Court orders lobbying czar to take new look at Aga Khan’s vacation gift to PM


OTTAWA — The Federal Court has ordered the lobbying commissioner to take another look at whether the Aga Khan broke the rules by giving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a vacation in the Bahamas.

In September 2017, then-commissioner Karen Shepherd said there was no basis to a complaint that the Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist, had violated the code for lobbyists by allowing Trudeau and his family to stay on his private island in the Caribbean.

She found no evidence the Aga Khan was paid for his work as a director of a foundation registered to lobby the federal government, and therefore concluded the code did not apply to his interactions with Trudeau.

Ottawa-based group Democracy Watch challenged the ruling in Federal Court.

In its newly released decision, the court calls Shepherd’s ruling unreasonable because it was a narrow, technical, and targeted analysis that lacked transparency.

The court directed Nancy Belanger, who has since become lobbying commissioner, to re-examine the matter.

The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Aga Khan on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The Federal Court has ordered the lobbying commissioner to take another look at whether the Aga Khan broke the rules by giving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a vacation in the Bahamas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick