City of Red Deer councillor Buck Buchanan is facing backlash for support of a business that has defied COVID-19 protocols.
Wednesday evening, Buchanan commented on a Facebook Live video posted by Glen Carritt, a former Innisfail town councillor. The restaurant violated COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday and opened for in-person dining Wednesday and Thursday.
Buchanan’s comment, “Good job Glenn – any AHS yet??” received condemnation from Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.
“Buchanan’s remark contravenes the city’s position and I have requested that he remove it,” Veer wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
“Citizens are expected to uphold all public health measures and elected officials are held to a higher standard.”
Hi Mag. Counc. Buchanan’s remark contravenes The City’s position & I have requested that he remove it. I will tag @buckreddeer to account to you for his comments as well. Citizens are expected to uphold all public health measures & elected officials are held to a higher standard.
— Tara Veer (@TaraVeer) January 28, 2021
Buchanan responded, saying he was simply wishing people well as things get back to normal.
“Would appear people think I am advocating for people to contravene the law nothing could be further from the truth, only wishing people well in trying to get things back to normal – whatever normal may be,” he wrote in a tweet later that evening.
The response to both Veer and Buchanan was mixed, as some chose to celebrate Buchanan’s message, while others called for his resignation.
In a statement Friday, Veer reiterated that Buchanan’s comments did not represent the city’s position.
“As elected officials, we are held to higher standards, and at a time when citizens and businesses are expected to abide by provincial law, elected officials must also share information and act in ways that honour and respect these expectations,” she said in the statement.
Veer said a formal review of the incident is being conducted by the city.
“At this time, it is imperative our citizens know that city council and the City of Red Deer are committed to upholding all public health orders and ensuring we prioritize public safety, while at the same time doing everything we can to support our local businesses, and entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are struggling amidst the continuing pandemic,” Veer added in the statement.
Councillor Dianne Wyntjes also weighed in on Twitter, noting that citizens need to try and support businesses in a responsible way, even if it is frustrating.
“When citizens pick/choose which laws not to obey we become a dysfunctional/chaotic society,” she wrote.
“I get frustration/angst of restaurants/business with restrictions. Let’s support them with curbside pickup. COVID-19 variant is worrisome for all community health and hospitals.”
This is a corrected version of the story. Glen Carritt is a former Innisfail town councillor.