Two Canadian politicians are facing backlash for ignoring their government’s own health advice by vacationing outside Canada, despite limits on non-essential travel in their home provinces amid the pandemic.
Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips said Dec. 29 he will return home after being criticized for going on vacation to a Caribbean island of St. Barts in mid-December, while Ontarians had to follow public health orders to stay home and limit their travel for only essential purposes.
Phillips said he is now making arrangements to return to Ontario and would begin the 14-day quarantine when he arrives.
“While the government demands sacrifice from everyday Ontarians, Rod Phillips chose to ignore public health advice, jet off to St. Barts, and create an elaborate cover-up on social media,” Horwath said.
What Horwath referred to are Phillips’ Christmas Eve tweets from his account that made it seem like he’s in Canada while he’s actually having his holiday in the Caribbean.
“Because of his lack of judgment and lack of honesty, Doug Ford must kick Rod Phillips out of cabinet,” Horwath added.
Phillips is not the only politician not following the public health guidelines that the provincial and federal governments require Canadians to observe.
Quebec Liberal member Pierre Arcand is also being asked to return home amid mounting criticism over his decision to vacation in the Caribbean.
A spokesperson for Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade confirmed on Dec. 30 that she has asked Arcand to return home from Barbados as soon as possible.
Arcand, a former interim leader of the party, issued a statement on Dec. 29 saying he regretted his decision to take the trip with his wife and promised to respect the 14-day isolation period required by the federal government for travellers who return from abroad.
Both the federal and provincial governments have warned against non-essential holiday travel, and the Quebec government has asked Ottawa to increase surveillance of returning travellers amid soaring COVID-19 numbers.
Anglade told radio station 98,5 FM this morning that she had known Arcand planned to leave and said she had tried to discourage him from doing so.
She said she should have prohibited members of her party from leaving the country.
Hajdu said she took off her mask only to eat or drink.