Canadian Taxpayers Reimburse Billionaire Aga Khan For Trudeau’s Vacation

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Khangate continues to haunt Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

His Christmas family vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island cost Canadian taxpayers $127,000 — and billionaire Khan picked up at least $1,604 of that money.

The House of Commons just tabled documents associated with the trip, dubbed Khangate by some media. Traveling with Trudeau’s family were one Liberal Member of Parliament (MP), Liberal Party of Canada president Anna Gainey and Tom Pitfield, the Trudeau associate who just won a huge communications contract with the Liberals to manage the party’s database.

The trip expended money for a government staffer, listed as a “technician,” who was included in the prime minister’s party. The staffer claimed 12 “per diems” for meals during the stay on the Khan’s privately-owned Bell Island. But the money was actually paid directly to the Khan because government rules stipulated that the staffer couldn’t claim meals that were provided.

“The $1,604 is the total amount paid to the owner of Bell Island for the technician’s 12 day stay ($100 US x 12 days),” wrote Privy Council spokesman Raymond Rivet.

Former treasury board president and Conservative MP Tony Clement said Tuesday this latest information only contributes to the ethical questions that surround Trudeau’s vacation — that is already under investigation by the Parliamentary ethics commissioner.

“To have the costs paid directly to the owner of the island, the Aga Khan, is highly unusual,” he told reporters. “In fact, I’ve never heard of a case of that happening before.”

It also raises the questions about why a government staffer is accepting meals and accommodation from a man who heads a foundation that receives grants from the Canadian government.

The Aga Khan may have received other money from the trip.

The RCMP isn’t saying how it managed to spend $53,253 on “travel, accommodation and per diems” and another $18,735 on overtime, suggesting that it would compromise the prime minister’s security to extrapolate.

Trudeau did not use a government plane or commercial aircraft to reach Bell Island. He was flown by the Khan’s private helicopter, apparently a direct contravention of government rules that is still under investigation by Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson following a complaint filed by Conservative MP and leadership candidate Andrew Scheer.

Trudeau continues to defend the trip, saying the Khan is long-time family friend. That friend is the chief executive officer of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada that has received $300 million in government grants for its international projects and continues to lobby the several government departments, including the Prime Minister’s Office.

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