Justin Trudeau Is Canada's First Prime Minister To Violate Federal Ethics Laws

Justin Trudeau Is Canada's First Prime Minister To Violate Federal Ethics Laws

Trudeau evidently isn't the only political heavyweight who considers the Aga Khan a friend - John Kerry, then US secretary of state, was also a guest of the Aga Khan's at the same time, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Thursday.

Mr. Trudeau and his family vacationed on the Aga Khan's island from December 26, 2016 to January 4, 2017. Dawson also ruled that Trudeau didn't clear the use of the Aga Khan's helicopter, a form of private transportation that needs approval from the ethics commissioner's office.

"The Prime Minister should consider making good on a significant part or perhaps all of the $215,000 in security costs, in staffing costs, in technical costs, in Prime Minister's Office support costs - financed with hard-earned Canadian taxpayer dollars", Mr. Kent said in an interview.

Following its release, Trudeau acknowledged he should have taken precautions and cleared his family vacation prior to the trip. However, the Commissioner's report added that during a previous trip in March, 2016, in which Mr. Trudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, went to the island with friends, no members of the Aga Khan's family were present. Moreover, he said it undermines Trudeau's entire defence of the trip.

The group has asked Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd to examine whether the Aga Khan violated the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct by giving Trudeau the gift of a Bahamian vacation.

"Mr. Speaker, this was a family vacation to visit an old-time friend", Mr. Trudeau said in April.

Justin Trudeau Is Canada's First Prime Minister To Violate Federal Ethics Laws
Justin Trudeau Is Canada's First Prime Minister To Violate Federal Ethics Laws

In a report published Wednesday, Dawson concluded the vacation could reasonably be seen as a gift created to influence the prime minister, whose government has had official dealings with the Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader of the world's Ismaili Muslims, and his charitable foundation.

Trudeau may have avoided being found in violation of the federal statute had Dawson agreed that he and the Aga Khan were friends, since the ethics rules make an exception for gifts given by a friend. TheAga Khan, the title held by the leader of the Ismaili branch of Shi'ite Islam, was a pallbearer at the funeral of Justin's father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Given Trudeau's campaign promise of being the leader of a new, wholly ethical federal government, the fact that Trudeau is the first Prime Minister to ever violate federal ethics rules is more than a bit ironic.

"The vacations accepted by Mr. Trudeau or his family could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as Prime Minister", Dawson said in the news release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules when he and his family vacationed on a Bahamas island owned by the Aga Khan, a parliamentary commissioner said.

"Throughout this process, Trudeau has not acted like someone who accepts he has made a mistake", Scheer wrote.

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