New Brunswick

Campbellton mayor won't seek re-election after social media attacks

The mayor of Campbellton won't be seeking re-election in next month's municipal election.

Stéphanie Anglehart-Paulin served as mayor for 5 years and says it's time to move on

Stéphanie Anglehart-Paulin says she will not seek re-election in next month's municipal election. (Radio-Canada/Serge Bouchard)

The mayor of Campbellton won't be seeking re-election next month after a five-year term that was at times bruising because of personal attacks.

Last week, Stéphanie Anglehart-Paulin announced in a 20-minute Facebook video that she will not be seeking re-election on May 10.

"I believe it's time to move on," she said in an interview Tuesday with Information Morning Moncton.

Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin has been mayor of Campbellton for 5 years. She won't be seeking relection. 8:25

Anglehart-Paulin, the mayor for the past five years, said one of the most challenging parts of the experience was being attacked on social media in relation to her son, who was once homeless in Moncton. 

"People are very cruel," she said. "Comments like, 'She should stop fixing the waterfront. She should help her kid.'" 

She said her son, who is in his 30s, is now in an institution. Anglehart-Paulin and her husband are raising her son's son, and he doesn't want her running for mayor again.

"He doesn't want me to have a job where people call me names."

Mayor in a pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic was another challenge for the mayor, especially because the bridge across the Restigouche River to Quebec has been closed. The bridge is the link between the city and Listuguj First Nation, two communities that have always been closely intertwined.

They were cut off from each other when the pandemic hit and New Brunswick closed its border with Quebec more than a year ago. Many families were separated, businesses suffered losses, and people were not able to receive essential services, the mayor said.

"For the last year, it's been like we've been strangers. … We've got families that are completely split.

Anglehart-Paulin said she has worked hard to build relationships with Listuguj First Nation.

New Brunswick closed its borders to non-essential travel on March 25 of last year. That created friction in Listuguj First Nation, which some see as part of a larger community with Campbellton. (Isabelle Larose/Radio-Canada)

She is most proud of the Indigenous monument displayed on the city's waterfront, alongside Acadian and Scottish monuments.

"I felt reconciliation had to be more than words," she said in her Facebook video.

She said it was also an accomplishment to fly the Grand Council flag in Campbellton, while acknowledging the city is on the unceded Mi'kmaw territory.

"For the first time in my recollection did any of that happen in our city."

'It's a full-time job'

Anglehart-Paulin would like to see a full-time salary that pays more than $30,000 for the mayoral position. That way, more people would be attracted to the position and could bring in new ideas. 

"It's a full-time job with a part-time pay and people expect so much," she said. "And a little community — they figure you're accessible 24/7."

Anglehart-Paulin is returning to work to work full-time in the private sector.

"It was a sacrifice to become the mayor because I wanted to be the mayor."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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