It seems like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks it’s possible to grow the economy from the Bahamas outwards.
On Wednesday morning, Postmedia’s David Akin revealed the plot had thickened in the story of Trudeau’s excellent Nassau adventure. (Excellent for him, that is. Not for us.)
First, his office wouldn’t tell us where he was over New Year’s. Then we learned that while he was posting January 1st greetings about how important it was to celebrate the occasion “together,” he was in fact soaking up the sun down south in Nassau, Bahamas.
We don’t begrudge a busy PM taking off a slow news week to get some relaxing family time in. But the secrecy part didn’t work for us.
Later, we learned that he was in fact hanging out at the private compound of the billionaire Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims.
Right away that raises questions. The Liberals recently announced a $55 million contribution to the Aga Khan Development Foundation for its foreign aid work abroad.
Trudeau and the Aga Khan, as his office reminded us, are long-time pals. But so what? There’s clearly a perceived conflict of interest here.
It gets worse though. What we learned Wednesday was that Trudeau and family weren’t the only ones there.
Liberal party president Anna Gainey and Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan both came along for the ride… although thankfully not on the government’s plane. They both brought their husbands. Gainey’s husband is Tom Pitfield, a long time close bud of the PM’s and the head of Canada 2020. The not-for-profit group is, we’re repeatedly told, not connected to the Liberals at all in any officially capacity. But they certainly enjoy close ties.
Trudeau should have known all along that this looks bad. We’d like to suggest he put some accountability measures in place to clear the air and see this doesn’t happen again. But he already has! Even before cash-for-access cropped up, Trudeau said he’d avoid anything with even the perception of conflict of interest. Huh?
The best part? O’Regan told Akin that zero government business was discussed on the trip. If you say so…
by Sean Kilpatrick
Jan 11th 2017