rod phillips

People in Ontario are now calling for Rod Phillips to resign from MPP position

It's been nearly a week since former Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips was publicly outed for vacationing in tropical St. Bart's while his government ordered residents to stay home and limit their travel to essential only, but his condemnation continues, with constituents now calling for him to resign from his post as Ajax MPP.

Phillips famously stepped down from his role as minister on Dec. 31 after he returned from his trip to face a tough conversation with Premier Doug Ford, which is something many demanded after he seemingly tried to pull the wool over our eyes by posting on social media as if he was home in locked-down Ontario when he was actually sunning on a beach.

But, some may be unaware of the fact that he still holds office as an elected official in the GTA town, a position he's had since 2018. And some of those that do know are making it known that they'd like him to be booted from that seat, too.

On Sunday, a makeshift neon yellow sign appeared plastered over the banner for Phillips' office at Rossland and Harwood, simply reading "RESIGN NOW" in all capitals.

The person behind the message has yet to be identified, but it seems that it isn't an uncommon sentiment toward the illicit vacationer.

Despite an official Canada-U.S. border closure and other COVID-19 travel restrictions, the federal government has done little to actually stop people from embarking on non-essential trips during the pandemic other than simply implore that we don't — and, based on social media, it's easy to see that many have not been heeding that request.

Phillips, to his credit, flew out on Dec. 13, well before news broke that the province was being plunged into an extreme blanket lockdown on Boxing Day.

But, with the province perpetually reminding residents through formal messages on social media and its website that "now is not the time to travel" and "stay home — travel outside your region should be limited to only essential purposes," Ontarians are understandably peeved at such brash defiance of what's being asked of all of us, and by a noted politician of all people.

And amid all of the drama surrounding the ex-minister, it's been revealed that at least a dozen Canadian officials have taken personal, non-essential trips in recent months, too.

Among them are Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard — who took a little jaunt to sunny Hawaii while, like Phillips, she tweeted as if she were home — and five other members of that province's Legislative Assembly.

Various petitions and requests for their dismissal or resignation now abound online, with some even suggesting that people like Ford, who some feel was complicit in Phillips' faux pas, should bequeath as well.

Brampton West MP Kamal Khera just yesterday relinquished her second job as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development over her foray out of the country, which was, quite fairly, to attend a memorial service for immediate family.

The audacity of the actions of those like Phillips, who took a trip just for the sake of getting away in a time when we would all love to be able to do so but are refraining from for the sake of the world, are a little more jarring.

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