New Brunswick

Ontario councillor who took N.B. road trip loses positions

A city councillor from Peterborough, Ontario who made a controversial road trip to New Brunswick despite COVID-19 restrictions has been punished by his council colleagues.

Stephen Wright travelled to New Brunswick to survey how restaurants were reopening

Coun. Stephen Wright has apologized for his recent road trip, saying he was 'overzealous' when he decided to drive from Ontario to New Brunswick to see how restaurant reopenings were contributing to the provincial economy. (Stephen Wright/Twitter)

A city councillor from Peterborough, Ontario who made a controversial road trip to New Brunswick despite COVID-19 restrictions has been punished by his council colleagues.

They voted Monday night to remove him from his position as economic development vice-chair and from council's seat on the board of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

Coun. Stephen Wright apologized for the trip last week, saying he was "overzealous" when he decided to drive to New Brunswick to see how restaurant reopenings were contributing to the provincial economy.

The trip provoked fury, especially among New Brunswickers living outside the province who weren't able to visit loved ones or travel home for the funerals of family members.

The Higgs government has since loosened border restrictions for such trips.

Ontario councillor offers his 'regrets'

Wright said in a statement last week that he understood the criticism and offered his "deepest regrets."

He said the trip was his own initiative and he paid for it himself.

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien introduced the motion to strip Wright of the two positions.

Last week she said his trip was "not reflective of city policy or what my office wants to see or [how] our councillors behave."

Premier Blaine Higgs said last week that Wright's decision did not 'seem like a legitimate reason' to travel to New Brunswick during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBC)

The city council also voted to rescind its approval for Wright to run for a seat on the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Wright opposed the decisions. 

The New Brunswick government said last week it was investigating how its enforcement officers at the border had screened Wright and decided to let him in. 

"It does not seem like a legitimate reason to come into the province," Premier Blaine Higgs said last week.

About the Author

Jacques Poitras

Provincial Affairs reporter

Jacques Poitras has been CBC's provincial affairs reporter in New Brunswick since 2000. Raised in Moncton, he also produces the CBC political podcast Spin Reduxit.

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