West Vancouver Coun. Peter Lambur is the latest B.C. politician to acknowledge travelling outside Canada over the holidays, despite health officials' recommendations against non-essential travel during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement provided to CTV News Vancouver by the District of West Vancouver, Lambur writes that he and his wife travelled to Big Sur, Calif., to see their six-month-old granddaughter for the first time.
"Our travels complied with all provincial protocols and precautions and government of Canada rules and travel advisories," Lambur says in the statement.
The councillor goes on to detail his travel experience, which included testing for COVID-19 three days prior to departure, rides in private vehicles to and from the airports, masks and social distancing, including on an aircraft he says had "very few passengers."
"We registered with arriveCAN prior to arrival at YVR and began our mandatory quarantine at home on Dec. 31," Lambur's statement reads. "Currently we are in day six of our 14-day quarantine period without any symptoms evident. Daily status checks are being provided to arriveCAN throughout our quarantine period."
Reached by email, Lambur said he had no further comment beyond the statement provided through the district.
No other West Vancouver councillors left B.C. over the holidays, according to the district, though Mayor Mary-Ann Booth travelled to her cabin in Whistler just before Christmas to do some maintenance.
The news of Lambur's travel comes amid nationwide scrutiny of travel by politicians at a time when Canada's border remains closed and non-essential trips discouraged.
Elsewhere in B.C., Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow apologized earlier this week after travelling to visit family in East Africa over the holidays, and a senior City of Vancouver staff member - Gil Kelley, general manager of planning urban design and sustainability - spent several weeks working remotely from Oregon, where he was attending to "personal, family affairs," according to the city.
Numerous federal and provincial politicians elsewhere in Canada have also been criticized for travelling during the pandemic's second wave.
In an interview with CTV News, West Vancouver's mayor said she wasn't aware of Lambur's travel until members of the media started inquiring about it this week.
Booth described the trip as Lambur's "personal decision based on his personal circumstances," and added that she hasn't had a chance to speak with him to learn more about the situation beyond the information he provided in his statement.
"I'm reluctant to throw stones," Booth said. "You know, people make mistakes, and I can only control my behaviour."
She added that based on what she knows about Lambur's situation so far, she wouldn't have travelled internationally.
"As elected officials, we are held to a higher standard and we have to model good behaviour and behaviour that's appropriate," Booth said. "I have a lot of grandparents in my community who aren't seeing their kids and their grandchildren, and I think that as elected officials, we have to stand with our residents and we have to all make sacrifices. So, yeah, I am disappointed."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's David Molko