Canada’s first First Lady to become First Mother is cashing-in on the public speaking circuit.
Documents obtained by theBreaker under freedom of information show B.C. Lottery Corporation agreed to pay $12,500 plus expenses for Margaret Trudeau to deliver her 60-to-90 minute “Changing My Mind” keynote speech on Feb. 21 at BCLC’s annual New Horizons on Responsible Gambling convention.
Speakers’ Spotlight, the agent for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother, touts her as a “celebrated Canadian, mental health advocate.”
“From becoming [Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s] wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit,” says Trudeau’s bio.
The contract with BCLC called for Margaret Trudeau to attend the convention’s dinner the night before, to participate in one radio interview before the event and a five to 10 minute media scrum after her speech. Margaret Trudeau’s $12,500 speaking fee is less than the $20,000 that Justin Trudeau was charging charities for his speaking engagements before he became Prime Minister.
The Vancouver Convention Centre-hosted New Horizons attracts many of the world’s top gambling historians, academics and researchers. It is part of BCLC’s public relations strategy, to counter media coverage of gambling addiction and money laundering at B.C. casinos. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation found that the 2016 edition lost $208,642. The 2017 edition was projected to lose $140,000.
BCLC reported a $1.3 billion profit (mainly money that gamblers lost on lotteries and at casinos) for the year-ended March 31, 2016. Its next financial report is expected in September. An estimated 159,000 British Columbians are classified as problem gamblers — that is enough to fill every seat at B.C. Place Stadium for almost three events.
BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody hinted near the end of the 2017 confernece that the 2018 New Horizons venue would be the new Parq casino/hotel complex under construction beside B.C. Place Stadium.