Watchdog Says Trudeau's Lavish Vacation Broke Ethics Rules

President Donald Trump greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his arrival at the White House in Washington Monday Feb. 13 2017

Dawson found that besides the post-Christmas trip, Trudeau had also accepted a vacation on the island for himself and his family in December 2014, and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau set up a trip to the island in March 2016 with a friend of hers and their children.

Ms. Dawson's detailed investigation released on Wednesday is raising questions about Mr. Trudeau's initial explanation to Canadians. Moreover, he said it undermines Trudeau's entire defence of the trip.

Trudeau also contravened the rules when he and his family travelled in the Aga Khan's private helicopter last December and when his family travelled on a non-commercial aircraft chartered by the Aga Khan in March 2016, Dawson said. Section 12 prohibits ministers and their family members from accepting travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any objective unless required in their capacity as public office holders, in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.

Mr. Cullen said it sounds like Mr. Trudeau was simply looking forward to an "awesome" vacation at someone else's expense.

The group has asked Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd to examine whether the Aga Khan violated the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct by giving Trudeau the gift of a Bahamian vacation.

"For these reasons, I determined that the vacations accepted by Mr. Trudeau or his family might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau". In a news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau did not offer to pay any financial penalty in response to the Commissioner's report.

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Trudeau broke the act by failing to arrange his private affairs to avoid being in conflict of interest, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson said in a news release.

This unedited video from The Canadian Press shows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting with Aga Khan on May 17, 2016.

The Aga Khan Foundation has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Canadian government to promote development and other projects in several countries.

It is the first time an Ethics Commissioner has found a sitting Prime Minister to have violated the Act since it was passed in 2006.

In a report published Wednesday, Dawson concluded the vacation could reasonably be seen as a gift created to influence the prime minister, whose government has had official dealings with the Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader of the world's Ismaili Muslims, and his charitable foundation. While there is no official sanction against the Prime Minister, the negative findings stand to affect public perceptions.

"I take full responsibility for this", Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa, later calling the travel to the island in the Bahamas a mistake. "I am sorry not to have done", he said about the fact that he had not communicated his holiday plans to the commissioner Dawson.

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