Canadian PM Broke Ethics Rules by Visiting Aga Khan Island: Watchdog

22 December, 2017, 02:07 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • THE CANADIAN PRESS

Moreover, she found Trudeau didn't properly recuse himself on two occasions in May 2016 from private meetings about the Aga Khan and a $15-million grant to the billionaire philanthropist's endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism.

"The date will not be July 1, I can assure you of that", Trudeau said.

Trudeau failed to order his private affairs in a manner to guard against conflicts of interest, as required by law. He said he didn't believe the vacation would be an ethical concern because he'd been told-he didn't specify by whom-there was no issue since the Aga Khan is a friend.

Trudeau and his family were joined on the December 2016 trip by Liberal MP and now Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan and his husband; as well as Liberal Party president Anna Gainey and her husband.

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Trudeau apologized for the ethics violations, telling reporters "I'm sorry" for the "mistake".

Democracy Watch, a national accountability advocacy group, has also raised concerns that Trudeau faces no penalty for violating the federal ethics law.

Mr. Trudeau long maintained he broke no rules because public-office holders are allowed to accept gifts from friends.

Trudeau evidently isn't the only political heavyweight who considers the Aga Khan a friend - John Kerry, then USA secretary of state, was also a guest of the Aga Khan's at the same time, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Thursday. It was Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, who contacted the Aga Khan's daughter about vacationing on the island in March 2016 and then over Christmas a year ago.

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Trudeau also contravened the rules when he and his family travelled in the Aga Khan's private helicopter last December and when his family travelled on a non-commercial aircraft chartered by the Aga Khan in March 2016, Dawson said.

According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the start day for legal cannabis in Canada is vaguely set for "next summer" and not July 1st like everyone had originally thought. As he defended his all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas earlier this year, Mr. Trudeau's stock answer was that he had simply been paying a visit to his friend. "I should have taken precautions, including my family vacation".

Dawson's report notes, however, that there is no evidence Trudeau actually advanced the private interest of the Aga Khan or any institution he controls.

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 considered one provision of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, to which Mr. Trudeau is subject in his role as an MP, and a number of provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act, which applies to Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as Prime Minister", Commissioner Dawson said.

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