Under the Act, disclosure is mandatory for “a person who is cohabitating with a public office holder in a conjugal relationship.” However, no disclosure is required for “a person from whom a public office holder is separated if all support obligations and family property have been dealt with” by a divorce decree or separation agreement.
“A separation agreement or a court order is required,” said Melanie Rushworth, spokesperson for the Office of the Ethics Commissioner.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirmed Mrs. Trudeau and the prime minister signed a legal separation agreement. “They have worked to ensure all legal and ethical steps with regards to their decision to separate have been taken.”
However, the PMO declined to comment on when the couple had signed the agreement.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Mrs. Trudeau registered a new federal corporation on April 6, 2022, to sell “communications services.” She is the sole director of Under Your Light Communications Incorporated.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, she previously worked as a paid speaker with the Trudeau family’s talent agent, Speakers’ Spotlight of Toronto. The company in 2020 told the Commons ethics committee it had destroyed accounts detailing talent fees paid to Mrs. Trudeau before 2013. The couple married in 2005.
Other records confirmed We Charity gave Mrs. Trudeau $25,681 worth of talent fees, gifts and expense-paid trips in London and New York before receiving a $43.5 million federal grant in 2020.
The federal government ultimately withdrew the grant on disclosures. They awarded the Trudeau family $471,751 in fees and gifts, including the Prime Minister’s mother and brother.
In a July 30, 2020 testimony at the Commons finance committee, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he “knew that my brother and mother had worked with We Charity” but was unaware of the details.
“I did not know how much work either of them had done with We Charity or how much they had been paid,” testified Trudeau.
We Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger in earlier testimony at the finance committee, denied the group sought favour by hosting the prime minister’s wife.
“Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is more than someone’s wife,” said Kielburger. “We live, and we engage with individuals on the merit that they bring themselves as individuals.”
Under usual circumstances, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner requires that MPs disclose spousal investments and income sources.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the spouse to then-Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino held shares in a Ukraine war defence contractor amid his pledge to be “out front in helping Ukraine with military aid.”
Diana Iannetta held several shares of undisclosed value in Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leading arms supplier to Ukraine. They reportedly represent an ‘extensive stock portfolio’ for the Mendicino family.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stock in the company jumped 39% last year.
In 2021, then-Natural Resource Minister Johnathan Wilkinson disclosed his wife held an undisclosed number of shares in Enbridge, despite his warning of the perils of burning fossil fuels.
In a July 10 Note, then-Attorney General David Lametti failed to ascertain information on his spouse’s “private interests.” Lametti, in 2021, removed his wife, Geneviève Saumier, from a Public Registry Of Designated Travelers for MPs’ spouses.