Senator Don Plett vacationed in Mexico over the holidays despite pandemic advisory on travel

Senate Opposition Leader Don Plett spent part of the Christmas holidays in Mexico, despite government advisories against international travel.

The Senate opposition leader is now in a 14-day quarantine

A man wearing glasses is shown in a shirt and tie.
Conservative Sen. Don Plett of Manitoba. (Chris Rands/CBC)

Senate Opposition Leader Don Plett spent part of the Christmas holidays in Mexico, despite government advisories against international travel.

In response to questions from CBC News, Senate spokesperson Karine Leroux confirmed Plett left the country.

"Senator Plett is currently in Manitoba following the 14 days quarantine guidelines after having travelled briefly to Mexico on personal travel," the Senate spokesperson confirmed.

"Senator Plett travelled to Mexico on December 28th, upon arrival he reflected on his decision to travel and immediately made arrangements to return home on December 31st.

"This was his sole trip outside Canada since March 2020."

Confirmation of the Conservative senator's trip to Mexico came after CBC News began looking into reports that Plett had left the country over the holidays.

The pool deck at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa. (Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa)

Plett 1 of several politicians who travelled abroad

An American couple said they spotted Plett by a swimming pool at the luxurious Marriott Puerto Vallarta Hotel and Resort. The couple said they heard him having "a very loud" phone conversation in which he talked about Canadian politics and the Senate and told the person on the phone that he was the leader of the opposition party.

On Jan. 1, CBC News in Manitoba called the hotel and was told there had been a guest by that name who had checked out.

Plett is one of several Canadian politicians who left the country over the Christmas holidays in the face of government advisories against travel abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Dec. 29, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips found himself in the hot seat after it was revealed he was on vacation in the Caribbean island of St. Barts. Phillips returned to Canada on Dec. 31 and resigned his cabinet post later that day.

WATCH: Sen. Don Plett on holiday travel

Senate Opposition Leader says 'the pandemic has forced us to change' our Christmas traditions

2 years ago
Duration 1:00
Manitoba Conservative Don Plett released a holiday greeting online in which he remarks on how Canadians' celebrations have changed.

Plett travelled to Mexico after posting a Christmas message to YouTube on Dec. 17 in which he lamented the pandemic's effects on holiday travel.

"For many of us, Christmas is a time when we are used to gathering with family and friends, reconnecting and enjoying one another's company," said Plett in the recorded greeting.

"But this year, the pandemic has forced us to change some of those traditions, since we cannot travel and gather as we normally would."

Plett also referred to travel restrictions in a speech he delivered in the Senate just before the holidays.

"To Sen. (Jane) Cordy, in January we would sometimes be seen on the golf course together in Florida," Plett said. "That won't happen this year, so we'll have to wait until next year."

On Monday, Conservative MP David Sweet announced he was stepping down as chairman of the House of Commons ethics committee and would not run in the next election. The announcement came after news that Sweet had travelled to the U.S. to deal with a property issue but then remained on vacation.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's office said O'Toole had advised members of his caucus before the holidays to refrain from international travel. It referred all questions about Plett's travel to the Senate whip's office.

Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at elizabeth.thompson@cbc.ca


Elizabeth Thompson

Senior reporter

Award-winning reporter Elizabeth Thompson covers Parliament Hill. A veteran of the Montreal Gazette, Sun Media and iPolitics, she currently works with the CBC's Ottawa bureau, specializing in investigative reporting and data journalism. She can be reached at: elizabeth.thompson@cbc.ca.

With files from Hannah Thibedeau, Chris Rands, CBC Manitoba

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