Politics

Liberal MPs among latest politicians to disclose international travel during pandemic

The list of politicians known to have travelled outside the country in recent weeks grew on Sunday as the federal Liberals revealed that two of their MPs had visited the U.S. in late December.

Kamal Khera, Sameer Zuberi stepping down from additional House and government roles

Liberal MPs Kamal Khera, left, and Sameer Zuberi stepped down from their additional House of Commons and government roles after their international travel during the holidays was disclosed in a statement from the chief government whip's office on Sunday. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press; CBC News)

The list of politicians known to have travelled outside the country in recent weeks grew on Sunday as the federal Liberals revealed that two of their MPs had visited the U.S. in late December.

Chief government whip Mark Holland said in a statement that Montreal MP Sameer Zuberi and Brampton MP Kamal Khera, parliamentary secretary to International Development Minister Karina Gould, left the country without his knowledge.

In a separate statement posted to social media, Khera said she flew to Seattle on Dec. 23 to attend a small memorial service for her uncle and father, who died within weeks of each other earlier in the year.

Khera, who tested postive for COVID-19 in March, said she returned to Canada on New Year's Eve.

Holland's statement said Zuberi visited his wife's sick grandfather in Delaware on Dec. 18 and returned to Canada on Dec. 31. Zuberi, who represents the Quebec riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard, has stepped down from his roles on parliamentary committees, according to the statement.

"The Whip was not previously made aware of their requirement to conduct essential family business during lockdowns in their respective jurisdictions. Both MPs followed all local health and safety advice at all times during their travel," the statement read.

The two Liberal MPs are the latest Canadian politician whose travelling over the holidays have come under scrutiny.

Conservative Ron Liepert of Calgary-Signal Hill travelled to Palm Desert, Calif., on two occasions since March to address what his office called "essential house maintenance issues", while the NDP's Niki Ashton was stripped of her critic roles on Friday after sharing that she travelled to Greece to visit her sick grandmother after spending Christmas alone with her family in Manitoba.  

In Quebec, Liberal MNA Pierre Arcand said he now regrets his decision to visit Barbados with his wife for the holidays, while Rod Phillips resigned from his role as Ontario's finance minister after it was revealed he took a personal vacation to the Caribbean Island of St. Barts. 

In Alberta, several MLAs left the country for vacations, prompting Premier Jason Kenney to order MLAs not to leave the country unless it was for government business.

With files from CBC News

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