Two Liberal MPs resign from government roles after traveling abroad amid coronavirus

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Coronavirus: Growing list of Canadian politicians who ignored travel guidance
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Two Liberal MPs have resigned from their government and House of Commons roles after admitting to recently traveling overseas despite strict travel restrictions due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Pierrefonds—Dollard MP Sameer Zuberi stepped down from multiple committee roles while Kamal Khera, who represents Brampton West, resigned as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development, according to a statement from the chief government whip.

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Another three Liberal MPs were also found to have traveled abroad in 2020, though had either done so in the summer or fall when COVID-19 restrictions were loosened.

These include Alexandra Mendès, the MP for Brossard—Saint-Lambert, Lyne Bessette who represents Brome—Missisquoi and Patricia Lattanzio who was elected to Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

In an email to Global News, the chief government whip said that his office was aware of and had approved the three trips taken in the summer, but did not know of or had greenlighted the recent trips by Zuberi and Khera.

Click to play video: 'More Canadian politicians caught ignoring COVID-19 recommendations'
More Canadian politicians caught ignoring COVID-19 recommendations

In a tweet Sunday evening, Khera posted a statement that said she had traveled to Seattle to on Dec. 23 to attend a private memorial for her late uncle, then returning on Dec. 31.

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“Although the purpose of my travel is deemed essential given the circumstances, I have decided to step aside from my duties … in an effort to ensure my choices do not distract from the important work of our government to continue battling this pandemic,” read the statement.

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A statement from Zuberi said that he recently traveled to see his wife’s sick grandfather in Delaware, and had also returned on Dec. 31.

“I recognize that travel during this period, when so many are limiting interactions with loved ones, was an error in judgement,” read the statement. “As a result, I will be stepping down from my committee roles.”

Both Zuberi’s and Khera’s resignations comes amid a series of revelations about Canadian politicians and recent holiday travel.

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Philips previously resigned Thursday after returning from a two-week vacation in the Caribbean. On Friday, the federal NDP removed MP Niki Ashton from her critic roles after she travelled to see her ill grandmother in Greece.

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Click to play video: 'Ontario finance minister travels outside of Canada for ‘personal trip’'
Ontario finance minister travels outside of Canada for ‘personal trip’

Several Alberta MLAs and senior staffers, including one cabinet minister, have also been found to have either left the country or vacationed in recent weeks.

Saskatchewan MLA Joe Hargrave was found to have traveled to California to finalize the sale of his home in recent weeks as well, while Quebec MNA Pierre Arcand was spotted vacationing in Barbados. CAQ Youri Chassin was also criticized after the Canadian Press revealed he was visiting his husband in Peru.

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