Watchdog: Justin Trudeau Is Under Scrutiny Over Alleged Ethics Violations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan, the country's federal ethics commissioner concluded Wednesday.

Accepting an invitation, and accommodations on the private island, from someone who is registered to lobby his office.

At a news conference, Mr. Trudeau said he has drawn lessons from the report and will proactively check all family trips beforehand to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

'I fully accept the report of the commissioner. The vacations are gifts under the conflict of interest regimes that Dawson administers. His wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and guests accepted another trip in 2016. In Dec. 2014 and 2016, Mr. Trudeau and his family went to the Aga Khan's residence.

The report also notes that a "senior American official of a previous administration" and friends were present during the December 2016 stay.

Trudeau and his family vacationed on the Aga Khan's island from December 26, 2016 to January 4, 2017.

"Obviously there was a mistake", Trudeau told reporters.




No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any goal unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.

Trudeau says he has known the Aga Khan, Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini, since childhood.

Going forward, Trudeau vowed to clear all family vacations with the ethics watchdog in advance in order to avoid conflicts. Late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the Aga Khan were friends. Trudeau had publicly confirmed they were taken there by the Aga Khan's private helicopter. "We need to make sure that the office of the prime minister is without reproach", Trudeau said.

'Justin Trudeau had no personal or private interactions with the Aga Khan and his family between 1983 and April 2013, when he became Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, except for his father's funeral in 2000, ' she wrote.

Dawson found, however, that Trudeau didn't contravene the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, because he didn't discuss House business with the Aga Khan. Her responsibility is to protect the integrity of the office. Some of the allegations of rule infractions referenced in those complaints were deemed not broken.

The opposition has also accused Finance Minister Bill Morneau of being in a conflict of interest for not putting his assets in a blind trust.

If Dawson does not complete her reports on these matters before her departure, it will be up to her replacement Mario Dion, to determine whether he will continue to pursue, drop, or reevaluate the investigations.

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