The controversy centers on a Christmas jaunt to a private island.
The federal ethics commission of Canada is reviewing the behavior of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to see whether a recent Bahamian vacation requires a full ethics investigation.
While sun and sea might seem harmless, Trudeau was staying on the private island of the Aga Khan, a billionaire as well as the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims. The ethics committee is investigating whether this incident violated Canada’s conflict of interest laws.
Khan is a close family friend of the Trudeaus, and he was a pallbearer at the funeral for Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Khan’s private helicopter is the only way to access the island, and the current prime minister and his family used it to join him for vacation shortly following Christmas in 2016. Public servants are not supposed to accept chartered private aircraft and must reimburse the equivalent cost.
Trudeau reimbursed the government $4,895.94 for personal use of the Challenger aircraft to Nassau, though this does not include the private helicopter ride to Aga Khan’s island, CBC news reported.
Trudeau insisted that he did nothing wrong, while addressing reporters during a recent press conference.
“It's something that certainly we look forward to discussing with...the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. But we don't see an issue on that,” he told journalists.
The commissioner will also examine whether the vacation itself may have been a breach of protocol, as the Aga Khan has charitable dealings with the Canadian government, the New York Times reported. If Trudeau is found guilty of misdoing, there is no penalty for his behavior, and the only thing at stake is his reputation.