The RCMP considered charging Justin Trudeau with fraud over a family vacation at the Aga Khan’s island in the Bahamas, but ultimately did not.
RCMP documents from 2019, recently released in response to an access-to-information request, reveal the Mounties looked at whether they could charge Mr. Trudeau with breach of trust or fraud based on the findings in a report from the federal Ethics Commissioner.
Issued by former ethics commissioner Mary Dawson, it concluded that Mr. Trudeau had violated four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act by accepting the vacation. Ms. Dawson said the vacation, which included the use of the Aga Khan’s private helicopters and planes, might reasonably be seen to have been given to the Prime Minister in order to influence him.
According to the RCMP documents, the Mounties concluded there was insufficient evidence that Mr. Trudeau committed breach of trust.
“It is unclear whether Mr. Trudeau can be prosecuted under section 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code, since the section has a provision which allows officials to accept benefits from individuals with government dealings, provided the official has the written consent of the head of their branch of government,” RCMP Corporal Michael Kiperchuk said in a briefing note to his superiors.
Section 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code says government officials must have “the consent in writing of the head of the branch of government that employs them or of which they are an official” in order to receive any gift from anyone who has specific dealings with the government.
Conservative MP James Bezan, who is his party’s ethics critic, said he believes criminal charges should have been pursued against Mr. Trudeau.
“I would say that, again, this proves that there’s one set of rules for Justin Trudeau and all the rest of us have to live under the other rules, which includes the Criminal Code,” Mr. Bezan said in an interview.
“Nobody should be above the law, and it’s up to the RCMP to ensure that nobody’s above the law, yet they made the determination not to pursue a criminal charge.”