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Trudeau says cannabis will become legal 'next summer,' not July 1

21 December 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under investigation for a vacation he took at the Aga Khan's island past year, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson said in a news release on Wednesday.

Dawson said Aga Khan developed a friendship with Trudeau's father in the late 1960s but is not a friend of the current president.

He added that he and his family would be spending Christmas this year at the prime minister's official retreat at Harrington Lake in Gatineau Park before taking a trip to the Canadian Rockies. Trudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, also vacationed on the island with her children and a friend in March 2016.

Commissioner Mary Dawson said Wednesday that Trudeau put himself "in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan", who is described by Forbes as "one of the world's richest royals" and is a revered religious figure of almost 15 million Ismaili Muslims around the world. "Mary Dawson said in a report Wednesday that Trudeau's vacation broke conflict of interest laws that prohibits a minister from accepting gifts or 'advantages" that could reasonably be seen as influencing government decisions.

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In response to the question Trudeau said, "The date will not be July 1, I can assure you of that", Trudeau said.

"It's really important to ensure the integrity of the office, including interactions with the Aga Khan on a professional, ceremonial level", he said. "The Aga Khan wrote that he told Mr. Trudeau that because Mr. Trudeau's public life as an elected official affords little private family vacation time, he and his family should feel free to vacation at Bells Cay", the report said.

"What we've learned today is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken the law, there is no other way to put it but that he has broken the law with respect to ethics".

Going forward, Trudeau vowed to clear all family vacations with the ethics watchdog in advance in order to avoid conflicts.

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She rejected Mr. Trudeau's assertion that the Aga Khan was a long-time family friend, despite the fact they have known each other for decades.

He said he still consider the Aga Khan a "close family friend" but will abide by the Commissioner's findings and adjust his dealings with him in the future.

Trudeau said their conversations focused on geopolitics, the Muslim world, Canadian leadership on the global stage and problems the Aga Khan was facing, but didn't involve any funding requests. Mr. Trudeau was well aware, given his previous stay on the island in 2014, that private transportation was needed to reach the Aga Khan's private island.

In his scrum with reporters Wednesday, Trudeau did not attempt to downplay Dawson's findings, noting that accountability is critical for ensuring Canadians' trust in democratic institutions.

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Trudeau says cannabis will become legal 'next summer,' not July 1