The interim ethics commissioner told the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to Jamaica didn't break the rules because the stay was a gift from a longtime family friend.Interim Ethics Commissioner Konrad Von Finckenstein told the committee that Trudeau's office consulted with his office prior to leaving for Jamaica. He said his office researched the prime minister's relationship with businessman Peter Green and concluded that he is a friend of Trudeau who has no relations with the Canadian government."What we have here is clearly a generous gift but it is between people who are friends and I don't see why, just because they are well off, they can't exchange gifts," Von Finckenstein said.Von Finckenstein said Trudeau hosted Green at the prime minister's official residence at Harrington Lake. Conservative MP Michael Barrett pointed out this residence is paid for by taxpayers.The ethics committee voted unanimously for a motion from NDP MP Matthew Green that two parliamentary committees would consider changing the rules to prohibit MPs from accepting sponsored travel. Green proposed MPs would be allowed two international trips per year, paid for out of their MP office budgets.In 2022, MPs accepted $422,015 worth of sponsored travel abroad. MPs can fund up to two trips each year to Washington DC or New York City out of their office budgets, while other travel funded by Parliament has to be within Canada.In a press release prior to the hearings, Democracy Watch called on MPs to ask pointed questions of the ethics commissioner himself and voice opposition to any potential re-appointment of von Finckenstein to the post.“Given Mr. von Finckenstein has one of the worst enforcement records of any ethics commissioner across Canada in the past 20 years after being in the job only five months, appointing him to another six-month term or even worse a seven-year term as ethics commissioner would dangerously undermine federal political ethics standards and allow Cabinet ministers, Cabinet staff, top government officials and MPs to make many more unethical decisions and be let off every time,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.“Canadians can only hope that opposition parties do the right thing and stop Prime Minister Trudeau from once again, as he did in 2017, appointing his own ethics lapdog after handpicking him through a secret, partisan, Cabinet-controlled process.”Democracy Watch said it wanted the following questions answered:1. Why has he and Prime Minister Trudeau not disclosed the communications from the PMO/PCO concerning the Trudeau family’s Jamaica trip? Section 43 of the Conflict of Interest Act applies to the situation and only requires that the Commissioner’s advice be kept confidential. The Commissioner is allowed to disclose the information the office holder submitted. And there is no provision in any federal law that allows the PM to keep that information secret;2. How was he appointed and will he disclose the secret communications he had with the Trudeau Cabinet/PMO/PCO during that process (given the Trudeau Cabinet is hiding communication records that show how they chose him)?3. What has the Cabinet communicated to him, if anything, about being reappointed for another six-month term after his current term ends on February 29? Will he disclose all those communications?4. What has the Cabinet communicated to him, if anything, about the appointment process for the Ethics Commissioner to be appointed to a seven-year term (given the deadline to apply was May 23, 2023)? Will he disclose all those communications?5. And what is his response to Democracy Watch’s analysis that concludes, after being on the job only a few months, von Finckenstein already has one of the worst government ethics enforcement records it has seen from commissioners across Canada in the past 20 years, given he has buried at least eight ethics complaints and gutted 3 key ethics rules?