Sabrina Almeida

Are you shocked and angry at Canadian politicians who travelled abroad while the rest of us were told not to leave home? Well, here’s another shining example of how some leaders think ‘rules’ they make don’t apply to them. It’s the perks of the job, eh?

While I’m not surprised by this sense of entitlement, the foolishness of it all stupefies me. Given the health risks involved in having some fun in the sun, they should have known better. Health implications aside, at least they should have realized that in this day and age nothing can be kept under wraps for long. Between the nosey journalists and the all-revealing social media, the public was going to find out about their getaways sooner or later.

Rod Phillips, our former finance minister, must have had some thoughts about this when he pre-recorded his holiday greetings here at home. Of course, he has denied all allegations of any such deliberate deception. And we believe him!!?!!

One may take a page out of our premier’s book and attempt to explain this away as a “few bad apples” till the anger kicks in.  Not just at the politicians who flew the coup but also at others, like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who didn’t think they should be penalized. It was growing public pressure that forced Kenney’s hand into making heads roll. Initially the Alberta premier had said his MPs would be reprimanded but not punished.  

Perhaps we will also never know whether Phillips gave up his cabinet position out of shame and remorse, or was forced to do so. But that hardly matters because Premier Ford admitted that he didn’t ask his finance minister to come back when he learned Phillips was vacationing in the Caribbean. 

It appears that it was growing public ire that forced resignations and not federal or provincial leaders holding their members accountable out of a sense of morality. And that’s what tempts me into tarnishing all politicians with the same brush. 

Another missed opportunity to walk the talk. I believe the offenders should have lost their seats not just their portfolios and any extra money that came with it.

This week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed his disappointment at the behaviour of the disgraced politicians during a media briefing. It was expected of him, so I’m not impressed. 

I wonder if he’s aware that as news of Rod Phillips’ vacation broke, many were wondering if he too was out of the country. Hmm, that’s our impression of our black and brown-faced prime minister who vacationed on Aga Khan’s island a few years ago.  His office must have known that and hence put out the statement that he was in the greater capital region.

While we might be able to attribute this irresponsibility on the part of some politicians to  ignorance, it’s hard to imagine what the CEO of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Niagara Health was thinking. Of course, Dr. Tom Stewart  resigned from his position on Ford’s pandemic command table after his Dominican vacay was revealed. As per latest news he has also been relieved of his duties at Niagara Health. Makes sense, no? What’s St. Joseph’s Hamilton waiting for?

What is deeply worrying is the consequences of these international vacations taken by politicians, and the healthcare professional, vis-a-vis COVID fatigue. At a time when officials are desperately trying to persuade Canadians to stay the course, their own have betrayed the cause.

MPP Randy Hillier touting his holiday parties on social media without any apparent consequences only makes a bad situation worse. It also provides fodder for the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers.

With a rising number of daily COVID-19 cases despite the stringent closures, many Canadians are mentally checking out of shutdowns. A recent Leger poll showed Canadian confidence in the government’s ability to control the pandemic is decreasing and who can blame them. 

Given this betrayal by politicians, albeit a few, can one of them please explain how “we are in it together”! 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here