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Liberal Party of Canada. Entitled to their entitlements. Again…

We live in a new political age, but history does tend to repeat itself. After an interminably long honeymoon period, the bloom has come off the rose for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. As with Jean Chretien’s party, the problem deals with Liberal entitlements.

In this case, the story revolves around Justin’s family vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island over New Year’s Eve. The Trudeau family was ferried to this island from the Bahamas aboard the Aga Khan’s helicopter. The questions surrounding this story are myriad.

The PMO, after days of stonewalling, finally admitted that Justin Trudeau did indeed accept the questionable. Per s. 12 of the federal Conflict of Interest Act

“No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.”

That Trudeau and his family accepted travel on this private aircraft is undeniable. A New Year’s vacation on a beautiful island is not a requirement of the Prime Minister.  The Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, would neither confirm nor deny that the PMO sought permission for the flight before the vacation.

Even if Trudeau is not technically in breach of the law, in this case, the optics are far worse than any administrative penalty that could be levied against him. The Liberal Party of Canada’s Achilles’ heel has always been the sense of entitlement to enrich themselves at the expense of the public.

This sense of entitlement was perfectly encapsulated by the Chretien-era cabinet minister who was testifying before a parliamentary committee examining his resignation from the Royal Canadian Mint in 2005 when questions about his expense claims.

Dingwall’s testimony in this clip played a role in the end of the Liberal’s 13 years in power under Chretien and Martin. It appears that history is repeating itself as yet another example of Liberal entitlement is proving to be the first real scandal in the Justin Trudeau era.

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