Ontario official called back from St Barts pandemic vacation

Busted! Canadian finance minister is caught posting FAKE Twitter videos pretending to be at home on lockdown – and thanking people for not traveling – when in fact he’s sunning himself in St Barts

  • Rod Phillips shared a video of himself drinking eggnog in a sweater in front of a fireplace with a gingerbread house and a little Christmas tree
  • He thanks Ontarians staying home and avoiding nonessential travel 
  • ‘It was a mistake and I apologise,’ he said after his trip was made public 
  • His Twitter account had suggested he was in snowbound Ontario for weeks but the truth has since surfaced that he’s been in sunny St. Barts since December 13 
  • Now Phillips has been ordered to return to Ontario where Premier Doug Ford said he´s going to have a ‘very tough conversation’ with Phillips on Thursday 

Ontario’s finance minister has been called back from his lockdown-busting St Barts vacation after posting a Christmas Eve video in an effort to hide his real location. 

Rod Phillips shared a video of himself drinking eggnog in a sweater in front of a fireplace with a gingerbread house and a little Christmas tree.

He told Ontarians staying home and avoiding nonessential travel because of the pandemic over the Christmas holidays: ‘I want to thank every one 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 popular spot for the rich and famous. 

His Twitter account had suggested he was in snowbound Ontario for weeks but the truth has since surfaced that he’s been in sunny St. Barts since December 13.

Now Phillips has been ordered to return to Ontario where Premier Doug Ford said he´s going to have a ‘very tough conversation’ with Phillips on Thursday. Oppositions parties and the health officials are calling for Phillips to be fired from Cabinet.

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Rod Phillips shared a video of himself drinking eggnog in a sweater in front of a fireplace with a gingerbread house and a little Christmas tree He thanks Ontarians staying home

 Phillips also shared other tweets which suggested he was in Ontario

Phillips also shared other tweets which suggested he was in Ontario

Ford claimed Phillips ‘never told anyone’ he was leaving but Ford said he knew Phillips was out of the country ‘shortly after he arrived.’

‘I should have said `Get your backside back into Ontario´ and I didn´t do that,’ Ford said.

Phillips said in a statement he ‘deeply’ regretted traveling and cut short his vacation.

He said: ‘It was a mistake and I apologise. I left on a personally paid-for trip to St Barts on 13 December following the end of the legislative session.’ 

Ontario began a province-wide lockdown on December 26 and Ford has been blaming travelers for bringing the new coronavirus to the province. 

Canada´s national government and the Ontario government have both repeatedly asked Canadians not to travel abroad during the pandemic.

‘This is a devastating blow to the government and Ford personally because, as he has admitted, he knew that Phillips was in St. Bart´s and did not upbraid and order him back immediately. 

Ford only did so once the news of Phillips´s absence became public yesterday,’ said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.

Wiseman said Phillips should resign. ‘That would be the honorable thing to do but honor is in short supply these days in the political world,’ he said.

The Ford government already was being criticized for halting vaccination operations over the holidays and for delaying the provincewide lockdown until the day after Christmas.

Ontario set a new daily record for cases on Wednesday with 2,923, with just over one-third of them in the country´s largest city of Toronto.

Rod Phillips Twitter account had suggested he was in snowbound Ontario for weeks but the truth has since surfaced that he’s been in sunny St. Barts since December 13

‘Ford is also suffering from the slow roll-out of the vaccine, the slowest in Canada,’ Wiseman said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national government, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before they arrive in Canada. More details are expected to be released on Thursday.

Canada already requires those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and it has already banned all flights from the United Kingdom because of the new variant of COVID-19 spreading there.

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