Andrew Scheer, MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle and candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, has sent a letter to the Ethics Commissioner formally asking her to investigate prime minister Justin Trudeau for accepting the gift of a free luxury vacation on a private island.
Scheer noted that the facts in this case are indisputable. Justin Trudeau and his family took a secret vacation to a private island in the Bahamas, which is owned by His Royal Highness, the Aga Khan whose The Aga Khan Foundation has received tens of millions of dollars from the federal government. According to Scheer, these facts raise a question regarding a possible conflict of interests.
The following is the text of Scheer’s letter to the Ethics Commissioner:
January 8, 2017
Ms. Mary Dawson
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner
Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner
Parliament of Canada
66 Slater Street, 22nd Floor
I am writing to you regarding the acceptance by the Prime Minister of a private gift, namely a Caribbean vacation, given to him by a private individual.
As has been reported by the media, Prime Minister Trudeau and his family travelled on a Canadian Forces jet to the Bahamas during the holiday season to stay at His Royal Highness the Aga Khan’s privately owned Bell Island.
Section 14.1 of the Conflict of Interest Act is very clear. “Neither a Member nor any member of a Member’s family shall accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or other benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Member in the exercis of a duty or function of his or her office.”
The Aga Khan Foundation, has been the beneficiary of tens of millions of dollars in government contributions to international development projects, in addition to 30 million dollars from the Government of Canada for the Foundation’s Ottawa headquarters. His Royal Highness the Aga Khan is a member of the Board of Directors of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
The Prime Minister himself noted in his Open and Accountable Government document that public office holders, “have an obligation to perform their official duties and arrange their private affairs in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.”
I would respectfully ask that your office conduct an inquiry pursuant to Section 27.1 into whether the Prime Minister violated any provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act by accepting this gift. I would further request that your office inform me as to how your office will proceed and on what timeline. Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Parliament
cc: The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC, MP, Prime Minister of Canada
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