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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 'disappointed' in politicians travelling outside Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

Elisabetta Bianchini
·3 min read
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For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “disappointed” that a number of politicians have decided to travel outside Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, going against government advice.

“It is unfortunate to see a number of politicians not take their own advice,” Trudeau said. “I understand and share the frustration that many Canadians are feeling who would have loved to have a little break from all this, but who know that it is not the time to do that.”

The prime minister’s comments come as several federal and provincial officials have been called out for travelling, including for tropical vacations. Trudeau said it is “really important” for Canadians to get the sense that “we are all in this together.”

“The actions of any one person can have a positive or a negative benefit on the health situation of your neighbour,” the prime minister said. “That’s why I was disappointed to find of two of our caucus members who travelled and...there were consequences in them resigning from their committee roles.”

“That’s why all Canadians were so disappointed to see so many examples of folks who should have known better doing things that put us all at risk.”

The prime minister also had a simple message for any Canadian who wants to travel for non-essential purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been very clear, no one should be vacationing abroad right now,” Trudeau said. “But if you still decide to travel at your own risk, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before you return and you must self-isolate for two weeks when you get back.”

“You need to take this seriously. Not following the rules could mean real consequences, including fines and prison time.”

Beginning on Thursday, all international travellers who are five years of age or older will require a negative COVID-19 test before arriving to Canada. This is in addition to the 14-day quarantine rule currently in place for travellers.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, echoed the prime minister’s comments, advising against non-essential foreign travel, and added that the federal government is “always looking at other measures” to better protect Canadians. LeBlanc added that there is a “misnomer” circulating that the Canadian government can legislate against travel outside of Canada.

“It is a global pandemic, which means if you decide to go on holidays in the Caribbean or in Mexico or somewhere else,...you’re acting in a way that’s irresponsible,” the intergovernmental affairs minister said.

“If you look around the world at countries that have requirements for exit visas, I’m not sure we want to be on the list of those countries, but any measure that tells Canadians that non-essential travel internationally should not be undertaken is something that we’re prepared to look at.”

Check out our COVID-19 in Canada topic page for latest news, tips, health updates, cases and more.