Trudeau apologizes for violating ethics laws with visits to Aga Khan's island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he takes full responsibility for going on a family vacation past year that the ethics watchdog deems broke conflict of interest rules.

The Aga Khan told Dawson he developed a relationship with the elder Trudeau in 1960, which spawned years of written correspondence, visits and a family vacation to the Greek islands.

The trip, which Trudeau took with his family, broke the law that says no minister or member of their family can accept gifts or advantages that might reasonably be seen to influence government decisions.

There is an exception in the Act for gifts or other advantages from relatives and friends, but it did not apply in this case, as the Commissioner determined that Trudeau and the Aga Khan can not be characterized as friends within the meaning of the Act.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan, the country's federal ethics commissioner concluded Wednesday.

Trudeau apologized for the incident and said in a tweet that it was "very clear I should have cleared my family vacation & dealings with the Aga Khan in advance".

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.

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In future, he said he plans to ask the ethics commissioner to clear all his family vacations.

Commissioner Mary Dawson said Wednesday that Trudeau put himself "in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan", who is described by Forbes as "one of the world's richest royals" and is a revered religious figure of almost 15 million Ismaili Muslims around the world.

I still consider him a family friend, ' Trudeau said.

The report also notes that a "senior American official of a previous administration" and friends were present during the December 2016 stay.

But Dawson found that the pair had not spoken privately other than briefly in 2000 at Trudeau's father's funeral, during a span of 30 years prior to 2013. I believe this affair will have minimal effect on public opinion, ' Wiseman said.

"Subsection 14 (1) of the Members' Code prohibits Members from accepting gifts or other benefits that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence them in the exercise of an official power, duty or function", Dawson said.

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

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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