Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed he and his family accepted trips on the Aga Khan’s private helicopter during his vacation to the spiritual leader’s private island in the Bahamas, which may violate a section of the Conflict of Interest Act.
“The travel back-and-forth from Nassau to the island happens on the Aga Khan’s private helicopter, which he offered us the use of,” Trudeau said Thursday.
“It’s something that certainly we look forward to discussing with … the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. But we don’t see an issue on that.”
Conservative Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer asked the ethics commissioner on Monday to review whether Trudeau’s stay on the Aga Khan’s island is a gift that violates the Conflict of Interest Act.
Section 12 of the act also has rules prohibiting cabinet ministers from accepting sponsored travel.
“No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.”
The prime minister had not gone to the ethics commissioner before his trip.
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- Trudeau spent vacation on the Aga Khan’s island
The Prime Minister’s Office had been tight-lipped about Trudeau’s vacation until the National Post reported last week that he was in the Bahamas and staying with the Aga Khan.
Wednesday the PMO confirmed that Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan and his husband Steve Doussis, as well as Liberal Party president Anna Gainey and her husband Tom Pitfield, were guests on the family trip.
Trudeau has described the Aga Khan as a longtime family friend he has known his whole life. who was also an honorary pallbearer at his father Pierre Trudeau’s funeral.
Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is the hereditary spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and a multimillionaire philanthropist.
He is head of the Aga Khan Development Network, which receives some of its funding from the Canadian government, to support social development, education and charity projects.