Justin Trudeau recuses himself from choice of ethics watchdog in wake of Aga Khan trip

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recused himself from the appointment of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner due to the inquiry into his family’s Christmas vacation to a private island in the Bahamas belonging to the billionaire Aga Khan.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said House Leader Bardish Chagger will fulfil any obligations in relation to the appointment of an ethics commissioner.

Current Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s term ends in July. She had previously announced she will not seek reappointment.

READ MORE: Why Justin Trudeau’s trip to the Aga Khan’s island matters

Dawson had been investigating two conflict-of-interest claims from the Tories regarding Trudeau’s vacation, the first regarding the location of the vacation and the second regarding the use of the Aga Khan’s private helicopter.

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Few details about the investigations have been released. The Tories have hammered Trudeau for his response to questions about it, or rather, his lack of response. 

His response has remained the same, with little variation for months. The boilerplate phrase even turned up when MP Chris Warkentin went through official parliamentary channels to ask the prime minister when he had met with the ethics commissioner.

“The Prime Minister is happy to engage with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and answer any questions she may have,” the answer to the order paper read.


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