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Ethics watchdog opens probe into Trudeau's use of Aga Khan's private helicopter

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson prepares to appear at Commons committee, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday June 10, 2014. The federal ethics commissioner is launching an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of a private helicopter during his winter vacation.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
January 16, 2017 - 8:16 AM

OTTAWA - The federal ethics commissioner is launching an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of a private helicopter during his winter vacation.

Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson says in a letter to Conservative MP Blaine Calkins that Trudeau may have violated multiple sections of the federal ethics code when he hopped on a private helicopter to reach a private island, both owned by the Aga Khan.

The Aga Khan is a longtime Trudeau family friend who is also the spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims.

After taking a government jet to Nassau, the Trudeau entourage, which included a Liberal MP and the party's president, travelled on a private helicopter in order to get to their ultimate destination, a private Bahamian island.

Both the Conflict of Interest Act and Trudeau's own ethics guidelines bar the use of sponsored travel in private aircraft, allowing it only for exceptional circumstances related to the job of prime minister and only with the prior approval of the ethics commissioner.

Trudeau defended the actions last week and said he was ready to answer any questions Dawson had about the trip.

The decision marks the first time that the ethics commissioner has decided to probe the actions of a sitting prime minister, likely ensuring that questions will follow Trudeau along his cross-country tour that continues today in Nova Scotia.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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