Manitoba’s top civil servant travelled to Ottawa during holidays

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s top civil servant and former campaign manager for the premier was out of the province during the holidays.

A spokesperson for the province confirms David McLaughlin, Clerk of the Executive Council, was in Ottawa for the last two weeks of December.

Premier Brian Pallister and Manitoba health officials have been advising Manitobans not to travel during the current lockdown in place to help curb COVID-19 case numbers.

In a statement, the spokesperson tells CTV News McLaughlin followed all public health protocols and was working remotely.

“The assertion that the Clerk of Executive Council was on vacation is false and it would be grossly inaccurate for such a narrative to be propagated,” the statement said.

“The Clerk returned to his immediate family’s home in Ontario and, for the last two weeks of December, was working remotely – just as thousands of Manitobans have been for months. The work of government does not stop over the holidays. The Clerk was actively participating in virtual meetings, conference calls, or working on Government of Manitoba business from his home daily.”

McLaughlin served as Pallister’s campaign manager in the 2016 and 2019 elections.

Several elected officials of all political stripes across the country are in hot water over holiday trips outside of Canada during the pandemic.

Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton lost her critic roles for travelling to Greece to see a sick relative. 

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