The New Brunswick government says it’s still investigating an Ontario municipal politician’s visit to the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, even after the councillor apologized for his actions this week.
The province launched the probe after learning that Stephen Wright, a city councillor in Peterborough, Ont., had travelled to New Brunswick last month.
As part of its measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, New Brunswick prohibits non-essential travel and requires anyone coming into the province to self-isolate for 14 days.
In an open letter issued Wednesday, Wright apologized for what he called his “error in judgment” in making the road trip.
He characterized it as taking an “overzealous approach” to researching the restaurant sector in preparation for the eventual reopening of such businesses in Ontario.
“I take my role as a city councillor very seriously and do not consider that to provide me with any special privileges,” Wright wrote.
“To (New Brunswick Premier Blaine) Higgs, and the residents of New Brunswick who have not been able to return home to be with their loved ones during to this unprecedented pandemic; I receive your criticisms and hope you accept my deepest regrets.”
The councillor had previously defended the trip, telling local media he needed to see first-hand how restaurants were handling the loosening of restrictions.
Peterborough’s mayor, Diane Therrien, told Global News the trip was not authorized or paid for by the city.
Neither Wright nor Therrien could be reached for comment Thursday.
A spokeswoman for New Brunswick’s Department of Public Safety declined to give details on the investigations or any possible penalty.
Higgs, meanwhile, has said the province would look into what Wright was asked at the border crossing and what answers he gave.
Wright’s actions have also drawn a rebuke from the mayor of Saint John, N.B., who said the councillor should have respected the state of emergency.
“An elected official who encourages his own community to stay safe, while putting ours at risk, should have known better,” Don Darling said on Twitter.
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