An investigation was launched earlier this month on the country’s top politician regarding an alleged conflict of interest following a request from Ponoka’s federal representative.
Red Deer-Lacombe Conservative MP Blaine Calkins — who is also the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics — submitted a request to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, to look into certain aspects of a recent holiday taken by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This is the first time in history that a sitting Prime Minister has been the subject of such an investigation.
The allegation is the Prime Minister violated two sections of the Conflict of Interest Act by using a private helicopter to reach a private island, both of which are owned by a rather influential individual and long-time friend of the Trudeau family, the Aga Khan.
In his request, Calkins stated the Prime Minister violated the Act by taking the private flight and that there are concerns about the ‘friendly’ relationship between the Aga Khan and the PM as well as what that may mean regarding interactions between the federal government and the Aga Khan plus his organization.
Commissioner Dawson, in a letter to Calkins on Jan. 13, outlined her office would conduct an investigation into the PM’s travel arrangements and his stay on the private island. However, her office was unable to confirm how long the investigation would take or when the results may by released.
In a statement released by Calkins last week, he was pleased to see the Commissioner accept his request and that no one should be above the rules.
“The Prime Minister of Canada ought to know that regardless of whatever past relationship he has had with the Aga Khan, receiving a free vacation from an organization that actively lobbies the federal government is inappropriate,” said Calkins in his statement.
“How the Prime Minister got to the island, travelling by private helicopter, is a clear violation of the (Conflict of Interest) Act and the Prime Minister should be held accountable for his flagrant disregard for the law.”
The Prime Minister’s office was not available for comment on the issue, however, Trudeau stated publicly last week that the issue is something he welcomes talking to the Commissioner about and that he doesn’t believe there will be any problems found in the end.