The Rossland mayor is asking the community for understanding rather than condemnation following an extended visit to the United States.
For Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore, her trip south with her husband to get vaccinated and visit family was carefully planned and the information shared with council and city staff. But the dual citizen, who has served Rossland for two terms as councillor and now her second term as mayor, recognizes that the optics are concerning.
“My trip was not a secret, and my decision to go was carefully considered and weighed heavy on my heart,” said Moore. “Council, staff and numerous people in the community were told of my plans in March.
“I left Rossland first week of April, immediately got vaccinated and have been very careful to stay just with my family. As one of 1.4 million other Canadians, I am a dual-citizen so I am allowed in the U.S.”
Since the pandemic outbreak, many politicians’ have been censured and publicly criticized for appearing to bend or break COVID-19 protocols, and this case is no different as her actions drew heated debate on social media.
“The mayor says everyone should follow PHO [Provincial Health Order] protocols and yet it does not seem to apply to her,” one person wrote. “Rossland council should hold the mayor accountable, this is double standard BS.”
While the optics of leaving the city and crossing the border to visit family may be blurred, Moore says she has done so conscientiously and with the public safety paramount.
Moore, who was born and raised in California, and her husband also received their COVID-19 vaccines before joining their son and family.
The retired couple also was not restricted by the most recent April 23 measures placed on travelling outside of the three boundaries within B.C. because they left in early April.
Also, under Canada and U.S. federal law, dual citizens can cross the border for essential health reasons, and must follow a number of protocols on re-entering Canada, including mandatory quarantine.
Moore says that before she and her husband return to B.C., they will have a COVID-19 test done before crossing the U.S.-Canada border, and have a quarantine plan in place to show at the border.
“I do regret the fervor this has caused in the community and any issues for council,” Moore told the Trail Times.
“I understand that people are frustrated with the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic and the lack of family contact. Just like for many of you, it has been a very difficult time for me and my family.
“I agree with the people who believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard, and for the 13 years I’ve been in local government, I believe I have done that. I made this decision first as a mother and grandmother, not as an elected person.”
The mayor shared her travel plans with council and senior staff, and participated in all council meetings virtually while away.
“Since almost all of our activities continue to be handled remotely, I have not neglected my duties as mayor,” said Moore.
“I have continued to attend and chair all meetings and fulfilled all of my obligations. If the mayor’s physical presence is needed, the acting mayor will step in according to the schedule established each year. This has not been needed so far.”
“Once again, just because I was allowed to make this trip, I was wrong and I apologize for my decision.
“Thank you for your understanding.”
Earlier this year then-Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone resigned after backlash flared up over a trip he and his wife took to their cabin, located on the West Kootenay/Okanagan border. Tassone said the trip was to help his wife deal with mental health issues and they needed to get away.
In his resignation letter to council, Tassone said it has been difficult and that he was naïve to think his political journey wouldn’t affect his family.