Politics

Ethics watchdog says Justin Trudeau's vacation broke conflict rules

Trudeau's Christmas vacation 'could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as prime minister'

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff – RC1AEBD21000

OTTAWA — Federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has concluded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan.

Dawson says in a report today that Trudeau’s vacation broke conflict of interest law that prohibits a minister or any member of their family from accepting gifts or “advantages” that could reasonably be seen as influencing government decisions.

The only exception is if the person providing the gift is a friend, but Dawson says that exception didn’t apply in this case.

Dawson says the Aga Khan and his foundation were registered to lobby Trudeau’s office in December 2016, meaning the vacation “could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as Prime Minister.”

Dawson also concludes that Trudeau broke the ethics code when he travelled on the Aga Khan’s private helicopter.

Moreover, she says Trudeau didn’t properly recuse himself on two occasions in May 2016 from sensitive government meetings about the Aga Khan and a $15-million grant to the endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism.