The mayor of a small city in B.C.’s Southern Interior has resigned from his post, citing backlash and anguish for apparently visiting a family cabin two hours away.
On Friday, Bruno Tassone officially tendered his letter of resignation as mayor of Castlegar, though it was dated Thursday, Jan. 7.
Tassone declined to speak to Global News, but it appears his resignation stems from a decision to take a family mental-health break at Mount Baldy, near Oliver in the South Okanagan.
The distance between Castlegar and Mount Baldy is around 200 km, with Tassone telling the Castlegar News that his family has owned a cabin there for 25 years.
In the article, Tassone said his wife struggles with depression and that they chose to visit the cabin for his wife’s well-being.
It’s not known how long they stayed or how many stayed in the cabin.
The newspaper also published comments from Castlegar’s town councillors, who were split on the mayor’s decision to vacation.
“When I embarked on my political journey, perhaps I was naïve in thinking it wouldn’t affect me and my family in the ways it has,” Tassone said in the resignation letter.
“But as time has gone on, my position as mayor has unfortunately challenged my physical health, as well as the toll bullying and hypocrisy within the media has taken on my spirit.
“When it affects my family, it is not acceptable.”
According to the City of Castlegar, Tassone was first elected in 2014, then as mayor in 2018.
Global News has reached out to four other city councillors regarding Tassone’s resignation.
One of them, Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, said she was surprised by Tassone’s resignation, but noted that politicians are held to a higher standard than the public.
“I support (the mental health issue), but if we’re going to be asking our residents to do something, we need to lead by example,” said Heaton-Sherstobitoff.
“Everybody is going through different emotions and mental situations. But as leaders, we need to lead by example and be credible in what we say.”
Heaton-Sherstobitoff continued, saying, “as politicians, we’re really put under the microscope.
“When you’re a politician, you really are asked the difficult questions on really sensitive subjects and topics, and you have to be prepared to answer them. That’s why we get elected; to ask those questions and make those decisions for the betterment of our community.”