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While claims that Trudeau is the first prime minister 'in history' to breach ethics laws is a bit rich, the party has had a long list of ethics complaints over a very short period
OTTAWA, Ont. - — Justin Trudeau made history in December 2017 when he became the first sitting prime minister to break federal ethics laws , after it was determined that he wrongly accepted an all-expenses paid trip to the Aga Khan ’s private island a year earlier for a family vacation.
On Wednesday, Trudeau further deepened that achievement, after the ethics commissioner found the prime minister had again violated conflict of interest laws — this time for attempts made by his office to sway the attorney general toward intervening in the prosecution of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin .
His title of being the first-ever leader to breach these laws is somewhat thin: Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act only came into effect in 2006, and so has only applied to two prime ministers.
But even so, critics say the latest ruling highlights what they categorize as a deep-lying instinct by the Liberal government to cozy up to wealthy supporters while publicly voicing their deep affection for the modest middle class.
Here, Postmedia provides a not-at-all comprehensive list of the Trudeau government’s run-ins with the ethics commissioner since taking power in 2015.
Philpott Report (December 2016)
The finding: Cleared former health minister Jane Philpott of any wrongdoing in her use of a luxury car service. The investigation was commissioned after it was reported that the Health ministry had spent $1,700 on a single day to chauffeur the minister around Toronto and Hamilton using a limousine company owned by a Liberal donor and volunteer. Mary Dawson found that Philpott never used a “stretch” limo but did use the services of Executive Limousine & Livery Service Inc.
Trudeau Report I (December 2017)
The finding: Ruled that Trudeau breached federal ethics rules when he and his family took a Christmas vacation in 2016 on the Aga Khan’s private Bahamian island. The all-expenses paid trip, which included a ride in the billionaire’s private helicopter, could “reasonably be seen to have been given to influence” the prime minister, according the commissioner’s report.
Morneau Report (June 2018)
The finding: Cleared Finance Minister Bill Morneau of breaking conflict of interest laws for endorsing Bill C-27, which amended rules to private pensions, among other things. The report was launched after it was found that Morneau formerly and indirectly held shares in Morneau Shepell, for which the finance minister had earlier served as executive chairman. The firm oversees billions in private pensions and is the “largest regulator-appointed pension administrator in Canada,” according to its website.
LeBlanc Report (September 2018)
The finding: Found that former fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc broke conflict of interest rules in awarding a lucrative Arctic surf clam licence to a company linked to his wife’s cousin. The commissioner wrote that LeBlanc was aware of the “extensive involvement” of Gilles Thériault in the local fishing industry, and that he stood to gain from a contract awarded to the Five Nations Clam Company.
Trudeau Report II (August 2019)
The finding: Determined that Trudeau had broken conflict of interest rules when he and several high-level officials in the Prime Minister’s Office put sustained pressure on the former attorney general in a bid to secure a deferred prosecution for SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based engineering giant. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion wrote that there was “no doubt” that Trudeau’s efforts to sway former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould “furthered SNC-Lavalin’s interests” and was therefore “contrary to the constitutional principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019
- Who is Mario Dion, the ethics watchdog who found Trudeau broke conflict-of-interest rules in SNC-Lavalin affair?
- UPDATED: Justin Trudeau 'takes responsibility for mistakes' after violating conflict of interest law in SNC-Lavalin affair
- Six things we learned about the SNC-Lavalin affair from the ethics report