Trudeau ‘sorry’ for violating conflict laws with visits to Aga Khan’s island

‘Vacations accepted by Mr. Trudeau or his family could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence’ him

By Catharine Tunney, CBC News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for his actions after the federal ethics watchdog found he violated some provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act when he vacationed on a private island owned by the Aga Khan last Christmas season and took a private helicopter to get there.

He also promised to check with the ethics commissioner before booking holidays.

“I’m sorry I didn’t, and in the future I will be clearing all my family vacations with the commissioner,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Trudeau and his family stayed at the Aga Khan’s home on Bell Island in the Bahamas from Dec. 26, 2016 to Jan. 4. Trudeau had publicly confirmed they were taken there by the Aga Khan’s private helicopter.

The PMO has also confirmed that Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan and his husband, Steve Doussis, as well as Liberal Party president Anna Gainey and her husband, Tom Pitfield, were guests on the trip.

After investigating the prime minister for the better part of a year, outgoing Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson released her decision on Wednesday.

She found that besides the post-Christmas trip, Trudeau had also accepted a vacation on the island for himself and his family in December 2014, and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau set up a trip to the island in March 2016 with a friend of hers and their children.

“When Mr. Trudeau, as prime minister, accepted the gifts of hospitality from the Aga Khan and the use of his private island in March and December 2016, there were ongoing official dealings with the Aga Khan, and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada was registered to lobby his office,” Dawson’s office said.

“Therefore, the vacations accepted by Mr. Trudeau or his family could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as prime minister.”


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