Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his dismay in politicians — including two members of the Liberal caucus — who travelled outside of the country during the holiday break amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Trudeau made it clear that “no one should be vacationing abroad right now.”
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“So many people gave up so much more than a vacation over the holidays. There’s a reason so many Canadians made those tough but responsible decisions. There’s a reason so many Canadians did their part.”
When asked about Canadian politicians who did leave the country and went against the federal government’s advice around travelling abroad, Trudeau said he was “disappointed” and understood “why all Canadians were so disappointed to see so many examples of folks who should have known better of doing things that put us all at risk.”
The list of Canadian politicians who travelled outside of Canada in the past few weeks has grown to include two Liberal Party caucus members, who said they left the country for family-related matters.
Kamal Khera, Member of Parliament for Brampton West and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, travelled to Seattle, Washington, on December 23.
She was in the United States for a private memorial for her uncle, she said. Khera announced on January 3 that she would step aside from her parliamentary role.
In Quebec, MP Sameer Zuberi tweeted on January 3 that he had travelled to Delaware at the end of December to visit his wife’s grandmother, whose health had deteriorated.
Zuberi, who represents the Pierrefonds—Dollard riding, called the trip an “error in judgement” and announced that he would be withdrawing from the duties on the parliamentary committees where he had sat.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Trudeau also announced that Canadians who are quarantining after returning from non-essential holidays abroad will not be eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).
“Let me also be very clear about the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. It is not intended for travellers who are quarantining when they return from holiday. This program was created to give people sick leave if they need it and otherwise wouldn’t have one from their employer,” he said.
“It’s not there to pay for someone’s post-vacation quarantine.”
With files from Zoe Demarco.