As politicos across the country continue to receive flak for travelling abroad over the holidays, three Kamloops politicians contacted by KTW say they abided by public health recommendations and stayed home.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod has in the past travelled south for the holidays. Not so in 2020.
McLeod said she stayed in the riding and never anticipated being able to travel, due to the pandemic. She said a federal advisory against travelling abroad has been in place for months. The federal advisory states: “Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
McLeod would not speculate on what certain politicians deemed “essential” and said riding constituents can evaluate their respective area politicians.
Kamloops-South Thompson B.C. Liberal MLA Todd Stone also stayed home for the holidays.
Stone called it “disheartening” for Canadians to hear stories of those unable to follow rules put in place by public health officers.
“I think at a time when we’re asking British Columbians to continue to make personal sacrifices, including minimizing their travel and staying home, it is certainly inappropriate to be asking people to do that and only to do the opposite yourself, whether you’re an elected politician or not,” Stone said.
Kamloops-North Thompson B.C. Liberal MLA Peter Milobar taught his kids to cook turkey via Zoom this Christmas, unable to have family dinner because his adult children live outside of his household.
He said the B.C. Liberal caucus made a concerted effort to adhere to guidelines.
“Recognizing that everyone is facing challenges and struggles and there’s people that aren’t able to a see a loved one that’s ill or having health challenges, who live 10 minutes away from your house, so travelling overseas to do the exact same thing doesn’t change the situation of travel not being recommended and advised against,” he said. “I was glad all 28 of our caucus stuck around town in their respective cities and adhered to the rules.”
Milobar said resignations and demotions that followed those politicians across the country who did not adhere to such rules did not come as a surprise.
“I’m not quite sure why people had the thought process they did for travel at the time,” he said. “Certainly, I can only speak to my own actions and our own caucus. We were all very mindful and stuck to local areas and local cities.”
McLeod said she went to Sun Peaks over the holidays, noting the pandemic has underscored the number of activities available in our own backyard at a time when travel has been discouraged.
“I’ve talked to people who have tobogganed and ice fished and skated and skied and cross-country skied,” McLeod said. “I think opening our eyes to the winter and what winter has to offer has actually been a bit of a treat.”
Stone is optimistic 2021 will be a better year, with vaccinations on the horizon.
“What we do today and in the coming weeks will determine how quickly we can resume some semblance of normalcy later this year,” he said. “Buckle down, stay close to home, follow public health orders, wear a mask, wash your hands — and if we do all of that and, as long as that is complemented with an acceleration of the vaccination rollout plan, we’re going to all find ourselves towards the middle and second half of this year in a place where we’re going to be able to reunite with loved ones. I am very, very hopeful that will be the case.”
Stone said he will continue to push for vaccines to be administered as quickly as possible.