Manitoba

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton took 2 trips to Greece despite pandemic advisories

Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton has flown to Greece twice during the pandemic, including the recent December trip that caused the party to remove her from her official critic roles.

Trip to Greece over the summer was approved by the NDP, according to whip

Churchill—Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton confirms she travelled to Greece twice during the pandemic. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton has flown to Greece twice during the pandemic, including the recent December trip that caused the party to remove her from her official critic roles.

"In the summer, I went to Greece to be with my grandmother, my Giagia who had gone through a second life and death surgery," Ashton said in a statement.

"After Christmas I returned to Greece to be with my ailing Giagia. I followed all of the public health requirements including those for admission in Greece."

Ashton's travel comes as the federal government is urging people to stay home and avoid non-essential international travel to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Manitobans who leave the province are required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, although travel isn't strictly prohibited under the public health orders.

Following a tweet revealing her December trip to Greece, the NDP released a statement saying the party was not notified in advance of her travel and as a result Ashton would be removed from her critic roles.

However, the party was made aware of Ashton's summer trip overseas, according to NDP whip Rachel Blaney.

"With the urgent situation with her grandmother and the low numbers of COVID-19, this travel was approved by the whip's office," Blaney's statement read.
    
Ashton, the Member of Parliament for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski in northern Manitoba, also confirmed she travelled to Ottawa twice for work and once to Winnipeg in June to be with her other sick grandmother.

"I was the only direct family member that could be her caregiver because I was the only one in Manitoba. Nobody else could be there for my Nana because of COVID restrictions," Ashton said in a statement.

Ashton said her grandmother, who was in Victoria General Hospital, was moved to a personal care home and died shortly after.

"In my Greek culture and where I come from in northern Manitoba, being with your grandparents in their time of need is important," Ashton's statement read. "My Nana was there for me, my Giagia was there for me. I couldn't not be with her in these moments."

In recent days, a number of federal and provincial politicians have been scrutinized and even resigned for travelling over the holidays despite pandemic advisories.

On Monday, it was revealed Senate Opposition Leader Don Plett, of Manitoba, vacationed in Mexico over the holidays.

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