Victoria mayor says councillor's holiday trip to Africa was irresponsible

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Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says neither she nor city council have the authority to ask for fellow councillor Sharmarke Dubow's resignation after he admitted to flying to East Africa over the holidays in contravention of COVID-19 advisories against non-essential travel.

Helps said Dubow told her he wasn't planning to step down either.

"It's unacceptable that a councillor showed such poor judgment and didn't follow the rules we are asking everyone else to follow," said Helps.

"Even though we're not the one making the rules, it's really important as community leaders that we model good behaviour and follow the advice of officials."

In a statement Tueday, Dubow apologized, saying he travelled to East Africa over the holidays to visit family he had not since fleeing civil war in Somalia as a child in 1992.

"Even with the extreme caution that I took, and the tests I paid for, I know now that I should not have gone. I understand that there is no excuse," he wrote.

Dubow is now in quarantine at a Vancouver hotel, where he said he'd be serving his constituents virtually for the next two weeks.

Helps said she had no knowledge of Dubow's trip before he left. She said had she known, she would have strongly advised him against it.

"It was irresponsible and disappointing. What he does next is up to him," she said.