A Victoria councillor is apologizing to constituents for travelling over the holidays, despite COVID-19 health orders. He is one of two Greater Victoria municipal councillors who travelled outside of the country during the holiday season.
Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow posted a statement to Twitter Tuesday evening and said he “made the poor choice” to travel to East Africa over the holidays and returned to Victoria Jan. 4. He said he is in a 14-day quarantine at a Vancouver hotel and will serve his council duties remotely.
“I had been planning and saving for this trip for years and returned to East Africa for the first time since I fled the civil war in Somalia in 1992 as a child,” he wrote in the statement. “I saw family members I hadn’t seen in more than three decades.”
Dubow said he adhered to local public health guidelines while away and took multiple COVID-19 tests.
“Even with the extreme caution that I took, including the tests I paid for, I know now that I should not have gone. I understand there is no good excuse.”
Dubow said he is “committed to doing better and working harder for all residents of Victoria.”
In a press conference Wednesday, Victoria mayor Lisa Helps said Dubow’s decision was both “disappointing and irresponsible.”
“There cannot be two sets of expectations – one for the public and one for elected officials,” Helps said. “As community leaders, we should be held to a higher standard. We should be exemplary role models, following all of the very clear public health advice that we’ve received.”
Helps said she learned of Dubow’s travel when he called to tell her on Tuesday evening.
“Had he asked me or shared with me in advance that that he was planning to travel, I would have strongly advised him…of our role as community leaders and advised him not to travel.”
This comes shortly after Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila, who owns chauffeur service L.A. Limousines, confirmed she had spent time in Mexico from Dec. 1 to 9 for the wedding of a business partner.
Kahakauwila told Black Press Media the business has been “decimated” by the pandemic.
Several Canadian politicians admitted to travelling abroad over the holidays including seven Alberta cabinet members, MLAs and staff who resigned as a result.