Watchdog Says Trudeau's Lavish Vacation Broke Ethics Rules

Aaron Brown
December 22, 2017

"During the planning for the December, 2016 trip, the Trudeaus were informed that the Aga Khan and his family may or may not be present", the report said.

Trudeau publicly apologized Wednesday for not going to Dawson before the vacation to get her clearance-something Dawson hinted she may have given.

"I take full responsibility for this", Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa, later calling the travel to the island in the Bahamas a mistake.

Commissioner Mary Dawson said Wednesday that Trudeau put himself "in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan", who is described by Forbes as "one of the world's richest royals" and is a revered religious figure of almost 15 million Ismaili Muslims around the world.

"I've always considered the Aga Khan a close family friend, which is why I didn't clear this family trip in the first place", he said.

The public shaming will be the biggest penalty Trudeau faces for violating the rules. Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently announced he sold shares in the pension company he used to run amid criticism for how he handled his personal finances after getting elected.

Trudeau and his family vacationed on the island during the holidays in late December 2016 into January this year.

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.

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Trudeau originally said that the trip to the Aga Khan's private island was totally fine since he was a "friend".

Trudeau says marijuana would be legal next summer, but did not elaborate on a precise day.

A March 2016 trip to Bells Cay taken by members of his family also created a predicament for the prime minister, she said.

The Trudeau family was accompanied on last December's vacation by Liberal MP Seamus O'Regan and his husband, and Liberal party president Anna Gainey and her husband, Tom Pitfield.

Dawson's report notes that the RCMP didn't have any security concerns with Trudeau taking the helicopter ride.

"Because there was ongoing official business between the Government of Canada and the Aga Khan at the time each invitation was accepted, Mr. Trudeau, as Prime Minister, was in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan", Ms. Dawson said.

Trudeau also went against the rules by not recusing himself from discussions that "provided an opportunity to further private interests associated with institutions of the Aga Khan", the investigation found.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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