After a New Year video posted by Ontario MPP Gurratan Singh and his brother, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, received criticism online for potentially violating COVID-19 restrictions, an NDP spokesperson said the two brothers and their families, in fact, live in the same household.

With several politicians across the country apologizing for traveling abroad or getting together in violation of lockdown rules and public health guidance, the lighthearted video tweeted by Gurratan Singh raised some eyebrows.

As of Boxing Day, the Ontario government has barred families living in different households from gathering. The NDP says that rule does not apply here, however.

“Jagmeet and Gurratan do live in the same household,” NDP spokesperson Melanie Richer told True North.

“Early on in the pandemic, Jagmeet and his wife made the choice to include his brother, sister-in-law and parents in their bubble. During the pandemic, they’ve been living together in the same home. This allows Jagmeet (to) drive to Ottawa and avoid unnecessary public travel, and helps him better support his aging parents during the crisis.”

Both of the Singh brothers are married, and Gurratan has a newborn daughter as well.

Richer added that Jagmeet spent “several weeks” in his British Columbia riding of Burnaby South in the summer and fall, but “hasn’t been back since the start of the second wave.”

Ontario MPP Rod Phillips resigned as finance minister Dec. 31 after media learned he had been on the tony Caribbean island of St. Barths since Dec. 13, despite his government’s repeated recommendation for Ontarians to stay and home and avoid any non-essential travel.

Other travelling politicians included Alberta minister Tracy Allard, who left Canada for Hawaii earlier in December, Quebec Liberal MNA Pierre Arcand, who cut short a trip to Barbados, and Saskatchewan cabinet minister Joe Hargrave, who took what he deemed an “essential” trip to his home in California. All have apologized and returned to Canada.

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