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Trudeau apologizes for violating ethics laws with visits to Aga Khan's island

21 December 2017, 01:11 | Damon Campbell

Trudeau apologizes for violating ethics laws with visits to Aga Khan's island

Pages - Ethics Commissioner reports on investigation involving Prime Minister

Trudeau contravened another section of the act when he didn't recuse himself from discussions that "provided an opportunity to improperly further the private interest associated with one of the institutions of the Aga Khan", Dawson said in the report. "Mary Dawson said in a report Wednesday that Trudeau's vacation broke conflict of interest laws that prohibits a minister from accepting gifts or 'advantages" that could reasonably be seen as influencing government decisions.

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Trudeau apologized for the ethics violations, telling reporters "I'm sorry" for the "mistake".

The commissioner said that Trudeau and his family vacationed at the private island twice, once in December 2014, and then the 2016 holiday trip in question.

"It's really important to ensure the integrity of the office, including interactions with the Aga Khan on a professional, ceremonial level", he said.

Mr Trudeau had previously vacationed on the private island in 2014, when he was an MP.

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 objective 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's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, also vacationed on the island with her children and a friend in March 2016.

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Her findings were long anticipated, after the Conservatives filed formal complaints with her office. He was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of Mr Trudeau's father, Pierre. Members of his family visited in March 2016.

She rejected Mr. Trudeau's assertion that the Aga Khan was a long-time family friend, despite the fact they have known each other for decades.

The Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Foundation were registered to lobby Trudeau at the time of the Bahamian vacation.

Trudeau and his family were joined on the December 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.

The Canadian foundation of the Ismaili Muslim spiritual leader, the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada, receives tens of millions of dollars a year from the Canadian government for worldwide development work.

Trudeau said their conversations focused on geopolitics, the Muslim world, Canadian leadership on the global stage and problems the Aga Khan was facing, but didn't involve any funding requests.

"In his written submissions, the Aga Khan described this invitation as an expression of the personal relationship between Mr. Trudeau and his family and the Aga Khan and his family, adding that he and his family have extended such standing invitations to a few close friends". The vacations are gifts under the conflict of interest regimes that Dawson administers.



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