Trudeau talks about 'quality family time' on the Aga Khan's island - Macleans.ca
 

Trudeau talks about ‘quality family time’ on the Aga Khan’s island

Three highlights from the Prime Minister’s response to the finding that he violated conflict of interest rules


 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Aga Khan on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reaction to the federal ethics watchdog’s finding that he broke conflict of interest rules by vacationing on a private Bahamian island was a delicate balance of accepting formal responsibility while deflecting real blame.

Federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson issued a report on Trudeau’s Christmas holiday last year on the Aga Khan’s island, concluding that he violated rules against accepting gifts that might reasonably be seen as influencing government decisions.

READ: Trudeau’s (early) valentine to the Aga Khan

But Dawson’s reasoning was complicated by the fact that the federal code would have allowed Trudeau to accept the same gifts from a friend. She concluded that even though the Aga Khan was a friend of Trudeau’s father, the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, there didn’t seem to have been enough continuing contact to amount to an active friendship between Justin Trudeau and the billionaire hereditary leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims.

Rejection of that subjective assessment of what counts as a friendship ran through Trudeau’s response to Dawson’s ruling, when he faced reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons today. Here are three key quotes that sum up his stance and capture his tone:

In Trudeau’s version, this wasn’t about a vacation more luxurious than most Canadians can imagine; it was about quality family time. “The Aga Khan is someone who has been a longtime friend of my family’s, a friend of mine, a friend to Canada as well. And for me to look for a place to have a quiet vacation, where I can have quality family time, is something we all look for with our families.”

READ: A holy man with an eye for connections

Beyond enjoying the Aga Khan’s hospitality, Trudeau describes his host as a sort of worldly interlocutor, but not a man engaged on Canadian files. “We talked about global, general issues. He’s a friend that I’ve talked a lot with about the international context, the Syrian situation, the Ismaili community, the general Muslim community. We’ve had some very long conversations about that. But we didn’t talk about specific Canadian policy issues.”

Trudeau wouldn’t accept Dawson’s conclusion that he and the Aga Khan aren’t friends. And no sanctions flow from her report. Still, he says it matters. “We need to make sure that the office of the prime minister is without reproach. And, in the future, including on family friends and personal family trips, we will be proactively working with the office of commissioner to ensure there is no conflict of interest, no appearance of conflict of interest.”

MORE ABOUT AGA KHAN:


 

Trudeau talks about ‘quality family time’ on the Aga Khan’s island

  1. Hate to say I told you so — but “I told you so”. So much for Trudeau’s platform of “Openness, transparency and fairness”.
    This article doesn’t cover it. But anyone notice how the price of the trip has gone up?
    Here’s what was tabled in parliament.
    March: $71,988
    July: $127,187
    December: $215,000
    Looks like the trip cost 3x more then what what was tabled just 9 months ago.

  2. Dawson’s finding doesn’t make sense. They’re close friends. The video at 1:50 and 7:42 shows so: https://youtu.be/dgpxnFxxTes

    • Why is it OK to receive large gifts from friends who head organizations that receive federal money, but it’s not OK to receive large gifts from acquaintances who head organizations that receive federal money?

      • There’s an exception to Section 11 of the Conflict of Interest Act for friends that I’ve pasted below. It impacts how Dawson’s finding would have turned out.

        Exception

        (2) Despite subsection (1), a public office holder or member of his or her family may accept a gift or other advantage

        (a) that is permitted under the Canada Elections Act;

        (b) that is given by a relative or friend; or

        (c) that is received as a normal expression of courtesy or protocol, or is within the customary standards that normally accompany the public office holder’s position.

        • I fully understand there’s an exception for friends. What I have trouble understanding is why that exception exists.

          Why is it *impossible* for a friend’s gift to put a MP in a conflict of interest? Given that most human beings would normally trust friends more than non-friends, and would normally prefer to do favours for friends than non-friends, and would normally prefer to bend/break the rules for friends than non-friends, if anything friends should be treated with even greater suspicion than non-friends.

          To put it succinctly: what is the rationale for this exception?

          • You are absolutely right-there is no logic. I found the same nonsense when I understood the Feds definition of a blind trust. In Canada, Morneau could have put his Morneau shares in a blind trust but that really does nothing since the shares don’t have to sold and replaced by something else.
            In the U.S. you need to put your shares in a blind trust and then the Trustee sells those shares and buys something else that you have no input into and no idea what’s been purchased. So, the U.S. blind trust is truly blind. What we have here is ludicrous.
            It appears there is a lot of rework required to the rules.

          • Yup, Canada’s ethics framework is seriously in need of a significant update.

    • The Aga Khan and Justin are not close friends. They hadn’t spoken to each other in over 30 years . Only after Justin was elected did the Aga Khan reconnect. I guess he likes friends in high places. Also Sophie and several friends also has a vacation there. Form a Globe editorial: ” On March 9, just two days before the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left for her Caribbean getaway, a representative of the Aga Khan contacted the Prime Minister’s Office to request a formal meeting between the two men to discuss, among other things, a pending $15-million federal grant to the Global Centre for Pluralism, an Ottawa-based pet project of the Aga Khan.”

  3. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

    I guess you all do. That’s all that matters.

    • You don’t understand what the fuss is about?? Are you from some country where corruption is rampant and is the norm??? For the first time in Canadian history a sitting PM has been found guilty of breaking the law. It matters because: ethics, integrity, transparency, openness, honesty…..

      • “Are you from some country where corruption is rampant and is the norm???”

        Um, yes? I live in Canada. Shall I make a list of all the b.s. that has gone on over the years? My favourite is the condoning of torture on Canadian citizens by countries who are supposedly our ‘friends’. Naughty is the country who isn’t our ‘friend.’

        Hypocrisy goes as far as cynicism.

  4. Pretty sure Justin could have “quality family time” at Harrington Lake, you know that estate just 35 km northwest of Ottawa, in Gatineau Park in the Gatineau Hills in Quebec. Taxpayers pay for it so he should use it rather than burdening taxpayers with excess vacations, 10 in 1 year.

  5. The PM needs help…

    3:19 PM
    Richard Courtemanche
    To pm Copy ahmed.hussen and 152 others

    …for being so egocentric, confused and disparaging towards Canadians. Can there really be value and sincerity in apologies from a narcissistic personality! Was his public apology for breaching ethics just a minor and irrelevant setback to his arrogant governing style and his pursuit of totalitarianism! Honestly, Trudeau’s apology was insincere.

    Those who naively voted and continue to support Trudeau, put all Canadians and this country in jeopardy. The PM needs to grow up and listen to competent Canadians, however, he needs psychological help as well. Of course, he won’t get that from his entourage of lethargic and submissive ministers. His disingenuous moral elitism and irrational spirituality are worsened by his stubbornness and negative foreign influence. The PM and his minions are destroying Canadianism by readily bypassing their responsibilities towards Canadians while compensating other countries, illegal migrants, and terrorists, etc… to the tune of $billions.

    Some of Trudeau’s important vulnerabilities are that he doesn’t understand the Islamic threat and, his Jihad to establish the Islamic socio-moral order in Canada. Of course, the one punishment or more like his reincarnation as a result of the misappropriation of public funds to visit his new friend Mr Khan, is to reimburse the $200+ making sure the money comes from his own pocket. Then, participate in as many reparation sessions necessary with experts (not of his choosing) on Islam in order to get de-indoctrinated from his stupid and nefarious understanding. Mission impossible! Then, it’s doubtful that he can be reliable as leader of this country.

  6. Trudeau approval rating Angus reid poll Dec 7-14 46 % This was before Mary Dawson brought down the ethical hammer.

    Trump approval rating Dec 20-22 Gallup 38% and Dec 19-21 44% — both 1500 samples average 41 %.

    Yet Canadian journalist constantly refer to Trump’s bad approval rating and Trudeau’s popularity.

    The next polls after Trudeau’s lack of ethics is highlighted he will be less popular than Trump.

    PS Canadian’s are far too polite to disapprove of a person. The same AR poll had time for a change at 46% and re-elect Trudeau at 32%… that is a vote against Liberal policies.

    • I hope the liberals have a continual slide into obscurity; without a doubt the worst Canadian government of all time.

      • Fully agree.