Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says that the future of councillor Sharmarke Dubow’s position with the city is up to him, after the councillor apologized on social media for making an international trip during the holiday season.
Helps told reporters Wednesday that she first learned of Dubow’s trip on Tuesday shortly before he issued his public statement.
“With so many Victorians making such sacrifices this past year to pull together as a community and stop the spread of COVID-19, councillor Dubow’s decision to travel internationally was both disappointing and irresponsible,” said Helps.
“There cannot be two sets of expectations, one for the public and one for elected officials,” she added.
“As community leaders we should be held to a higher standard and should be exemplary role models, following all of the very clear public health advice we’ve all received.”
As politicians across the country face criticism for making similar trips, Helps says that city council has no authority to ask for Dubow’s resignation.
“On matters such as these, councillor Dubow answers to the public not to council and ultimately the next steps are left in his hands,” she said.
Helps says that Dubow did not plan on resigning when he informed her of his trip on Tuesday. However, she stressed that details should come from the councillor himself and that she was not speaking on his behalf.
“To me, it’s unacceptable that a councillor expressed poor judgement and didn’t follow the rules that we were all asked to follow,” she said.
As far as Helps is aware, no other councillors travelled out of the country during the winter holidays.
“My hope and my assumption is that this is a very exceptional circumstance,” she said.