Conservative MPs free to travel international, Liberal, NDP MPs must stay home

By Stephanie Taylor

OTTAWA – Conservative MPs will be free to travel internationally over the holidays while their Liberal and NDP counterparts have been told to stay home.

Politicians jet-setting to different vacation destinations drew much attention last year as federal and provincial governments told Canadians to forgo their travel and gathering plans to combat rising COVID-19 caseloads.

The federal Liberal government issued today a new advisory urging Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel because of the threat posed by the Omicron variant.

A Liberal official says the governing party’s MPs have been informed that they are to abide by the public health advice and avoid non-essential international travel.

Liberal House Leader Mark Holland says he has already cancelled a planned international trip to celebrate a family member’s 70th birthday in January, and is cutting back on plans to have a Christmas gathering with more than 20 people.

NDP whip Rachel Blaney says her caucus has also been advised to avoid non-essential international travel, adding that “Canadians expect elected officials to lead by example by following the rules.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s said in a statement there is no international travel ban in place and that he believes the advisory is to help those who are vaccinated made informed decisions about their travel plans.

“This applies to MPs and all Canadians. As such, members of the Conservative caucus can continue to travel internationally,” wrote O’Toole’s director of communications, Josie Sabatino.

She pointed out earlier this year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet travelled internationally at different times when a similar advisory was in place.