Amélie's baptism at the Our Lady Star of the Sea ChurchA little bit about me:
My family and I live in the old O’Brien’s General Store on Harbour Road, where operate our family business: Witless Bay’s The Wright Music Studio. My wife Heather teaches violin, piano, bagpipes, music theory, and children’s group classes, and I teach guitar to children and adults alike. In addition to being the proud father of two little girls (Amélie and Évangéline), I am a lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology and Geography at Memorial University. I have degrees in Canadian Studies (B.A.), Folklore (M.A.), and Religious Studies (M.A.), and am nearing the completion of a Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at MUN.

Heather and I sing & play in the Our Lady Star of the Sea church choir, host the Witless Bay Puffin Festival’s Children’s Afternoon organized by the Kinsmen, we volunteer our talents at various community fundraisers, and organize a float every year for the Witless Bay Christmas Parade. We also organize and host the annual Witless Bay Halloween Wonderland Food Drive for the Knights of Columbus Christmas hampers, and we organize fundraising recitals twice yearly for the Our Lady Star of the Sea Building Maintenance Fund. We’re proud members of Witless Bay Puffin and Petrel Patrol too!

I am inspired by our beautiful town of Witless Bay: by all that it is already & by all that it can become if we work together for the greater good. Often, a simple tweak can result in big improvements!

In addition to being the Mayor of Witless Bay, I’m…
• An award-winning lecturer at Memorial University.
• An Action Canada Alumnus (a federal public policy & senior leadership development program).
• The co-owner of the largest music studio on the Irish Loop (Witless Bay’s The Wright Music Studio).
• The former owner of Canada’s largest privately-owned Catamaran sailing school, with a 27-boat fleet.
• A member of the Our Lady Star of the Sea church choir.
• The organizer of the Witless Bay Halloween Wonderland Food Drive, featuring my award-winning costumes.
• A proud member of the Witless Bay Puffin & Petrel Patrol.
• Winner of “Best Costume” & “The Micheal Harrigan Memorial Award for Best Float” in Witless Bay’s Christmas Parade.
• A scholar with degrees in Canadian Studies (BA), Folklore (MA), Religious Studies (MA) & soon, in Anthropology (Ph.D.).
• Experienced in policy & governance, with thousands of hours of service on various committees; (author of:

To read about my priorities,click HERE


2012-2013  Action Canada Fellow (
A national public policy and senior leadership development program for promising young Canadians, the Action Canada program enhances Fellows’ leadership skills, broadens their understanding of Canada and its policy choices, and builds an exceptional network of leaders.

2007-Present  Ph.D. AnthropologyMemorial University of Newfoundland(in process) (St. John’s, NL)
Thesis: “Priest, Pilgrim, and the Sacrosanct: The Spiritual Guide and Francophone Canadian Pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
Supervisor: Dr. Mark Tate

2006-2008  M.A. Religious Studies Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John’s, NL)
Thesis: “The Body/ies of the Faithful: A Corporeal Ethnography of Canadians on a Roman Catholic Marian Pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Porter

2004-2006  M.A. Folklore Memorial University of Newfoundland  (St. John’s, NL)
Thesis: “Belief and Identity in the Production of Music in the Roman Catholic Liturgy: An Ethnographic Study of La Sainte Famille Parish Unity’s Youth Musical Ensemble, Shaïda.”
Supervisor: Dr. Diane Goldstein

1998-2002   B.A. Canadian Studies Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB)
Departmental Prize for Best Academic Performance
Graduated on the Dean’s List

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