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Appeal court nixes fresh lobby probe of Aga Khan in Trudeau vacation case

Last Updated Apr 2, 2020 at 3:06 pm EDT

OTTAWA — An appeal court says there’s no need for 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 a newly released ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal says that’s because the commissioner’s original decision not to investigate a complaint about the matter is not subject to judicial review.

In September 2017, then-commissioner Karen Shepherd said there was no basis to a complaint that the Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist and religious leader, 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.

The group Democracy Watch successfully challenged the ruling in Federal Court.

In a decision last year, the court called Shepherd’s ruling unreasonable and directed Nancy Belanger, who had since become lobbying commissioner, to re-examine the matter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.

The Canadian Press