OTTAWA — The Prime Minister’s Office would not say Friday whether Justin Trudeau recused himself from a cabinet decision awarding a multimillion-dollar contract to a charity with close ties to his family — a question that is now at the heart of an investigation by Canada’s ethics watchdog.
Mario Dion, the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, confirmed Friday he has accepted a complaint by Tory MP Michael Barrett and will look into concerns alleging Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act when the government awarded WE Charity a sole-sourced contract that did not follow the normal contracting process.
The announcement came hours after Trudeau and the WE Charity announced they were ending their partnership.
BREAKING: Ethics Commissioner launches investigation into Justin Trudeau's involvement in awarding $900M contract to charity with close ties to his family and the Liberal Party. #cdnpolipic.twitter.com/E6IMWNm36n— Michael Barrett (@MikeBarrettON) July 3, 2020
Trudeau’s director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, declined to tell HuffPost Canada Friday whether the prime minister had recused himself from the decision and discussion at cabinet surrounding a $912-million program placing post-secondary students and recent graduates with paid volunteer opportunities.
“I’ll let you know if we can be more specific in our answers,” Ahmad said.
“We will of course collaborate with the commissioner and answer any question he may have,” he later offered. “[I] just can’t add anything further right now.”
If Trudeau did not recuse himself from the discussion surrounding the WE Charity contract, Duff Conacher, the co-founder of Democracy Watch, believes the prime minister is in breach of the law.
The act states that public office holders are in a conflict of interest when they exercise their official duties in a way that provides an opportunity to further their private interests or those of their relatives or friends.
Watch: Trudeau had...