Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed criticism he received after spending Easter weekend with his wife and children, defying COVID-19 travel bans in the country.
“As I mentioned last week in my presentation, after three weeks of my family living up at Harrington and me working here [at Rideau Cottage], I went to join them for Easter,” he said on Tuesday, CBC reported. “We continue to follow all the instructions from public health authorities,” referring to safety measures Canada has mandated in an effort to contain the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year and causes the disease COVID-19.
Non-essential travel is banned in Canada and people have been ordered to stay home and not travel to other properties they own in the country, with Quebec this month setting up checkpoints to prevent recreational travel, reported the National Post.
Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, traveled to their Harrington Lake home with their three children after she recovered from the CCP virus in late March while Trudeau stayed behind in Ottawa. The prime minister did not directly answer a question when asked why he chose to violate the country’s health guidelines and visit his family at their countryside home over the weekend.
Another Canadian politician, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, also faced criticism for violating the country’s health guidance on social distancing. Scheer took his wife and five children on board a tightly packed, private 9-seat government jet that included two other passengers, crossing provincial borders which is banned for non-essential travel purposes. Scheer was traveling to Ottawa with two other members of parliament for the spring session when he decided to bring his family along.
At a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Scheer had a hard time dodging questions about how him taking on his family on a government jet could not be ruled non-essential and thus forbidden.
“We took great steps to ensure that we minimize interactions with each other,” Scheer said. “My wife brought wipes along with her,” Scheer said, adding that they took to themselves and avoided “speaking moistly on each other” aboard the plane, the outlet reported.
Furthermore, he contended that social distancing or the lack thereof was not an issue on the flight. “It’s just completely false that we were packed one on top of each other,” he said. “We had a choice to make,” referring to the alternative, taking several commercial flights to arrive at their destination.