Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, Jan. 10


Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




(Posted 7:30 a.m., Dec. 7)
Local Liberals crown federal nominee during emotionally-charged meeting
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Retired Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie will be carrying the Liberal colours during the next federal election after being acclaimed on Saturday. File photo

It's official, retired Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie has been handed the task of trying to unseat Conservative incumbent Royal Galipeau in the next federal election.

Leslie was acclaimed during a raucous Liberal nomination meeting at the Rendez-vous des aines seniors centre on Saturday that at times threatened to get out of hand.

The room was filled to over capacity before the meeting even began and the Ottawa Fire Department had to be called in to ensure no one else entered the building. As a result about 20 Liberal party members were prevented from getting inside.

Until three weeks ago the Liberal nomination was a hotly contested battle between Leslie and Orléans lawyer David Bertschi who ran against Galipeau in 2010 and was hoping to get a second shot at the Conservative incumbent.

Those hopes were dashed, however, when Liberal party national campaign co-chairs, Katie Telford and Dan Gagnier, revoked his candidacy for failing to pay off the debt he incurred during his failed bid for the party's leadership. Their decision was upheld by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau after Bertschi submitted an appeal to be reinstated last week.

Not surprisingly, Bertschi's supporters are livid over their candidate being disqualified for what they believe is little more than a convenient excuse to pave the way for Leslie's acclamation. Those feelings came to a boiling point at the nomination meeting.

The meeting had barely been called to order when a scuffle broke out between a member protesting the lack of a democratic process and another individual who took exception to the man demonstrating his displeasure by holding the Canadian flag upside down.

The altercation was quickly broken up by a police officer who was at the meeting in case matters got out of hand. Although the scuffle was little more than a shoving match it set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Both the moderator and Leslie were interrupted by pro-Bertschi hecklers. One member tore her membership card in half and threw it on the stage. Others vowed to never make another donation to the Liberal party or volunteer during the next election campaign, while still others said they were seriously considering voting against Leslie.

During his speech the newly-acclaimed candidate did his best to extend an olive branch to the dissenters both inside and outside the room.

“I understand that emotions are running high,” he said. “I extend a hand of friendship to every citizen of Orléans, especially to all members of the Liberal family.”

During Leslie's speech, the man at the centre of the controversy listened attentively from the side of the room.

After the meeting, Bertschi continued to express his disappointment in the Liberal party's decision.

“This is not the Liberal party I have been part of my whole life and I’m disappointed,” said Bertschi. “I'm disappointed for the volunteers and residents of Orléans who had their democratic right to chose their candidate taken away from them."

As for what's next for the Orléans lawyer, Bertschi said he plans to take his first vacation in five years and consider his options.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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