A senior minister in Ontario’s cabinet has resigned after vacationing in the Caribbean as residents of Canada’s most populous province were being urged to stay home.
Rod Phillips, who was named Ontario’s finance minister in 2018, told reporters that his trip was a “dumb, dumb mistake” when he arrived back in Toronto on Thursday, after being summoned home by Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier.
Shortly afterward, Mr. Ford said that he had accepted Mr. Phillips’s resignation. From the start of the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Liberal, has urged Canadians to avoid nonessential travel out of the country — and when announcing a province-wide shutdown that started Dec. 26, Mr. Ford, a Progressive Conservative, told residents to stay home “to the fullest extent possible.”
Mr. Phillips, and his wife, went to the French territory of Saint Barthélemy, which is commonly known as St. Barts, on Dec. 13. He left behind a series of photos and videos that were posted on social media during his absence, and several political opponents said that the posts were intended to create the illusion that Mr. Phillips was celebrating the holidays in Canada. The images appear to have been made at Mr. Phillips’s home in suburban Toronto. He is now under a mandatory 14-day quarantine there.
Mr. Ford initially claimed that he knew nothing about his minister’s travel until it was reported in by the news media. But at a subsequent news conference, he acknowledged that he had been aware of Mr. Phillips’s absence for about two weeks.