Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things from Ethic Commissioner's Report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things from Ethic Commissioner's Report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Article excerpt

Five things from the Trudeau ethics report

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OTTAWA - Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson released a report Wednesday concluding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private island owned by the Aga Khan. Here are five key findings from the report:

1. The Aga Khan did not meet the definition of a friend.

There is an exception in the Conflict of Interest Act for gifts or other advantages from relatives and friends, but Dawson found it did not apply in this case. Dawson's report said the Aga Khan's relationship with Trudeau's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, developed in the 1960s. That family friendship facilitated the current prime minister's friendship with the Aga Khan, but Dawson said it was still unlikely the vacation offer would have been extended to Trudeau "had there not been official interactions between the government of Canada and the Aga Khan and had Mr. Trudeau not become a significant player on the Canadian political scene."

Trudeau said Wednesday he still sees the spiritual leader to be a "family friend" despite Dawson's determination.

2. The prime minister broke the rules on gifts.

Dawson found Trudeau breached section 11 the act pertaining to gifts or "other advantages" when he and members of his family accepted the Aga Khan's "gift of hospitality" and the use of his private island. There were official dealings with the Aga Khan and his foundation -- the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada -- who were registered to lobby the Prime Minister's Office, Dawson said. She said the vacations could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as prime minister.

3. Flights were an issue.

Dawson found Trudeau breached another section of the act when his family travelled on a non-commercial aircraft chartered by the Aga Khan in March 2016 and when he and his family travelled in the spiritual leader's private helicopter in December 2016. …

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