Finance Minister Phillips in Political Hot Water Over Southern Vacation

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TORONTO – Politics – Ontario’s Minister of Finance is on holidays in St. Barts in the Caribbean. The Minister left for the holiday after the legislative session ended in early December.

“I deeply regret travelling over the holidays. It was a mistake and I apologize. I left on a personally paid for trip to St. Barts on December 13 following the end of the Legislative Session,” said Minister Rod Phillips. “I am making arrangements to return to Ontario immediately and will begin a 14 day quarantine as soon as I arrive.”

Premier Doug Ford states, “I have let the minister know that his decision to travel is completely unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated again — by him or any member of our cabinet and caucus. I have also told the minister I need him back in the country immediately.

“The only way we will beat COVID-19 is by following the advice provided by our public health experts. Public officials are no exception.”

What is confusing is that on Twitter Minister Phillips posted a number of Tweets that did not state he was on vacation out of the country.

On December 24, 2020 Phillips Tweeted:

He also Tweeted:

On December 22, 2020 he Tweeted:

It appears as of now, the Minister of Finance will keep his role in cabinet.

NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said Doug Ford cannot give Finance Minister Rod Phillips a free pass for his choice to leave the country for a vacation in December, while instructing everyone else to stay inside their home.

“Doug Ford let Sam Oosterhoff off the hook when he held a big family shindig. Ford let himself off the hook for gathering with family when he told the rest of us we can’t. These guys just think the rules don’t apply to them,” said Singh.

“Everyday folks were separated from their aging parents during the holidays. They’ve missed the birthdays and graduations of people who are precious to them, and they have been separated from nieces, nephews and grandbabies as they’ve grown and hit new milestones over the last year. While the rest of us ache to hug our loved ones again, Doug Ford insiders are whooping it up, even vacationing in the tropics.”

Phillips claims in a statement to have left soon after December 8, when Ford adjourned the legislature. On December 11 he tweeted about his visits “today” to local businesses. On December 15 he attended a funding announcement in Durham. On December 18 Phillips tweeted photos of himself visiting a local business, which he says were taken the previous weekend. On Christmas Eve he tweeted that “we all make sacrifices this #Christmas.