Ontario Premier Doug Ford has promised to have a "tough conversation" with a minister who defied government guidance and went on a Caribbean vacation—while sending tweets implying he was still in Ontario. "As we all make sacrifices this Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won't even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom," Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips tweeted on Christmas Eve. He also tweeted a video in which he was sitting by a fireplace. But he was actually on the luxury island of St. Barts, and had been there for 11 days, despite government warnings against nonessential travel, the CBC reports. An Ontario-wide lockdown came into force on Dec. 26. Phillips apologized Tuesday, saying he "deeply regrets" going on the "previously planned" trip.
During his vacation, Phillips also tweeted photos taken earlier in December in which he attended events and distributed gifts among his Toronto-area constituency. Andrea Horwath, leader of the opposition NDP party, accused Phillips of "creating an elaborate cover-up on social media" and urged Ford to demote him "because of his lack of judgement and lack of honesty," the Globe and Mail reports. Ford admitted Wednesday that he found out about the Caribbean vacation soon after Phillips left and said he should have told him to "get your backside back into Ontario" at the time. The premier said he told Phillips his actions were "completely unacceptable" and he has been ordered to return to Canada immediately and quarantine for 14 days. (Read more Canada stories.)