A billionaire Donald Trump supporter who was outspoken in his criticisms of the coronavirus restrictions got an exemption from a mandatory quarantine when he visited Canada on a private jet.
According to a CBC News report, Liz Uihlein, head of Wisconsin-based packaging company Uline, landed at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on August 25 to visit one of the company̵
Under the Quarantine Act, visitors to Canada are required to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival in the country. Failure to comply with the restrictions carries a maximum penalty of up to $ 750,000 in fines and / or imprisonment for six months.
But neither Uihlein, nor his two traveling companions, were required to quarantine.
The Canadian federal government has the authority to issue exemptions for workers deemed critical to the country, but this list usually includes flight crews and long-haul truck drivers, not company executives.
Only four ministers can issue exemptions: foreign affairs, public safety, health and immigration. The country’s top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, can also issue exemptions.
No ministry said whether it granted the exemption and the company did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
The news of the exemption sparked outrage from a federal party leader.
“While Mr. Trudeau asked Canadians to follow public health advice, behind closed doors he granted exemptions to billionaires,” tweeted Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic left party.
“We know he thinks there is a set of rules for him and his rich friends, and another for the rest of us, but that’s something else.”
Canada’s shared border with the United States has remained closed to non-essential travel since March, as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Uihlein and her husband have been called the “powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of” for their vast donations to the Republican party. In recent years, they have donated $ 100 million to conservative causes and politicians, including Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and failed Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Uihlein has also been a vocal critic of the lockdown measures in her home state of Wisconsin, which she believes places an undue burden on business.
“It’s overrated,” he told the Guardian in April. “And I don’t wish anyone nasty. You know I don’t want it, but I think it hurts at certain ages in certain places and largely in many parts of the world. In the country it’s not as rampant as the press would like.”
As of Thursday, nearly 200,000 Americans are believed to have died from the virus, with 2.5 million active infections.
While Uihlein’s visit to Canada lasted less than two days, police were called at one point after employees worried executives were holding large meetings without masks, according to CBC News.
“It doesn’t matter who you are. I don’t care if you have fifty cents or ten billion dollars,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said of Uihlein’s visit. “It makes no difference: the rules are the rules.”