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Tory MP ‘currently out of the country’ resigns from ethics committee

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The Conservative chair of the ethics committee is stepping down from his role following revelations that he traveled abroad during the coronavirus pandemic – despite federal guidelines urging Canadians to stay home.

David Sweet, a Conservative member of Parliament representing the Ontario riding of Flamborough–Glanbrook, travelled to the United States due to what Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s office characterized as a “property issue.”

Read more: The Canadian politicians who travelled over the holidays during a coronavirus pandemic

However, he opted to stay for leisure without informing the Tory Whip — a decision that resulted in him tendering his resignation as the chair of the ethics committee.

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Sweet also said he plans not to run for re-election, after serving his riding for the past 15 years.

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“It is time for me to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren while still contributing in other ways. I am currently out of the country with my wife having reached this difficult decision, and will be back in Hamilton soon,” Sweet wrote in a Monday Facebook post.

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“I have resigned my role as Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics and will not be seeking re-election. Rest assured until the next election my staff and I will continue to serve you to the best of our ability.”

On Dec. 25, Sweet posted a Christmas video where he detailed that the holidays “may look different this year than they have in the past” and urged Canadians to donate to their local food bank.

“I also want to thank all of our front-line workers that are tirelessly working every day to keep us healthy and safe. Likewise, I ask that you be mindful of the brave women and men who are away from their families this Christmas in service to our country,” Sweet said in the video, posted to his Twitter.

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As the chair of the ethics committee, Sweet was charged with overseeing studies into alleged instances of ethical missteps. He presided over the meetings last year in which the committee probed into the alleged conflict of interests tied up in the WE Charity affair, as well as other inquests into issues of ethical concern.

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However, in light of this news, Sweet is stepping down from that role.

The Conservative MP joins the ranks of many other politicians who have come under fire in recent days as news of their non-essential travels to sunny vacation destinations are unveiled. That list includes Liberal MPs Kamal Khera and Sameer Zuberi, as well as NDP MP Niki Ashton, who all stepped down from their roles as a consequence.

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Conservative MP Ron Liepert was also found to have taken a trip to California to undertake “essential house maintenance.”

In the provinces, multiple MLAs and ministers have been found to have taken vacations abroad — including former Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips and Alberta municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard, both of whom stepped down from their cabinet roles after their vacations.

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