RM of La Broquerie council suspends reeve

·1 min read

The reeve of the Rural Municipality of La Broquerie has been suspended after attending an anti-mask rally in Steinbach in November.

Reeve Lewis Weiss was suspended 45 days after a 5-0 vote at Wednesday’s council meeting; there was one abstention. The councillors agreed that in attending the rally and in propagating misinformation about the pandemic, Weiss breached the RM’s code of conduct.

The vote came after five councillors filed a complaint following the rally. A report on the results of a formal investigation undertaken by the municipality will be made public after confidential information has been redacted.

At the November protest, Weiss was the only elected public official to speak, telling the Free Press after his address that “it’s always worth it to speak your mind.” He falsely claimed that the pandemic was a hoax and COVID-19 is no worse than the flu. Enforcement officers handed Weiss a $1,296 fine for breaching public-health orders.

His actions upset the premier and justice minister.

“Sir, we live in the Red River Valley, it is flat between you and I, but the world is not flat,” Premier Brian Pallister said at a news briefing in a message to Weiss. “You need to understand… it’s a pandemic, and people in your area are getting COVID, too. So please sir, it’s not a myth, it’s a reality... let’s work together and make sure that we lessen the impacts on Manitoba families.”

Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press