The holidays turned out to be a busy travel season for several Canadian politicians.
Despite most of the country being under strict restrictions due to the rising number of COVID-19-infections, there is a growing list of politicians who have admitted to leaving the country over the December holiday period, even as their constituents hunkered down at home, following public health guidance meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger issued a statement Wednesday (Jan. 6), calling their actions “extremely disappointing.”
David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Flamborough-Glanbrook, announced late Monday (Jan. 4) that he resigned from his role as Chair of House of Commons ethics committee.
In a Facebook post, the Conservative MP announced the decision and said he would not be seeking re-election after it came to light that he has been in the U.S. for the last few weeks.
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“It is time for me to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren while still contributing in other ways,” Sweet wrote in the social media post. “I am currently out of the country with my wife having reached this difficult decision, and will be back in Hamilton soon.”
Eisenberger said that no one has been given a separate set of rules.
“The news of anyone travelling over the holidays for non-essential reasons, especially elected officials and senior leaders in our community, is extremely disappointing,” said the Hamilton Mayor. “These individuals do not have a separate set of rules from everyone else and are being held accountable for their foolish actions.”
Eisenberger also called their actions “senseless” as Ontario reported 3,266 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, and 37 new deaths due to the virus.
“We cannot let the senseless decisions of others take away our focus from the task at hand: stop the spread of this virus,” added Mayor Eisenberger. “The majority of Hamiltonians have been doing their part and have made many sacrifices during the pandemic. To this majority: please know you are making a difference in case counts. Thank you for your diligence and leadership.”
“I know there are anti-maskers out there as well as COVID-19 deniers and some who say one thing and do another. I urge community members to not listen and stay the course. This virus is real and has killed too many loved ones in Hamilton.”
In total, 1,463 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 361 in intensive care, and 132 people are on ventilators.
The province says 220 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
With files from The Canadian Press