British Columbia

Dawson Creek mayor says it's 'disappointing' that city councillor travelled abroad

Mayor Dale Bumstead confirmed newly elected Coun. Darcy Dober was out of the country last week. The mayor said he knew Dober was on vacation but was unaware of his travel plans.

Newly elected Coun. Darcy Dober due to return this week

Darcy Dober was elected to Dawson Creek city council in an October 2020 byelection. (Darcy Dober/Facebook)

The mayor of Dawson Creek, B.C., says he plans to speak to a newly elected councillor who travelled abroad despite public health recommendations not to.

Dale Bumstead confirmed Coun. Darcy Dober was out of the country last week.

Bumstead said he knew Dober was on vacation but was unaware of his travel plans.

"He sent me a note that he would be away for 10 days," Bumstead said. 

"I had no idea whether he was travelling for business or whatever, and certainly not that he was travelling internationally. Councillors don't report to the mayor. They report to the folks who elect them."

Dober was sworn in to council in November following an October byelection. According to his platform he runs multiple businesses in the community, and he is listed as the operator of Browns Socialhouse restaurants in Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie, Alta.

CBC News has attempted to contact Dober but has not heard back. An autoresponse from his email address said he was on vacation with limited access to email until Jan. 18.

He did not respond to further CBC's requests to comment on Monday morning.

Levels of expectation

Bumstead said as a newly elected official, Dober may still be adjusting to life in the public eye.

"You're at a different level and you get exposed to a different ... [level] of expectation," Bumstead said. "So that'll be a conversation that Coun. Dober and I will have."

Several other city councillors in B.C. have been scrutinzed for trips abroad, and the mayor of Castlegar resigned after he was criticized for travelling to his cabin 200 kilometres away.

District of Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila, who went to a friend's wedding in Mexico in December, said calls for resignations were "heavy handed" as municipal officials do not have the same power over public health guidelines as provincial and federal ones do. As well, most municipal politicians only work part-time and have to hold other jobs in order to make ends meet, she said.

Still, Bumstead said the fact one of his city's councillors had decided to travel abroad was "disappointing" and he encouraged everyone in the community to follow the best practices laid out by public health officials.

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