The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has ruled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke the federal ethics act when he vacationed at the Aga Khan’s private island.
Ethics watchdog Mary Dawson concluded her investigation into the Christmas 2016 trip he took with family and friends to the island in the Bahamas.
Dawson found that the prime minister broke the Conflict of Interest Act in four ways.
- Failing to arrange his private affairs to avoid being in conflict of interest;
- Accepting the gift of accommodations on the private island, by someone who is registered to lobby his office;
- Travelling on non-commercial aircraft charted by the Aga Khan; and
- Not recusing himself from discussions that provided an opportunity to further the Aga Khan’s interests.
Her findings make Trudeau the first prime minister to have been found in contravention of the federal conflict of interest rules. The Conflict of Interest Act came into force in 2006, under former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Responding to Dawson’s report in the House of Commons foyer, Trudeau said he is “sorry” he didn’t take further steps to clear the trip and his dealings with the Aga Khan ahead of time. Trudeau said he will report any family trips in the future.
Trudeau said, “We respect and obviously accept the full report of the Commissioner.”
Trudeau and his family were joined on the Dec. 2016 trip by Liberal MP and now Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan and his husband; as well as Liberal Party president Anna Gainey and her husband.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said while he accepts Trudeau’s apology, it’s unfortunate it took a year for the issue to come to a close.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it’s “troubling” that Trudeau acted as if the rules didn’t apply to him.
In what Dawson titled: “The Trudeau Report,” she looked at Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, which he is subject to as an MP, as well as the Conflict of Interest Act which applies to him as prime minister.
Her findings were long anticipated, after the Conservatives filed formal complaints with her office. Some of the allegations of rule infractions referenced in those complaints were deemed not broken.