Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced the resignation of his finance minister who took a trip to the Caribbean while the province remained under lockdown.
Minister Rod Phillips apologised and called the travel a “dumb mistake”.
Mr Ford on Thursday said Mr Phillips’ departure showed his government “takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard”.
Canada’s most populous province has discouraged all non-essential travel amid record-high new case counts.
Mr Phillips, who is a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, had taken a personal trip to St Barts on 13 December and returned on Thursday morning.
Ahead of the holiday season, Ontario health officials had urged residents to stay at home when possible amid an ongoing rise in Covid-19 cases.
Mr Phillips told reporters when he arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport he hoped to keep his job, but would respect the premier’s decision.
“Obviously, I made a significant error in judgment, and I will be accountable for that,” Mr Phillips said. “I do not make any excuses for the fact that I travelled when we shouldn’t have travelled.”
Later on Thursday, Mr Ford said in a statement he had accepted Mr Phillips’ resignation following a conversation with him. Mr Ford has asked Peter Bethlenfalvy, currently president of the treasury board, to step into the finance minister role.
On Wednesday, Mr Ford had said he learned of Mr Phillips travel two weeks ago, but said the minister “never told anyone” he was going to St Barts, according to CBC.
Ontario’s New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath on Wednesday had pushed for Mr Phillip’s firing, saying it was unacceptable for him to “ignore public health advice” while the government “demands sacrifice from everyday Ontarians”.
“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,” she said in a statement. “If he didn’t, that in itself would be enough reason to demote him.”
- Social media users react to DSP Azugu’s alleged role in assault on Citi FM journalist
- ASEPA calls for the removal of GJA President, Affail Monney
- Don’t reduce our schools to ideological and religious fighting grounds – Akufo-Addo tells religious leaders
- NSMQ 2021: Mfantsipim destroys Adisadel, University Practice and Assin State College to win Central Regional Championship
- Akufo-Addo and his NPP government are reducing Ghana to a police state – Haruna Iddrisu
- We have not failed humanity by building prison infrastructure – Church of Pentecost
- GPL wrap: Kotoko extend gap at top after Olympics surrender lead
- Court adjourns Assin North MP’s case over hearing of applications
- Francis Xavier-Sosu: Eid-ul-Fitr reflections – Human rights and security implications, the case of Wesley Girls’ and the Methodist Church
- Champions League final moved to Porto and 12,000 Chelsea and Manchester City fans can attend
Top scientists question the need for Covid-19 booster shots
Akufo-Addo visits France, Belgium and South Africa as part of post-Covid engagements
Today’s front pages: Friday, May 14, 2021
NSMQ2021: Perfect ‘salah’ gift as Tamale SHS wins maiden Northern Zonal Championship
Coach Paa Kwasi Fabin names 27-man Black Meteors squad to face Japan
Real Madrid win to keep title dream alive
GPL wrap: Kotoko extend gap at top after Olympics surrender lead
Liverpool boost top four hopes with win at Man Utd
Sancho and Haaland score doubles as Dortmund win German Cup
National Security Ministry to probe alleged assault on Citi FM journalists by security operatives
Government is committed to investing more in the youth – NYA Deputy CEO
NSMQ 2021: Tamale Islamic SHS denied ‘Eid-Trophy’ after Notre Dame SHS exited them at semis of Northern Zonal Championship
Don’t reduce our schools to ideological and religious fighting grounds – Akufo-Addo tells religious leaders
NSMQ 2021: Mfantsipim destroys Adisadel, University Practice and Assin State College to win Central Regional Championship
Full text: Speaker Alban Bagbin’s message on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr