Justin Trudeau criticised for vacation with Aga Khan

Canada’s prime minister is in hot water for taking a tropical vacation on the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas.
Justin Trudeau and his family were guests of the billionaire spiritual leader over New Year’s.

The federal ethics commissioner is reviewing Mr Trudeau’s trip to see if it warrants an official investigation.
Mr Trudeau said he is “more than happy” to answer any questions the commissioner has.

News of his winter getaway was first revealed by the National Post, after days of speculation over where the prime minister and his family were on holiday.

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan is a longtime family friend of the Trudeaus.

Mr Trudeau was also accompanied by Liberal MP Seamus O’Reagan and Liberal Party President Anna Gainey, and their respective partners.

The Prime Ministers Office (PMO) told the Toronto Star the information was kept secret to protect the families’ privacy.
Mr Trudeau has since gone on the record about the vacation, and admitted to also using the Aga Khan’s private helicopter.

“As was the case with previous Prime Ministers, when travelling for personal reasons, Mr. Trudeau, his family, and any guests travelling with him reimburse an equivalent economy airfare,” Trudeau spokesperson Cameron Ahmad told the BBC.
At a press conference on Friday morning, Mr Trudeau seemed visibly uncomfortable answering questions related to his trip.

“This was our personal family vacation and the questions you’re asking, I allow you to reflect on them,” he said.
On Monday, Conservative leadership candidate Andrew Scheer wrote a letter to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to ask that she look into whether Mr Trudeau’s visit violated conflict of interest rules regarding gifts.

The helicopter ride may also have broken rules introduced by Mr Trudeau’s own government that forbid ministers and parliamentary secretaries from accepting sponsored travel on private aircraft unless they get prior permission from the ethics commissioner first.

Commissioner Dawson has said she has begun a preliminary review of Mr Trudeau’s vacation to see if it warrants an investigation.

The Aga Khan Foundation is a registered lobbyist and has received hundreds of millions from the federal government over the past several decades, from both the Liberal and Conservative parties.

 In 2015, the government gave the foundation a five-year $55m (£34m, $42m US) grant to develop health services in Afghanistan
 In 2005, the government contributed $30m (£19m, $23m US) to help build the foundation’s headquarters in Ottawa.
 In 2009, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave his royal highness honorary citizenship

Who is the Aga Khan?

Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. They trace his lineage directly to the Prophet Muhammad.

He lives in France, has a British passport, graduated from Harvard University and is among the top 15 of the world’s wealthiest royals, according to Forbes magazine. The say he has an estimated wealth of $1bn (£640m) in 2008.
A close family friend of the Trudeaus, he was an honourary pallbearer at the funeral of Mr Trudeau’s father, Pierre.

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