Aga Khan: the journey from Trudeau was problematic, friend or not, said the ex-commissioner of the ethics

News 11 January, 2018
  • AFP

    Maxime Huard

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 13:21

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 18:34

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    OTTAWA | Friend or not with the Aga Khan, Justin Trudeau in hot water by agreeing to stay on the island, the spiritual leader to the end of 2016, according to former ethics commissioner Mary Dawson, thus destroying the main defence of the prime minister.

    “In both cases, there would be a problem,” said Ms. Dawson in front of the ethics committee of the House of commons on Wednesday.

    In his report submitted at the end of December, the commissioner concluded that the prime minister has breached four articles of the Law on conflict of interest when he stayed on the private island of the Aga Khan December 26, 2016 January 4, 2017.

    The canadian prime minister has always defended by pointing out that the Aga Khan was a friend and that he could therefore not accept the “gift” vacation in the Bahamas.

    However, the commissioner has determined that “Mr. Trudeau and the Aga Khan are not friends in the sense of the Law”.

    Attempt to influence

    Mary Dawson went further Wednesday, ensuring that even if the Aga Khan had been a friend, the trip was still problematic, because Justin Trudeau is met by following the religious leader for official matters.

    “If you are in a position of power, you have to be careful,” warned the commissioner of going out.

    The Aga Khan foundation, which is engaged in lobbying activities with the government, has received $ 330 million from the federal since 1981. The trip offered Justin Trudeau may reasonably be perceived as an attempt to exert influence with him, according to Ms. Dawson.

    It suggests completely get rid of the exception in the Law on the conflict of interest that enables an elected official to receive gifts from a friend.

    Mary Dawson was also argued that the law should not provide for penalties in particular. “Public opinion and the desire to be reelected should be sufficient incentive to comply with the law,” she said.

    Questions without answers

    Tuesday, the liberals had been defeated by a motion of a conservative urging Justin Trudeau to testify before the committee. A similar motion was again presented, and defeat on Wednesday.

    The conservative mp Peter Kent remains convinced that Justin Trudeau will be required to appear before the committee to shed light on this story once and for all”.

    “There are still questions that only Mr. Trudeau can answer,” she said the mp néodémocrate Nathan Cullen. The latter wondered whether the prime minister has used the excuse of “friend” in other folders and if it intends to amend the law.

    Called upon to respond, the office of the prime minister recalled, in the late afternoon that Justin Trudeau is committed to approve all of his personal trips in the future. It always considers the Aga Khan as a friend, is there shown.