Watchdog: Justin Trudeau Is Under Scrutiny Over Alleged Ethics Violations

Trudeau Vacation Broke Ethics Rules, Canadian Commissioner Says

Trudeau says he never believed there would be any problems when he and his family vacationed last Christmas at the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan and he plans to get pre-approval from the ethics commissioner for all his family vacations in future.

There is an exception in the act for gifts or "other advantages" from friends or relatives, but Dawson ruled it didn't apply because "Trudeau and the Aga Khan can not be characterized as friends".

The Aga Khan, a prominent philanthropist, has business ties with the Canadian government and there was "ongoing official business between the Government of Canada and the Aga Khan at the time each invitation was accepted", Dawson found.

The Aga Khan Foundation is a registered lobbyist and has received hundreds of millions from the federal government over the past several decades, from both the Liberal and Conservative parties.

Trudeau's position had been that he didn't violate any ethics rules because of the long-running family connection to the Aga Khan, which began in the 1960s when Pierre Trudeau was prime minister.

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Dawson also found that Trudeau contravened section 12 of the Act when his family travelled on non-commercial aircraft chartered by the Aga Khan in March 2016 and when he and his family travelled in the Aga Khan's private helicopter in December 2016.

He said he considered the Aga Khan a close family friend and that's why he didn't think to run his trip by the ethics commissioner before going.

The PM says he erred by failing to clear the vacations in advance.

She found that Trudeau contravened sections 5, 11, 12 and 21 of the Conflict of Interest Act but that he did not contravene subsection 14 (1) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, or subsection 6 (1) or section 7 of the Act.

Dawson found that the prime minister broke the Conflict of Interest Act in four ways.

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But Dawson notes that between 1983 and 2013, the younger Trudeau and the Aga Khan only interacted once at the elder Trudeau's funeral.

Her findings make Trudeau the first prime minister to have been found in contravention of the federal conflict of interest rules.

Dawson's report revealed other guests, including a senior American official of a previous administration, and friends of those other guests, were also present.

Mary Dawson released a scathing report on Wednesday into Mr Trudeau's trips.

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

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

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