In a statement issued today, Burlington mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she feels “just as troubled and frustrated” as the community about news of elected representatives and community leaders travelling outside the country or province during the current lockdown order.
Her statement comes after it was reported earlier today that Halton Regional Police Chief Steve Tanner had travelled outside the country to “address personal business matters” at a property in Florida.
“This erodes public trust at a time we need to work with the community to defeat COVID-19,” said Meed Ward, who claims that she herself has not travelled outside the country or province in more than a year.
While Tanner says he deeply regrets his decision to travel, Oakville mayor Rob Burton reportedly knew about the trip and had no objections to it.
Tanner stated that he will return to Canada this weekend.
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“I appreciate that Chief Tanner has now apologized and said it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets,” said Meed Ward.
“Clearly, as community leaders, we need to hold ourselves not only to the same standards we expect from the public, but a higher standard of accountability, transparency and behaviour. We are in a public health emergency when all non-essential travel is being discouraged by our public health officials and provincial and federal governments.”
The mayor confirmed that no senior staff at Burlington City Hall and no City Council members have travelled outside the province since the province-wide lockdown.
Going forward, Meed Ward said she will voluntarily disclose where she is calling in from during virtual city council and committee meetings, and will be discussing further measures to ensure staff and council “lead by example.”
The mayor is also encouraging those with properties outside the province to consider local property management companies and continue avoiding all non-essential travel.
With files from The Canadian Press