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Liberal hopeful on the ground

Federal Liberal leadership candidate David Bertschi (left) chats with Frank Berardinucci and Dustin Griffin (right), Okanagan Shuswap Federal Liberal Association president, during his stop in Vernon Monday at Bean to Cup. - Jennifer Smith/Morning Star
Federal Liberal leadership candidate David Bertschi (left) chats with Frank Berardinucci and Dustin Griffin (right), Okanagan Shuswap Federal Liberal Association president, during his stop in Vernon Monday at Bean to Cup.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Across the country, including a stop in Vernon Monday, a federal Liberal leadership candidate is waving the red flag.

David Bertschi met with a handful of local Liberals at Bean to Cup Monday afternoon, as part of his On The Ground tour.

“My main goal is re-building the Liberal party,” said 53-year-old Bertschi, co-founder of an Ottawa legal practice.

Along with promoting the Liberal banner, Bertschi is conversing with Canadians on six core issues: economic performance, social justice, smart government/intelligent politics, Canada in the world, Canada at home and Liberal Party 2.0.

When it comes to the economy, a topic on most Canadian’s minds, Bertschi says in many areas there is a lack of opportunities for skilled people.

“You’ve got all the skills but you can’t find a job.”

That’s a situation Vernon’s Kam Chander found himself in after a job he held for 15 years was terminated when the glass plant shut down in Lavington.

With nowhere else to take his skills (due to a lack of industry in the area), Chander took up a new opportunity and purchased the Bean to Cup coffee house.

But owning a company and working for someone else are two very different worlds and Chander says both federal and provincial government’s need to better assist small businesses.

“Cheaper loans would be great to help businesses,” said Chander.

The Liberal supporter also isn’t overly impressed with the region’s current MP, Colin Mayes, and would like to see more elected officials who are easy to access – like the Liberals.

“I’ve been to (Colin Mayes’) office many times and I don’t know what he looks like honestly,” said Chander.

The situation is quite opposite at MLA Eric Foster’s office, where Chander has met with the provincial representative on a number of occasions and shared his concerns.

But, he notes, “There’s only so much that a local MLA can do compared to your MP.”

Another topic of discussion during Bertschi’s Vernon visit was healthcare.

“We’ve got to do it better and faster,” said Bertschi, noting unacceptable time periods patients are enduring to finally be diagnosed properly and then the following wait to see the necessary specialists and/or receive the proper treatment.

Raised by a single mother, Bertschi is also a strong advocate of education and hard work, something he strives to pass down to the six children in his own blended home.

“I take my grandfather’s advice: it doesn’t matter what you do in life, make sure you leave this world a better place.”

Bertschi has long been involved in politics, but first ran in 2011 in Ottawa-Orleans. While he was unsuccessful, he still managed to increase the Liberal vote.

 

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