Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has found there was no conflict of interest on the part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in making decisions with the WE Charity.
"Although the connection between Mr. Trudeau's relatives and WE created the appearance of a conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict is insuficient to cause a contravention to the Act's substantive rules. The duty to recuse is only required when the public office holder would be in a potential conflict of interest," a statement from the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner released Thursday said.
The report continues: "The decision taken in the Trudeau III Report considered an appearance of conflict versus a potential or real conflict of interest, as well as the requirement of public office holders to recuse themselves from certain decisions. The appearance of a conflict of interest does not constitute a contravention of the Act; the conflict must be real. Support for this conclusion is found in several sources in the report, including the Harper Government's position during the 2006 adoption of the Federal Accountability Act."
"During the examination, I determined there was no friendship between Mr. rudeau and the Kielburgers, nor was Mr. Trudeau involved in any discussion with them leading to the decision," Ethics Commissioner Dion wrote.
Trudeau thanked Dion for his report shortly after its publishing, saying "this is what I have been saying from the beginning. At the heart of this initiative was getting support for youth during this pandemic as fast as possible."
The report does say, however, that then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau "should have recused himself from discussion on these matters due to his friendship with Mr. Kielburger."
A separate report found that Morneau contravened subsection 6(1) section 7 and section 21 of the act.