Justin Trudeau is now the first prime minister under investigation by the federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
Trudeau admits illegal activities on his New Year’s holiday in the Bahamas but said he doesn’t see a problem with taking a private helicopter in this video:
From the National Post:
The commissioner, Mary Dawson, is considering two potential violations of the Conflict of Interest Act, according to a letter she sent to one of the two Conservative MPs who filed separate formal complaints, about Trudeau’s holiday at the Bahamas Island owned by the billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader the Aga Khan.
A copy of that letter was provided to the Post and in it, Dawson said she believes that, based on reports she has read in the National Post, there are grounds to investigate Trudeau for, first, a potential conflict of interest in receiving a free vacation from the Aga Khan, the founder and a director of an organization that is a federally registered lobbyist and, second, for potentially violating a section of the Act which prohibits all ministers from using private aircraft.
Dawson, in the letter to Conservative MP Blaine Calkins, writes that she is “of the view” that his request to open an investigation “satisfies the requirements” of that part of the Conflict of Interest Act which requires that the complainant “set out reasonable grounds for the belief that the contravention has occurred.”
The maximum sanction that Dawson may levy for a violation of the Act is $500 per violation — a relatively paltry sum for a prime minister who earns more than $350,000 a year and gets a free home.
But while Trudeau might easily pay any fine, the political penalty may be more expensive. The opposition is almost certain to have a field day if Trudeau becomes the first prime minister in Canada’s history to violate a federal statute — a statute on ethics and conflict of interest, no less — while in office.
Could this be the end for Trudeau? Will he be forced to step down?