Ebene News – CA – Finance Minister Rod Phillips says he ‘deeply regrets’ holiday trip to St Barts after Premier Doug Ford blows him up and orders his immediate return

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only Order
presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution
to colleagues, clients or clients, or inquire about
permissions / licenses, please visit: wwwTorontoStarReprintscom

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he “deeply regrets” taking a personal trip to the Caribbean island of St Barts while on vacation, despite government and public health guidelines to stay home

His statement came on Tuesday evening, shortly after Prime Minister Doug Ford condemned Phillips’ trip and ordered him to return “immediately” to Canada

The Prime Minister’s director of media relations, Ivana Yelich, also left Ontario during the holidays. She returned to her home province of Saskatchewan due to “family circumstances,” Yelich told The Star on Tuesday evening, although she declined to comment further

Yelich’s whereabouts were first made public in a now deleted post from his Twitter account, which was geolocated to his location in Saskatoon, SK

Ajax MPP Phillips and his wife left Canada on December 13 – shortly after the legislature closed – despite guidelines issued in November to urge Ontarians to stay home for the holiday season

“It was a mistake,” Phillips said, adding that he was making arrangements to return home and start a 14-day quarantine

“I let the minister know that his decision to travel is totally unacceptable and that it will no longer be tolerated – by him or by a member of our cabinet and caucus,” Ford said in a statement Tuesday evening

Ford’s statement also said he was “extremely disappointed” with Phillips’ decision to travel internationally at a time when Ontarians had to make sacrifices and follow public health protocols. p>

“The prime minister was not aware of the minister’s trip, neither he nor his office approved it,” Yelich said in an email “The Prime Minister learned of the trip after the minister was already out of the country”

In a statement released earlier Tuesday, Phillips described his trips as “a previously planned personal trip” and said he continued to “work daily,” including “dozens” of calls and meetings in constituencies and cabinet

“If I had known of the eventual closure of the province on December 26, we would have canceled the trip,” Phillips said

With COVID-19 cases reaching crisis levels, Premier Ford urged Ontarians in November to limit contact outside their homes during the holidays

“We must bend the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus,” he said on November 25

Durham Region, where the constituency of Phillips is located, entered the “control” phase of Ontario’s multi-level lockdown system in late November Public health guidelines for this phase indicate that travel outside the home “should only be for essential reasons”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” who made sacrifices during the pandemic

“As we all make sacrifices for this #Christmas, remember some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner with Zoom,” the tweet read

During a provincial COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Associate Chief Medical Officer Barbara Yaffe said she “would rather people not take vacations at this time unless it is a essential reason to travel”

Several photos of Phillips during public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken ahead of his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad, his spokesperson said Hogeveen said Phillips will comply with two-week self-isolation guidelines upon his return

Stricter lockdowns went into effect on Boxing Day across the province, including shutting down non-essential businesses and banning indoor gatherings In a statement Tuesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it “continues to advise against non-essential travel” and noting that failure to adhere to self-quarantine precautions may result in “severe penalties”

“COVID-19 continues to put pressure on healthcare workers across the country We all need to avoid non-essential travel and meet mandatory quarantine requirements on return – they protect you, your loved ones and your loved ones. communities, ”Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement

“Everyday people were separated from their aging parents during the holidays They missed the birthdays and diplomas of people who are precious to them, and they were separated from their nieces, nephews and grandchildren while ‘they were growing and hitting new milestones over the past year “

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca accused Phillips of “flying away” after Ontarians were ordered to stay at home

“If Doug Ford and his team can’t lead by example, how do they expect Ontario families to meet their public health guidelines?” he asked

“I refuse to believe that Doug Ford did not know about the travels of his finance minister. Minister Phillips’ hypocrisy must have consequences, but the blame lies with Doug Ford”

Ford’s office did not respond to Star’s request for comment In June, its Minister of Health Christine Elliott came under scrutiny after being pictured in an LCBO while waiting the result of a COVID-19 test In October, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff posted a controversial photo to social media of a large gathering of maskless family members at a local restaurant

Last week Independent MP Randy Hillier – kicked out of Ford’s Progressive Conservative caucus last year – posted a photo on Twitter of an indoor Christmas celebrated with 14 other people In a tweeted statement, he called the COVID-19 threat “overblown” and said the lockdowns were doing “far greater damage” than the virus

Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited All
rights reserved The republication or distribution of this content is
expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto
Star Newspapers Limited and / or its licensors To order copies of
Toronto Star articles, please see: wwwTorontoStarReprintscom

Rod Phillips, Saint Barts, Ontario Minister of Finance

Ebene News – CA – Finance Minister Rod Phillips says he “deeply regrets” a trip holiday in St Barts after Prime Minister Doug Ford blows him up and orders his immediate return

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/12/29/ontarios-finance-minister-rod-phillips-abroad-on-personal-trip-despite-covid-19-guidance.html