NDP strikes Niki Ashton of critical roles after recent trip to Greece

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A prominent member of the federal #New #Democrats has lost his cabinet critical posts after traveling to #Greece despite widespread travel restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The party released a statement saying #Manitoba MP #Niki #Ashton recently traveled to #Greece to visit a critically ill family member.

#He says #Greek officials, who currently only allow visitors to enter the country if they can prove their travel is essential, have approved #Ashton’s visit.

The NDP says #Ashton has reached out to #Canadian officials for “best practices,” but has not informed #Leader #Jagmeet #Singh or the party whip of his travel plans.

The statement says party members sympathize with #Ashton’s plight, but notes that millions of #Canadians have adhered to public health guidelines under equally urgent circumstances.

#Ashton did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the loss of his critical roles.

“##Canadians rightly expect their elected representatives to lead by example,” the statement read. “##Although this is not a family vacation, #Ashton will be removed from her roles as a shadow critic.”

The party said the portfolios overseen by #Ashton would be reallocated in the coming days.

#Ashton is the latest high-ranking politician to face the consequences for flouting advice to stay home during a global pandemic.

#Rod #Phillips resigned his former job as #Ontario’s finance minister on #Thursday after traveling to the #Caribbean during the holiday season.

#Several members of #Alberta’s #United #Conservative government, including #Municipal #Affairs #Minister #Tracy #Allard and #Premier #Jason #Kenney’s chief of staff, have also been revealed to have traveled in recent weeks.

The travel prompted #Kenney to issue a directive barring senior government officials from traveling outside of #Canada during the pandemic. #He said he should have issued such a directive earlier, but said those who traveled before #Friday’s announcement will not be penalized for not breaking any rules and following safety guidelines.

#Allard later apologized for making the trip.

#In #Saskatchewan, #Highways #Minister #Joe #Hargrave apologized for traveling with his wife to #Palm #Springs, #California, to complete a home sale. #And in #Quebec, #Liberal MP #Pierre #Arcand was facing the heat for a trip with his wife to #Barbados.

#This report by The #Canadian #Press was first published on #January 1, 2021.

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