VICTORIA -- Victoria city councillor Sharmarke Dubow is apologizing for travelling out of the country during the winter holiday season as politicians country-wide face criticism for making similar trips.

Dubow said on social media Tuesday that he was visiting family members in East Africa during the holidays. He returned to Canada on Jan. 4 after taking multiple COVID-19 tests, including one before his return flight to Canada.

He is now staying at a hotel in Vancouver to abide by Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country.

During this time, Dubow says he will be working for the city virtually and will participate in regular council duties from a workstation in his hotel room.

"I had been planning and saving for this trip for years and returned to East Africa for the first time since I fled the civil war in Somalia in 1992 as a child," Dubow said. "I saw family members I hadn’t seen in more than three decades."

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

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "disappointed" that multiple federal and provincial politicians travelled abroad despite Canadian officials discouraging all non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubow says he is committed to serving Victoria residents and apologizes for making the journey.

"It is with humility and gratitude that I serve people in Victoria," he said. "I acknowledge that I showed poor judgement by not leading by example in this case."

"I understand that many people made the difficult decision not to visit their families over the past number of months. I know now that I should have made the same decision. I am sorry and I am committed to doing better and working harder for all residents of Victoria."  

Dubow’s full statement can be read below: