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Coronavirus: B.C. city councillor apologizes for travelling to Somalia over the holidays

Click to play video 'Victoria councillor Shamarke Dubow apologizes for overseas travel' Victoria councillor Shamarke Dubow apologizes for overseas travel
Shamarke Dubow went to East Africa - a trip he's been planning for years. But he's not ready to resign over the error. Here's Richard Zussman. – Jan 6, 2021

Victoria city councillor Sharmarke Dubow is apologizing to residents for travelling outside of Canada during the holidays amid the pandemic.

In a statement posted on social media, Dubow said he adhered to local public health guidelines while away and took the PCR COVID-19 test multiple times. All the results came back negative.

Dubow was isolating in Vancouver after arriving back in Canada on Monday.

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“I have followed the federal and provincial guidelines,” Dubow wrote.

“I have food arrangements and a workstation where I will be serving my constituents virtually and conducting my council duties for the next two weeks.”

Politicians at all levels have been under intense scrutiny over the past week for travelling abroad after telling their constituents to stay home amid COVID-19 restrictions.

International travel is not against public health orders, but is strongly discouraged by public health officials.

Dubow said he’d been saving for the trip “for years” and that it would be his first time back to Somalia since he fled the country as a child in 1992.

Read more: Former Somali refugee sworn in as Victoria city councillor

The city councillor made international headlines in 2018 for winning a seat in the first election he was eligible to vote in. He became a Canadian citizen in 2017 after arriving the year before.

“I know now that I should not have gone,” he said.

“I understand that there is no good excuse. It is with humility and gratitude tat I serve people in Victoria. I acknowledge that I showed poor judgement by not leading by example in this case.”

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Click to play video 'Rod Phillips out as Ontario finance minister after Caribbean vacation' Rod Phillips out as Ontario finance minister after Caribbean vacation
Rod Phillips out as Ontario finance minister after Caribbean vacation – Dec 31, 2020

In Alberta, Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard resigned as the minister of municipal affairs after travelling to Hawaii for Christmas.

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips stepped down after his family trip to the island of St. Bart’s.

Dubow said he will not be stepping down, however.

“I understand that many people made the difficult decision not to visit their families over the past number of months. I know now I should have made the same decision.”