Salmon Arm Councillor Chad Eliason is going public with the fact he went to Mexico over Christmas.
In the wake of questions around town, Eliason wanted to confirm he went, in an effort to remain open and transparent.
“It’s a different time now than it was when I left,” he said. “I recognize now I shouldn’t have probably travelled.”
At the time, he didn’t think about the consequences, he said.
As the New Year began, several provincial politicians from Alberta and Ontario as well as federal politicians have been chastised or demoted for recent trips abroad, and the mayor of Castlegar resigned after travelling to a family cabin in the Okanagan.
Eliason said municipal politicians do not set travel policy, although they are in leadership roles.
Eliason travelled during the week before Christmas and came back on Jan. 10.
“Lots of people have made sacrifices over the past several weeks, over Christmas, over the past 10 months, that I should have probably made too, in hindsight,” he said.
“I know a lot of people who were struggling through it; I was too. That’s basically why I did it.”
He does not want to make public the details of his personal life, and he said he went to a private place and observed social distancing. He didn’t go to an all-inclusive resort to party, and he doesn’t go to Mexico every year for Christmas, he added.
“It was a spur of the moment decision.”
Eliason said he had a COVID-19 test before he boarded the flight back, drove straight home from the airport and has been quarantining since. He said he is a single person who works on his own, remotely.
He added that he hasn’t shirked any of his council responsibilities.
“I attended all the meetings, did all the work, nothing changed for my job for the city or my personal job where I work remotely.”
He said he thinks this is an important time for people to take care of their mental health, especially with Blue Monday coming up.