The Ontario Treasury Secretary had to resign after vacationing in St. Barts and posting a fake Christmas Eve video to hide his real location.
Rod Phillips shared a video drinking eggnog in a sweater in front of a fireplace with a gingerbread house and small Christmas tree.
He thanked the Ontarians who stayed home and avoided unnecessary travel over the Christmas holidays because of the pandemic, telling them, "I want to thank each of you for what we are doing to protect our most vulnerable."
Except that Phillips was enjoying a Caribbean vacation at the time on the French island of St. Barts, a favorite spot for the rich and famous.
His Twitter account suggested he was in snowy Ontario for weeks, but the truth has since surfaced that he has been in sunny St. Barts since December 13th.
Phillips also shared other tweets indicating that he was in Ontario, including a December 17 tweet enjoying Canadian maple syrup and another on Christmas Eve visiting local businesses.
He had been instructed to return to Ontario, where Premier Doug Ford said he would have a "very tough talk" with Phillips on Thursday.
Ford said, "Today, after speaking with Rod Phillips, I accepted his resignation as Ontario Treasury Secretary." Opposition parties and health officials had called for Phillips to be released from the cabinet.
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Rod Phillips shared a video drinking eggnog in a sweater in front of a fireplace with a gingerbread house and small Christmas tree. He thanks the Ontarians who stay at home
Phillips also shared other tweets indicating that he was in Ontario, including a December 17 tweet enjoying Canadian maple syrup and another on Christmas Eve visiting local businesses
Phillips suggested that he had visited local stores while he was actually in St. Barts
Ford claimed Phillips "didn't tell anyone" he was leaving, but Ford said he knew Phillips was out of the country "shortly after he arrived".
"I should have said 'take your bum back to Ontario' and I didn't," said Ford.
Phillips said in a statement that he deeply regrets the travel and has canceled his vacation.
He said: & # 39; It was a mistake and I apologize. On December 13th after the end of the legislative period I went on a personally paid trip to St. Barts. & # 39;
He had tweeted: & # 39; It's #ChristmasEve. To my constituents in #Ajax & people across Ontario, all the best for this special time of year. Even if COVID-19 changes the way we celebrate, we should think about what makes Christmas special to us – including family and giving. # Merry Christmas! & # 39;
Ontario began a statewide lockdown on Dec. 26, and Ford accused travelers of bringing the new coronavirus to the province.
The Government of Canada and the Ontario government have repeatedly asked Canadians not to travel overseas during the pandemic.
Ontario Treasury Secretary Rod Phillips pictured. Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford said he had ordered Phillips to end a Caribbean vacation and was "extremely disappointed" that the official went overseas when the government asked people to avoid unnecessary travel because of the pandemic
Phillips was actually enjoying a Caribbean vacation at the time on the French island of St. Barts, a favorite spot for the rich and famous
& # 39; This is a devastating blow to the government and Ford personally because, as he has admitted, he knew Phillips was at St. Bart's and didn't reprimand and reprimand him immediately.
Ford didn't do so until news of Phillips' absence was released yesterday, "said Nelson Wiseman, professor of political science at the University of Toronto.
Wiseman said Phillips should resign. "That would be honorable, but honor is in short supply in the political world these days," he said.
The Ford government has already been criticized for stopping vaccinations over the holidays and postponing the nationwide lockdown until the day after Christmas.
Ontario set a new daily record on Wednesday with 2,923 cases, just over a third of which are in the country's largest city, Toronto.
Rod Phillips' Twitter account suggested he was in snowy Ontario for weeks, but the truth has since surfaced that he has been in sunny St. Barts since December 13th
"Ford is also suffering from the slow adoption of the vaccine, the slowest in Canada," Wiseman said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's national government announced on Wednesday that passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arriving in Canada. Further details are expected to be released on Thursday.
Canada has already been demanding 14 days for those entering the country to self-isolate and it has already banned all flights from the UK because of the new variant of COVID-19 spread there.