While government officials across the country are being criticized for travelling over Christmas, Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer spent his vacation working at a local clinic.
A long list of Canadians in the political field who travelled abroad over Christmas is emerging, including Brampton-West MP Kamal Khera who is stepping down as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development after travelling to Seattle for a memorial for her father and uncle. In Canada, many other politicians, such as Albertan Premier Jason Kenney's Chief of Staff who travelled to the United Kingdom, travelled over Christmas.
In Manitoba, MP Niki Ashton was removed from her NDP critic roles after visiting her sick grandmother in Greece.
Manitoba’s Clerk of the Executive Council, Secretary of Cabinet and Head of Manitoba’s Public Service David McLaughlin stayed at the home of an immediate family member over Christmas for two weeks in Ontario.
"The Clerk of Executive Council returned to his immediate family’s home in Ontario and, for the last two weeks of December, was working remotely - just as thousands of Manitobans have been for months," a spokesperson from the Government of Manitoba says. "The work of government does not stop over the holidays. The Clerk was actively participating in virtual meetings, conference calls, or working on Government of Manitoba business from his home daily."
Premier Brian Pallister says that McLaughlin was working from the home of his wife and family in Ontario.
They say the travel took place following all public health protocols and was in compliance with Manitoba’s public health orders.
A spokesperson confirms James Teitsma, the MLA for Radisson travelled over Christmas with his family. The household travelled to Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia in their private vehicle from December 21 to 30.
"They did not gather or socialize with anyone outside their immediate household and all public health orders were followed," the Manitoba PC Caucus spokesperson says in an email.
Senator Don Plett travelled to Mexico on December 28, but then returned to Manitoba days later.
“Senator Plett is currently in Manitoba following the 14 days quarantine guidelines after having travelled briefly to Mexico on personal travel," Karine Leroux, a spokesperson for Senator Don Plett's office says. "Upon arrival, he reflected on his decision to travel and immediately made arrangements to return home on December 31st."
Leroux says this is the only time he has travelled outside Canada since March 2020.
Meanwhile, Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin took two weeks off from press conferences, but not from other work. Heeding his own advice, the doctor had a mostly quiet holiday in Manitoba as he celebrated Christmas at home. Roussin spent time working at a local clinic, including over the Christmas weekend.
"For myself, I was mostly at home," the doctor says. "I celebrated virtually with other members of my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day."
The doctor would not comment on politicians travelling but is asking Manitobans to avoid non-essential travel.