Trudeau's tropical vacation broke rules, says ethics czar

21 December, 2017, 01:15 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke some conflict of interest rules when he accepted a vacation previous year on the Aga Khan's private island, the ethics watchdog said today, the first time a prime minister has been found to have committed such a transgression.

"Section 12 [of the Act] prohibits ministers and their family members from accepting travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any goal unless required in their capacity as public office holders, in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner", Ms. Dawson said.

The finding comes while the House of Commons is off for its Christmas break, but will nonetheless revive opposition attacks against the Prime Minister and his family's decision to accept free trips and helicopter flights to holiday with the billionaire religious leader. Members of his family and guests also accepted a March 2016 trip.

Dawson said the Aga Khan and his foundation were registered to lobby and Justin Trudeau didn't properly recuse himself on two occasions in May 2016 from government meetings about a 15 million Canadian dollar grant to the endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism, where the Aga Khan is chairman of the board.

The Aga Khan, a prominent philanthropist, has business ties with the Canadian government and there was "ongoing official business between the Government of Canada and the Aga Khan at the time each invitation was accepted", Dawson found.

But Dawson found that the pair had not spoken privately other than briefly in 2000 at Trudeau's father's funeral, during a span of 30 years prior to 2013.

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"I take full responsibility for it". Canada's federal ethics commissioner has concluded Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan. Section 12 prohibits ministers and their family members from accepting travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any goal unless required in their capacity as public office holders, in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner. We need to make sure that the office of the prime minister is without reproach'.

The Act allows for some exemptions for gifts from relatives and friends, though in the report Dawson concluded that Trudeau and the Aga Khan can not be characterized as friends.

Ethics Watchdog, Mary Dawson, who has been investigating the Prime Minister's trip has ruled that the Prime Minister violated the ethics code in four ways. The first of these trips was in December 2014, and the second in December 2016.

He said he still consider the Aga Khan a "close family friend" but will abide by the Commissioner's findings and adjust his dealings with him in the future.

On both occasions, the report states that Trudeaus were told that the Aga Khan and his family "may or may not be present".

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