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February 24, 2010

Bertschi carries Liberal banner in Ottawa

The Canadian Charger

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David Bertschi is the Liberal candidate in the federal riding of Ottawa-Orléans, running against the Tory incumbent Royal Galipeau.

Upon Bertschi’s successful nomination campaign against two better known Liberals, a city councilor and a former head of the local Chamber of Commerce, Galipeau extended his congratulations and, ironically, urged him to use his influence on Michael Ignatieff to make Parliament work. 

The urging was after the booklet issued to all Conservative MP’s on how to disrupt Parliamentary committee meetings and before the prorogation.  So who should be urging whom to make Parliament work?

Bertschi is a lawyer practicing litigation for over 20 years in business- and employment-related areas.  

He holds a B.A. from Carleton University and an LL.B. from the University of Windsor.  He has taught business students at Carleton and served as a prosecutor for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. 

Bertschi is also an accredited mediator, engaged in mediation and arbitration.  He practices both in Canada and internationally.

He finds the current prorogation of Parliament to be unacceptable.  It wastes precious time and undermines democracy, he said.  Parliament is, he argued, the arena in which the government is held accountable and it should not be shut down, with its legislative agenda pushed back to start. 

When asked about his strategy for the next election, Bertschi spoke of being open and accessible.  He meets with the electorate in his constituency, going door to door.  He does a lot of listening.  He described the strategy of the Liberal Party in similar terms: listening, responding, and earning trust. 

Bertschi had critical words for Royal Galipeau, the incumbent MP, whom he described as a man constantly seeking a photo op.  “He goes to day care centres but he does nothing to improve day care locally or nationally.”  Immigration also provides photo ops, “but what is he doing to address the terrible wait times for applicants at the office in Nairobi, the sole immigration office in Africa?”  “Style versus substance,” Bertschi charged.

His concerns with the performance of the Conservatives were in large measure concerns about what his Conservative opponent has or has not done for the riding.  Thus, he is appalled that Galipeau did not get a reasonable amount of infrastructure money for the riding.  Similarly, he pointed to inaction in getting more mass transit. 

Bertschi also took issue with his Conservative opponent for failing to stand up for public servants.  He spoke of Harper laying the blame on “the hard-working public servants” for visa bottlenecks following the imposition of the visa requirements for Mexicans.  As well there were more direct attacks on loyal government employees. 

Richard Colvin comes to mind.  He complained as well that, in spite of a lot of federally owned land in the riding there is a lack of government installations there.  As a result, government employees have far to travel to work.  That means unnecessary travel, environmental degradation, and loss of time that could be spent with family. 

On a national level, Bertschi’s campaign literature calls for job creation, protection of pensions in case of business bankruptcy, improved retirement savings, and reduction of greenhouse gases.  The details of how these things are to be achieved are not spelled out.

When asked whether, in the event of another Conservative plurality after the next election, he might support the idea of a coalition, Bertschi replied that the key is what would be best for Canada.  As for him, he was prepared to consider all options.  In the meantime, there are lots of doors to knock on.

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M. Elmasry

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