Rod Phillips, the finance minister for the Canadian province of Ontario, has resigned after receiving heavy criticism for vacationing in St. Barts at the same time people were being told to stay home.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the resignation on Thursday, saying this shows the government “takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard.” Phillips left for St. Barts on Dec. 13 and returned on Thursday morning; before meeting with Ford, he told reporters at the Toronto airport he “made a significant error in judgment” and a “dumb mistake,” and while he “will be accountable for that,” he aimed to keep his job.
Instead, it was announced later in the day that Phillips had resigned. Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, and due to an increase in coronavirus cases, all non-essential travel was discouraged, with a strict lockdown going into effect on Dec. 26. On Thursday, a record 3,328 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the province, as well as 56 deaths.