it’s an obligation, to protect my family,” said Pallister.
“I signed up for this job, my wife and my daughters didn’t.”
He also said he works every day even while he’s away.
“I’m probably a workaholic, and I work every day at what I do, and I work hard, but I also want to protect my family’s privacy and that balance,” Pallister said, at a news conference.
He said he regularly works 60 hours a week, even while away with his wife and daughters.
“I spend an extensive amount of time in contact with my office while I’m there, which would be a point of disagreement with my wife,” said Pallister.