Canada’s Politicians Keep Getting Caught Travelling Abroad During The Pandemic

Officials from multiple provinces have been caught!
Canada’s Politicians Keep Getting Busted For Travelling Abroad During The Pandemic
Senior Editor

Despite repeated warnings from public health officials, Canada’s politicians keep getting caught when travelling abroad or vacationing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, representatives from Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been busted for travelling internationally, some for non-essential reasons.

This comes as top Canadian officials, including Justin Trudeau and Dr. Tam, continue to urge people to stay at home wherever possible.

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What are the rules?

Since March last year, the government has urged Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel.

Travel advisories continue to be issued, warning that taking a trip abroad right now could result in “severely disrupted travel plans.”

Travellers could even end up stuck outside of Canada.

While federal officials continue to ask people to avoid discretionary trips outside of the country, there is no outright ban in place.

That said, the government has warned that they’re prepared to crack down on anybody who flouts Canada’s current quarantine rules.

Who has been caught out?

In Ontario, Finance Minister Rod Phillips came under fire for taking a vacation in the Caribbean island of St. Barts in December. 

He was criticized as his office continued to share tweets and Instagram posts during his trip so that it appeared he was still at home.

In Manitoba, NDP MP Niki Ashton revealed in a tweet that she had travelled to Greece to visit an unwell family member, against the government’s international travel advisory.

Quebec Liberal politician Pierre Arcand was in trouble after being spotted in Barbados amid the pandemic. Quebec’s Liberal leader claims she tried to talk them out of the trip, according to CTV News.

Another Quebec Member of the National Assembly of Quebec (MNA), Youri Chassin, was caught taking a non-essential visit to Peru.

Saskatchewan politician Joe Hargrave ignored public health advice in December by taking a trip to California to finalize a property sale.

In Alberta, multiple government officials were found to have travelled abroad, including Pat Rehn who travelled to Mexico and Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard who went on holiday in Hawaii.

Two education ministry press secretaries were also caught vacationing in Hawaii.

Jason Kenney’s own chief of staff, James Huckabay, also travelled to the U.K. and through the United States over the festive period.

Did they get into trouble?

After being found out, Rod Phillips was told to return to Ontario immediately by Doug Ford.

In a statement, the province’s premier said he was "extremely disappointed" in the Finance Minister. 

Shortly after, Phillips submitted his resignation, which Ford accepted. His replacement has already been announced.

When it comes to Niki Ashton, the NDP issued a statement confirming that she’ll be removed from any shadow cabinet critic roles in the future.

On the other hand, Jason Kenney has decided not to discipline the members of his government who decided to travel, according to CTV News.

Instead, the Alberta premier issued a directive that ordered staff not to travel abroad right now.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.