A federal public servant who was caught up in the international travel controversy that swept through Canadian politics following Christmas has given up her career with the government to pursue her career as a social media “influencer,” saying that after she resigned, it felt like “a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders.”
Dominique Baker, who was a manager with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Centre for Biosecurity, Office of the Border and Travel Health, posted an announcement to her Instagram account on Saturday, saying she’d been thinking about making the leap for five years.
“This is truly my dream, and resigning on my own terms frees me up to focus 100 per cent on what fuels me and to work with brands that I truly love,” she says.
Baker, who is based in Ottawa and has a career as a fashion and travel influencer, travelled to Jamaica last November on a free, all-inclusive trip offered by Air Canada Vacations to the Royalton Blue Waters resort in Montego Bay. She wrote about the trip, which she took with a friend, on a blog post on her website, Style Domination. It has since been deleted.
“We stayed in a completely luxurious junior suite complete with two butlers (that’s right – BUTLERS,)” she wrote in the post, the Toronto Sun reported.
When the news was first reported that the public-servant-cum-influencer broke, Iain Stewart, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, said they found out because “photos of her abroad were posted on social media channels for a campaign promoting international vacations.”
For months, the federal government has been recommending strongly against Canadians travelling abroad during the pandemic.
“To have employees disregard this travel advice is unacceptable … we expect PHAC employees to encourage Canadians to follow public health advice, not to engage in non-essential travel,” Stewart said in a statement to the Sun last month.
A number of people — and governments — were caught up in a post-Christmas scandal regarding international travel. Liberal MP Kamal Khera stepped down from her position as a parliamentary secretary after travelling to Seattle for a memorial service for her uncle and father. Sameer Zuberi, also a Liberal, travelled to Delaware in mid-December, and also stepped aside from various committee roles.
Conservatives David Sweet and Ron Liepert also got caught travelling to the United States; both said they were dealing with property-related issues. Don Plett, a Conservative senator, vacationed in Mexico.
I acknowledge this and urge anyone thinking of getting away this winter to wait until the pandemic is over
NDP MP Niki Ashton was stripped of her critic roles after travelling to Greece to visit her sick grandmother.
A number of provincial politicians and staff also got caught — some losing ministerial roles and some staff even losing their jobs.
In her video announcing her resignation from the government, Baker makes no mention of the controversy. But, in a video posted last month, she admitted “the timing was not right and I should not have gone.”
“I acknowledge this and urge anyone thinking of getting away this winter to wait until the pandemic is over,” Baker said.
In her Saturday video, she said: “It’s never too late to make yourself happy and build a life that’s yours. I feel like this is a new beginning for me and I’m so excited to see where it leads.”
Baker did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.