By Terrence McEachern, Leader-Post January 31, 2013 6:04 PM
REGINA — David Bertschi wants to follow in the footsteps of Lester B. Pearson and lead the Liberal Party of Canada.
“I think he was one of the most successful Prime Ministers — parked his ego at the door,” said Bertschi, 53, one of nine candidates vying for the party’s leadership.
“He allowed people young and not so young to come into cabinet, come into the party (and) gave them responsibilities … That’s what liberalism is about. It’s about giving people the opportunity to shine and work as a team.”
Bertschi was in Regina on Thursday as part of his Canadian tour meeting with Liberal riding associations, supporters and businesses.
Born in Ste. Adèle, Que., the Ottawa-based lawyer agrees that after finishing third in the 2011 federal election, the Liberal Party needs to rebuild and lose its “head-office mentality.”
“You have to listen to people on the ground,” he said. “The Liberal Party has tried quick fixes too often. Now is the time — listen, respect — no more shoving policies in people’s faces and do what’s right.”
Bertschi notes that Saskatchewan is doing well, but there are areas that need to improve — mortgage rules and encourage investment in raw materials to compete globally.
“We have to manufacture, process and refine here,” he explained.
For Bertschi, winning the party’s leadership race is just one challenge — he also has to win a seat in his riding of Ottawa-Orleans. Bertschi finished second in the 2011 election — 3,837 votes behind Progressive Conservative MP Royal Galipeau, who has held the seat since 2006.
Also running for the party’s leadership are Martin Cauchon, Deborah Coyne, Marc Garneau, Martha Hall Findlay, Karen McCrimmon, Joyce Murray, George Takach and Justin Trudeau.
The party will chose its next leader on April 14 in Ottawa.
Trudeau was in the province earlier this week and received an endorsement as Liberal party leader from Wascana MP Ralph Goodale.