Ebene News – CA – Ontario Finance Minister returns to Canada after backlash over St Vacances de Barts

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips says he arranges to return to Canada “immediately” after being criticized for taking a “personal trip” despite calls to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic

Phillips’ comments came just over an hour after Premier Doug Ford said he was “extremely disappointed with Minister Phillips and his decision to travel overseas”

“I have 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 continued.

Ford has said, like everyone else, that officials must follow health advice in an attempt to curb the rise in COVID-19 cases

In a statement released earlier Tuesday following a media investigation, Phillips noted that he and his wife left on December 13 on a “previously planned personal trip out of the country”

“If I had known of the possible December 26 province-wide shutdown, we would have canceled the trip,” the statement read

On December 21, Ford announced that a four-week lockdown would sweep the province from Boxing Day

Phillips did not initially indicate where he had been or when he planned to return, but noted that he was able to continue his work as Finance Minister and Ajax MP from a distance

However, after Ford’s comments on Tuesday night, Phillips released an updated statement saying he is “making arrangements to return to Ontario”

“I deeply regret having traveled during the holidays It was a mistake and I apologize”, he said

“I went on a personally paid trip to St Barts on December 13 after the end of the legislative session”

Phillips has said he will begin a 14-day quarantine upon his return from the Caribbean island

Global News asked the Prime Minister’s Office when Ford learned of Phillips’ trip – which began over two weeks ago

“The prime minister was unaware of the minister’s trip, neither he nor his office approved it,” a spokesperson said in a statement

Read more:
Ontario Reports One-Day Record 2,553 New Coronavirus Cases Tuesday, 1939 Monday

Global News also learned that Phillips took another trip in August, which required him to self-quarantine for 14 days

Federal travel restrictions require anyone traveling to Canada to self-quarantine for two weeks once in the country

While technically not breaking any restrictions, government officials have pleaded with Ontarians to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus

At a press conference on November 25, Ford urged Ontarians to stay in their homes for the holidays

On Christmas Eve, Phillips tweeted about many people making sacrifices over the holiday season, especially frontline workers who may be grappling with the effects of 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

It’s #ChristmasEve To my constituents of #Ajax & to the people of Ontario, all the best during this special time of year Even though COVID-19 is changing the way we celebrate, we should be thinking about this that makes Christmas so special to us – including the & family the act of giving #Merry Christmas! imageTwittercom / AX7hKWA88n

Several photos of Phillips on the move in Durham Region were posted on social media after December 13

Phillips’ office clarified that all photos released after December 13 were taken away before he left for his trip

I had the pleasure of joining my fellow &, some of Durham’s mental health leaders to announce over $ 1 6 million in funds to support the expansion of & Addictions mental health services in #Durham This funding will also support the addition of 5 new housing units with support services imageTwittercom / ETmGdYQ276

Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Barbara Yaffe made no comment when asked directly about the finance minister’s trip, but stressed that she would prefer people not to ‘take vacations’ for now unless travel is essential

She also stressed the importance of the 14-day quarantine on arrival in Canada, given the new highly contagious strain of COVID-19 in circulation

She said three people had been confirmed to have the new variant in Ontario and were each isolating themselves

This is not the first time an Ontario politician has broken with the provincial message on COVID-19 At the end of October, Niagara West MP Sam Oosterhoff was forced to s ‘apologize after taking a photo with around 40 people unmasked at a family event

Ford also admitted welcoming his daughters to his home on Mother’s Day this year as the province urged people not to meet loved ones

NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh referred to the two incidents in a statement on Tuesday, urging Ford not to give Phillips a ‘pass’ for leaving the country

“Doug Ford let Sam Oosterhoff fend for himself when he had a big family party Ford let himself go to reunite as a family when he told us we couldn’t These guys just think the rules do not apply to them, “Singh said

Ontario reported 1,939 new coronavirus cases on Monday and a one-day record of 2,553 new cases on Tuesday Provincial total now stands at 175,908

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St Barts, Chrissy Teigen

Ebene News – CA – Ontario Finance Minister returns to Canada after backlash over St Vacances de Barts

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/7545744/ontario-finance-minister-rod-phillips-country-personal-trip/