By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Mayor Lloyd Bertschi announced Tuesday he was throwing his hat into the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC Association race. The four-term mayor is hoping to receive the nod from the PC association when they vote Jan. 28 to replace long-serving MLA Ken Kowalski who announced Dec. 9 that he would not seek re-election when the election is called this spring.
“I just think there is so much opportunity in front of this province right now,” Bertschi said of his motivation to seek the PC nod, adding in his past role as Alberta Urban Municipalities Association [AUMA] president whenever he had the opportunity to meet with ministers he felt their commitment to the province was unbelievable. “While we may have disagreed on the approach, the commitment was strong, and I would like to join the team and help move the province forward.”
Bertschi believes he has the experience and track record to do just that. “Having been in Alberta for the entire 50 years of my existence, I think I have a really good understanding of the province, and look forward to working with the government to do the best we can,” he said, adding he feels there is considerable opportunity in Alberta. “I do have a good reputation for fiscal responsibility, and that is something the province is facing right now. Although in my view it’s largely because of the capital works going on. But we certainly need to have fiscal responsibility and I bring that to the table.”
But while confident he will serve the constituency well, Bertschi accepts he has some big shoes to fill in following in the footsteps of long-serving MLA Ken Kowalski. “The one thing I clearly saw with Ken, and one of the reasons for his longevity, is the work he did in the constituency,” Bertschi said. “The number of events and things he would show up at was just phenomenal, particularly when you take a look at a riding that’s twice the size of Prince Edward Island.” The mayor went on to praise the work Kowalski did in representing and acquiring provincial funding for the constituency.
Bertschi to continue to serve as mayor
The mayor said he will continue to serve as Morinville mayor during his bid for the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC candidacy and beyond. “There’s no requirement to step down or resign or take a leave of absence during the nomination process,” the mayor said, adding with the vote taking place Jan. 28, it is really only a three-week campaign. “I can’t see there being any impact whatsoever.”
Bertschi explained should he be selected as the constituency’s candidate for the next provincial election there is still no requirement to step down until the election writ is dropped. “Once the writ is dropped by the premier, then you are required to take a leave of absence for the duration,” Bertschi said, adding who would take over at that point would have to be determined. “There’s a couple ways and we’ll have to have that discussion with council. You can have the Deputy Mayor do that or you can appoint an acting mayor.”
Until the writ is dropped, Bertschi is confident he can wear the two hats, something he has done before when serving concurrently as Morinville mayor and as AUMA president. Bertschi said the role of mayor is a part time position and that over the years he has held various positions and employment alongside serving as mayor. “I’ve been able to very clearly integrate the time required to be the mayor as well as the different jobs and careers that I’ve had over that decade,” he said, adding he has been able to make it all work out. “Probably the best example is when I was president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. In that particular role the membership is as diverse as Edmonton and Calgary all the way down to some of the summer villages such as Sandy Beach. I was able to do all of that work. It took me across the province and away from town quite often. I was able to make sure I did that work around the council meetings.” The mayor explained although the dual role caused him to miss a few council meetings, there were not many he missed. Additionally, Bertschi was actively involved in the Capital Region Board during the time he served as AUMA president and mayor. “I was able to integrate those three positions all at one time and did a very, very credible job in my opinion, and others would tell you the same,” he said.
Bertschi said with his family grown and out of his home, he feels he has the time to commit to serving the constituency. He is one of five candidates in the race for the PC candidacy for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock. The other candidates are Tim Schultz, Maureen Kubinec, Bert Seatter and David Truckey.
I am very pleased with this announcement. Lloyd is an extremely dedicated and loyal politician and has served Morinville and surrounding area with vigor. He is always visible and approachable and truly cares, anyone that knows him knows that this is true. What he brings to the table with this endevour will be the same, very dedicated to his contituents. There is no doubt he has large shoes to fill but I have no doubt he will do this with ease. I wish him a positive outcome and would gladly contribute my time for his campaign.
Well Mr. Bertschi,
While I support anyone in their bid to further themselves, particularly in matters of public service I do have one burning question which would help me decide whether or not to support you with my ballot.
Can I expect the same level of non-representation from you as my MLA as I received from you as my Mayor?
There is an article on this very website from some months ago where you noted that the education of children in your town was not of your concern, but that of someone else. Three of the councilors disagreed and tried to at minimum start a dialogue on the matter. You were among the group that voted them down and silenced the matter.
The Mayor of a town who says the education of children of that town is none of his business.
Our most valuable resource as many politicians say.
My most valued accomplishment in life.
None of your business.
Please explain to me, as a constituent why I should be supporting you in your desired future of expanded public service, and not encouraging the three councilors who at least tried to be a voice for our most valuable resource to run for the PC MLA position?
I certainly hope all three run for Mayor.
Political cowardice does not deserve increased responsibility, particularly where it leaves children dangling in the turmoil.
While I certainly don’t agree with some of Mr. Bertschi’s decisions and opinions, there is absolutely no denying that he is a hard-working, experienced, and down-to-earth politician.
If he takes that character, mentality, and work ethic to the provincial level, I’m very sure he will be an excellent representative. Sure, he’ll still have some decisions that will make me grit my teeth, but there’s no doubt that he will always be doing what he feels will be in the best interest of his constituents. This riding would do very well by electing someone like Lloyd as a representative.
Congratulations Mr. Bertschi, I hope you do well.
Hope Mr. Burtschi is ready to take a position on the School Board Issue. You have now entered an arena where you cannot duck the issue, and you must get involved.
In light of comments Mr. Bertschi has made in the past I cannot see him ignoring the issue. I agree with him that it is not an issue the town is equipped to deal with it. I’m sure every single person on council has had an opinion this entire time. Sadly, it’s an issue that must be resolved at the provincial level. Lloyd will, I’m sure, address the issue if he makes it in. He won’t have much choice nor do I think he’d shirk that responsibility if he’s in a position to do something.
I applaud your decision to run for our PC rep in this area. But your track record during the past two terms as our mayor make me very nervous if you are in it to serve the people or just further your political ambitions.
We have had so many of our top people of our administration either quit or get fired with no explanation at all. Your election campain during this past term placed high emphisis on economic development and we have had no movement in this area at all. What we do have is new chistmas lights and a new town office. We have had to pay out more COAs than ever before because your council wasn’t satisfied with them. The citisens get no response other than we know what’s best for the people. We have been strung along so much on our “odor” problem it is becoming the town joke.
I do wish you well in your future campains. You served our town to the best of your ability. Some questions that we need to have answered now is can you serve the people of Alberta. Our childrens future is at stake with the decisions you will be making. The very economic base of the entire country rests in our great province. Can you make decisions for the people by the will of the people or will you vote on party lines. This is a question each and every person has to ask themselves before we can honestly vote for you.
I don’t know which way I will vote. But I will take the time to check out a few things that our council has been quiet on. Did our council contribute to the PC Party. Did we contribute to Kens Annual golf tournamet. Did our council use tax dollars and if so, how much? If things like this occured during your term as leader of our comunity then I have to wonder if you are dedicated to the people or to the party. I want a rep for our area that understands the problems of our area and will stand up and say “The people want it done this way”. I want a person that will listen to us and not give us party lines or be a puppet to further thier own ambitions.
Are you the person for us? I will be honest, you make me nervous.