Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules when he and his family vacationed on a Bahamas island owned by the Aga Khan, a parliamentary commissioner said.
Trudeau violated sections of the act by accepting the Aga Khan’s “gift of hospitality” last year, Mary Dawson, the country’s ethics commissioner, said in a report released on Wednesday. The government had ongoing business with the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims when the invitations were accepted, and the Aga Khan Foundation was registered to lobby the prime minister’s office.
The vacations “could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau in his capacity as prime minister,” Dawson said. Trudeau contravened the act “when members of his family accepted the Aga Khan’s gift of hospitality and the use of his private island” in March and December 2016.
The report will fuel opposition attacks against an already embattled Liberal government. Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently announced he sold shares in the pension company he used to run amid criticism for how he handled his personal finances after getting elected.
“I take full responsibility for this,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa, later calling the travel to the island in the Bahamas a mistake. “I should have taken precautions, including my family vacation.”
Read how Trudeau skipped Davos this year amid early reports on Aga Khan
Dawson will provide a report to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who will then present it to the house after it reconvenes in January. Her office has the power to issue “compliance orders” when problems emerge, and Trudeau said he will work more closely with the commissioner in the future.
“These are signs of a government and a prime minister that are just out of touch,” New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said from Toronto. Dawson began her investigation after receiving a letter this year from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who said the vacations constituted a gift.
The prime minister 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.
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