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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media at the end of a two-day cabinet retreat in Calgary, Alberta, Canada January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Bolin(reuters_tickers)
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will end cash-for-access fundraisers, a government source said on Friday, bowing to pressure about the political events that allowed wealthy donors to meet with top officials away from prying eyes.
The move comes after months of opposition and media scrutiny over the meetings between Liberal government leaders and donors, often at elite social events, that had tarnished Trudeau's image as a youthful reformer.
The government will pass legislation that requires future fundraisers for cabinet members, party leaders and leadership candidates to be held in publicly available spaces rather than private homes and clubs. They must be advertised in advance and reported on after the fact, according to a government source who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The move will affect not only Trudeau and his cabinet but also the leadership candidates of both opposition parties. The Conservatives and the New Democrats are embroiled in separate battles to replace their leaders in 2017.
Trudeau, who took power in November 2015 after promising to run an open and ethical government, has been dogged by a string of controversies involving money and access, including his holiday vacation at the private Caribbean island owned by the Aga Khan.
The son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, he said this week he has been vacationing with the Aga Khan, a family friend, since he was a child.
While the exclusive vacation and elite fundraisers rarely came up during Trudeau's recent cross-country tour to meet ordinary Canadians, they clashed with his government's oft-repeated focus on the concerns of middle class families.
(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)