Canadian official resigns after taking tropical vacation amid lockdown

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A Canadian government official was forced to resign after posting a video pretending to be at home on coronavirus lockdown — when he was actually vacationing in St. Barts.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s finance minister, shared a Christmas Eve clip of himself in a sweater, sipping eggnog in front of a fireplace, and thanking Canadians for avoiding nonessential travel during the holidays.

“I want to thank every one of you for what we are doing to protect our most vulnerable,” Phillips said in the video.

Other posts on his Twitter account also suggested that he was homebound in snowy Ontario, including a Dec. 17 photo of himself pouring Canadian maple syrup over pancakes and one about visiting local businesses on Christmas Eve.

Turns out, Phillips had actually been on the Caribbean island of St. Barts — a favorite playground of the rich and famous — since at least Dec. 13, Newstalk 1010 first reported.

Opposition parties and health officials called for Phillips to be fired from Cabinet.

He was ordered to return to Ontario, and Premier Doug Ford promised to have a “very tough conversation” with Phillips when he got back Thursday.

Later Thursday, Ford said that he had accepted Phillips’ resignation

In a statement, Phillips said he “deeply” regretted taking the beach vacation.

“It was a mistake and I apologize,” he said, admitting: “I left on a personally paid-for trip to St Barts on 13 December following the end of the legislative session.”

At Pearson Airport Thursday, he told reporters that he had made a “‘dumb, dumb mistake” by taking the trip, the CBC reported.

“I do not make any excuses for the fact that I travelled when we shouldn’t have travelled.”

With Post wires

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