‘Next level pathology’: Politician makes deceptive Christmas Eve lockdown video … while on vacation in St. Barts

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Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Canadian province, is taking serious heat for a homey, fireside video shared on social media on Christmas Eve.

The politician talks about restrictions in place because of the pandemic and thanked residents for the sacrifices being made to protect the most vulnerable — while he and his wife were taking an extended holiday in the Caribbean.

 

What’s more, the provincial government instructed Ontarians not to travel outside the province unless it was essential, announcing recently: “Ontarians should stay home to the fullest extent possible.”

“On this Christmas Eve, I want to wish each and everyone one of you a very Merry Christmas,” Phillips said, sitting next to a cozy fire. “I know that this Christmas is a bit different than Christmases in the past. We’re meeting virtually and online, and not able to be in person with as many family and friends as we’d like to.”

Soft music plays in the background as viewers are left with every impression that Phillips is sitting at home.

But instead, he was in Saint Barthelemy, a French-speaking Caribbean island that’s known as St. Barts.

It wasn’t’t just the deception, but the lengths Phillips went to pull it off.

The elected official posted photos on Twitter between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, making it look as if he was milling about town running errands and greeting people — sporting the same outfit as in the video.

After being exposed for a phony, he issued an apology in an attempt to mend fences, according to 660 News.

“I deeply regret traveling over the holidays. It was a mistake and I apologize,” read a statement he released late Tuesday. “I left on a personally paid trip to St. Barts on Dec. 13 following the end of the Legislative session. I am making arrangements to return to Ontario immediately and will begin a 14-day quarantine as soon as I arrive.”

Yes, the remarkable thing is that Phillips is STILL on the Caribbean Island two and a half weeks later.

In an earlier statement — there’s always multiple statements when a scandal’s afoot — Phillips tried to justify the trip, ensuring Ontarians he was working hard on their behalf in the tropical paradise.

“Immediately following the end of the Legislative Session, which occurred on Dec. 8, my wife and I departed on a previously planned personal trip outside of the country,” Phillips said.

“Had I been aware then of the eventual Dec. 26 provincewide shutdown, we would have cancelled the trip,” he added. “I have continued my work daily as the Minister of Finance and MPP for Ajax including dozens of digital ministry, constituency and cabinet committee calls and meetings.”

However, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office said he wasn’t aware of Phillips’ trip and did not approve it.

Ford would also condemn Phillips for leaving the country and instruct him to return “immediately.”

“At a time when every Ontarian has been asked to make sacrifices, I am extremely disappointed in Minister Phillips and his decision to travel abroad,” Ford said. “I have let the minister know that his decision to travel is completely unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated again — by him or any member of our cabinet and caucus.”

“I have also told the minister I need him back in the country immediately,” he added.

As might be expected, the scandal didn’t play well online — OANN’s Jack Posobiec hit the nail on the head when he tweeted: “Next level pathology. They despise you.”

Here’s a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter, to include a growing chorus of calls to resign:

Tom Tillison

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