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O Canada! Newmarket politicians all report staying home during pandemic asked mayor, councillors, MPs and MPPs whether they had travelled outside country
Jan. 21, 2021
Lisa Queen

On Jan. 8, mayors representing small urban communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including Newmarket, urged the federal government to clamp down on foreign travel during the pandemic to stop the spread of the virus. decided to ask Newmarket politicians whether they have travelled outside of Canada since York Region was moved into the grey lockdown level on Dec. 14.

The provincial government has since issued a stay-at-home order that came into effect Jan. 14.

While several politicians and officials from other communities have traveled outside the country, including former Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips, who resigned from cabinet after his trip to St. Bart’s came to light, Newmarket’s mayor, councillors, MPs and MPPs all report staying in Canada since at least Dec. 14.

“I have not travelled outside of Canada since the pandemic began in March,” Mayor John Taylor said.

“I have not travelled outside of Canada or even to another province in the last 12 months,” Deputy Mayor Tom Vegh said.

“As much as I would really, really love to get away (to) sunny weather, we haven’t and aren’t going anywhere,” Ward 1 Coun. Grace Simon said.

“I have visited Zephyr, Egypt (Georgina), and Goodwood on one of our many drives on Friday afternoons. In short, no out of province travel in the past year,” Ward 2 Counc. Victor Woodhouse said.

“I haven’t been out of the province, let alone the country, since the pandemic hit us in March,” Ward 3 Coun. Jane Twinney said.

“I have not travelled at all during the pandemic,” Ward 4 Coun. Trevor Morrison said.

“I was away tending to my business in Florida last March until the fed(eral) government asked for Canadians to return back because they were going to lock down the border. I came back as soon as that announcement came out. I have managed my business remotely since that time and did not cross the border since my return last March,” Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kwapis said.

“As far as travel, not a chance. In fact, the last time (I) left Canada was more then 20 years ago. I have no plans in the future, either. One of the things that prevents you from giving blood on a regular basis is travel, so I have been a good candidate over the years for blood donation for that reason,” Ward 6 Coun. Kelly Broome said.

“I have not travelled outside of Canada and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future,” said Ward 7 Coun. Christina Bisanz, who is also CEO of CHATS (Community and Home Assistance to Seniors).

“As you know, in addition to my role as councillor in the Town of Newmarket, I am responsible for the safety of my clients and staff at CHATS. I take very seriously my responsibility to reduce my exposure to every extent possible by following infection prevention and control guidelines.”

A spokesperson for Newmarket-Aurora MPP Christine Elliott, also Ontario’s health minister, said she has not travelled outside Canada.

“Regarding your question, please note that Minister Elliott has not travelled outside of the country. She has been working tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians,” she said

Newmarket-Aurora MP Tony Van Bynen, said he has been vigilant to follow all health guidelines during the pandemic.

“I have not travelled outside of Canada or the province of Ontario during the pandemic,” he said.

“My only travel in 2020 was within the province of Ontario. I made several trips to Ottawa for parliamentary duties and I have made two visits to my family cottage located in Tobermory - to open and close for the season. Also, once to visit my 97-year-old mother-in-law in London, Ontario - all trips within health guidelines.“