Virden Mayor censured, apologizes for controversial remarks

“Remarks were strictly my own but not correct” - Wright

Virden Mayor Murray Wright has apologized for remarks he made about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Yellow Vest convoy kickoff in Virden on Jan. 5.

At this week’s regular town council meeting, Wright addressed councillors:

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“I want to make this apology to everyone within ear shot - town council, town staff, citizens of Virden and surrounding areas - for the remarks I made at the Yellow Vest rally January 5 on the outside of Virden.

“My remarks were strictly my own but they were not correct and not used in the right context. So I can assure this kind of action on my part will not be repeated.”  

Deputy Mayor Tina Williams then introduced a motion to “censure” the Mayor; in other words, make a formal statement disapproving his actions.

She referred to the Municipal Act’s code of conduct that requires council members to act in a way that “reflects the dignity and decorum of the office that she or he holds.”

Williams continued, “And whereas Mayor Murray Wright made comments at the Yellow Vest rally… regarding the Prime Minister of Canada that do not reflect the standards and values of council, therefore be it resolved that (he) is in breach of the code of conduct section 4.1 and further be it resolved that I motion that Council censure the Mayor for his breach of the code of conduct.”

The motion was seconded by councillor Tara Cowan.

Wright urged council to vote in favour of the resolution, saying it shows citizens and other government bodies that council members, including himself, don’t want his remarks to affect relationships with them. Council voted to approve the censure resolution.

Williams clarified after the meeting that the censure changes nothing in any concrete way but is “the period at the end of a sentence” and the matter is now over.

She added that she had received complaints from citizens about the Mayor’s anti-Trudeau remarks. “They were unhappy that words were put in their mouth.”

The troubles began Jan. 5 when Wright took the microphone at the Yellow Vest rally and said:

“I know what I’d like to do with Mr. Trudeau but I’d be in jail if I did that. I’m sure that the first pig we run through the pipeline when we get it built out west that he’s duct taped to the front of it with that pig behind his a** when it goes.”

That impromptu speech went over well with oil workers but angered others.

© Virden Empire-Advance