Ethics watchdog investigates PM’s trip to spiritual leader’s private island

Ethics watchdog looks at PM's trip to island

OTTAWA — Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has opened a second investigation related to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vacation on the Aga Khan’s private Caribbean island.

The inquiry under the Conflict of Interest Code for MPs comes after Dawson conducted an initial review following a request by Conservative MP and leadership hopeful Andrew Scheer about Trudeau’s acceptance of the trip as a gift.

Accepting the trip showed a clear lack of judgment on the prime minister’s part, Scheer said, noting Monday’s meeting with U.S. president Donald Trump provided an opportunity to promote Canadian interests.

Trudeau is now under a cloud of doubt regarding his own ethical standards, Scheer added.

The commissioner also started an examination in January under the Conflict of Interest Act regarding the same trip following a request from Tory MP Blaine Calkins.

“We cannot tell you anything else at this time, as our office is required to conduct all investigations in confidence,” Dawson’s office said in a statement Monday.

Trudeau has come under fire from opposition parties for using the Aga Khan’s personal helicopter to get to the island and for accepting such a gift from a longtime family friend.

The prime minister has compounded the issue by his reaction, said NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen.

“I just think the whole thing stinks,” he said. “I think this puts him in a very bad light.”

The Prime Minister’s Office did not offer an updated response to Dawson’s second investigation on Monday, noting in a statement Trudeau is happy to answer any questions the commissioner may have.

Both the Conflict of Interest Act and Trudeau’s own ethics guidelines bar the use of sponsored travel in private aircraft, allowing only for exceptional circumstances related to the job of prime minister and only with the prior approval of the ethics commissioner.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose took a Caribbean vacation on a billionaire’s yacht around the time members of her caucus were criticizing Trudeau for vacationing with the Aga Khan but she did not breach ethical guidelines.

“I followed all the rules,” she said outside the Commons Monday. “I don’t have anything to add to that.”

Ambrose, who contacted the commissioner’s office about her travel on Jan. 12, is not under examination by Dawson.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

 

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Dube, Foote pace Rockets to O.T. win

World junior gold medalists key in 4-3 victory Wednesday over Lethbridge

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

Most Read