In Canada, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford yesterday announced the resignation of his finance minister.
Former Finance Minister Rod Phillips had taken an unauthorised personal vacation in the Caribbean despite his province – the second largest in the country – being in lockdown.
Mr. Phillips called his decision to travel a “dumb mistake” – a sentiment supported by Premier Ford who said the provincial government “takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard”.
As the Canadian province with the highest population, Ontario has long promoted only essential journeys be made as it tries to combat a devastating level of COVID prevalence in an area larger than France and Spain combined.
Yesterday Ontario reported a new record-high number of 3,328 virus infections and 56 deaths, adding to almost 600,000 cases nationwide so far and over 15,600 deaths.
The province went into lockdown on Boxing Day.
It is understood Mr. Phillips vacation had been a fortnight in St Barts, a tropical destination known for its white sandy beaches.
Speaking after he returned to Canada, Mr. Phillips said “(O)bviously, I made a significant error in judgment, and I will be accountable for that,” adding “I do not make any excuses for the fact that I travelled when we shouldn’t have travelled.”
Provincial opposition leader Andrea Horwath of the New Democratic Party was quick to shine a spotlight on the case claiming she had sought Mr. Phillip’s removal from his post saying “It’s not believable that a senior member of cabinet didn’t tell the premier’s office he was leaving the country for weeks during the height of a global emergency. If he didn’t, that in itself would be enough reason to demote him.”