Quebec MNA Arcand returns from Barbados, says he's sorry but won't resign
MONTREAL -- Quebec Liberal MNA Pierre Arcand is sorry, but he won't resign from office.
The member of the National Assembly for the Mont-Royal-Outremont riding returned to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport Friday night after taking an ill-advised trip with his wife to Barbados that received criticism from many including the leader of his party.
"I probably made a mistake by going there, obviously, and I regret that mistake," he told CTV News at the airport.
Will he step down?
"No," said Arcand.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade said she tried to dissuade him from taking the trip and has now asked him to pack his bags and head home.
Arcand says he and his wife were tested before they left Quebec and again after arriving in Barbados.
"It was not the right thing to do clearly, he said Friday night. "It was a commitment I made to my wife on a personal basis, it was important for me to do that at the time."
Arcand said he felt the place he travelled to was secure, but that it doesn't excuse the trip made in the midst of the highest daily increases in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
"One thing for sure, it's obvious right now that we are in the middle of an increase of a lot of cases and travelling is probably not a good thing at this particular time," he said.
Arcand isn't the only local politician who's abroad right now. CAQ MNA Youri Chassin is in Peru visiting his husband.
Arcand's trip came to light after he was spotted in Barbados. According to Radio-Canada, who reported the news first, Arcand was seen in the Glitter Bay area.
Federal and provincial governments have repeatedly asked Quebecers not to travel over the holidays given the state of the pandemic in Canada.
Anglade said Wednesday morning that she should have gone further than trying to talk him out of it, and should have prohibited members of her party from leaving the country.
“We said ‘We don’t believe that he should be going,' but we should have forbidden it," she said.
Arcand said he's spoken to Anglade.
"There are times when you think you're doing the right thing and we're all human beings and obviously I made a mistake by going there," he said.