Amid hysteria in Canada within political circles over non-essential international travel as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic surges in the country, an Indo-Canadian MP has resigned as parliamentary secretary after attending a memorial service for her uncle in the US.
Politicians in the country have come under increasing attack in recent days for preaching against such travel and then doing the same themselves. However, while arguing that the “purpose” of her travel was “deemed essential under the circumstances”, the Brampton West MP “decided to step aside” from her duties as parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of international development.
In a statement, Khera said this was “in an effort to ensure my choices do not distract from the important work of our government to continue battling this pandemic.”
Delhi-born Khera, who is a trained nurse, had won plenty of praise this spring as she helped out as a volunteer as the coronavirus crisis first came to the country. She was the first Canadian MP to contract the virus. “I hope to be able to do my part in the vaccine roll-out where there may be nursing shortages,” she added in her statement.
She said her father passed away in September and her uncle a few weeks later, and she travelled to Seattle for a private memorial service for the latter attended by less than 10 persons, after not being able to attend the funeral at the time of his death. She left Canada on December 23, after the end of the Parliamentary session and returned on December 31.
Her Liberal Party colleague Sameer Zuberi, who travelled to Delaware to visit his wife’s ailing grandfather last month, has resigned from parliamentary committee positions that he had held, while New Democratic Party MP Niki Ashton lost her formal parliamentary roles with her party after going to Greece to visit her sick grandmother.
The finance minister of the province of Ontario Rod Phillips resigned from that post last week after it emerged that he went to the island of St Barts for a Caribbean vacation in late December.