By Marianne Curtis
With municipal elections around the corner the eyes of the southeast are focused on one of the most controversial municipalities in the province. In recently months, the RM of La Broquerie has been subjected to numerous ombudsman investigations, RCMP investigations and public scrutiny. This is not making it easy for candidates when they are knocking on doors and making contact with voters.
Councilor Jean Gagnon is challenging his counterpart, current reeve Marielle Wiebe for the seat at the head of the municipal table. He hopes to straighten things out and bring pride back to a municipality that has been brought to its knees.
“There are a number of things that I would like to do when elected reeve,” stated Gagnon. “One of them is cleaning up the issues that have surfaced recently and correcting the mistakes that have been made.”
Gagnon could be accused of being part of the problem because he has been a councilor in the municipality for over twenty-years. However, he is confident that while he has been silent in the past, he is no longer afraid to speak out.
“I have obviously been saying something I shouldn’t have otherwise council would not be trying to keep me quiet,” he added, referring to a resolution of council to censure him two months ago. The resolution was made after he allegedly informed the ombudsman that council was not being honest in their responses to the numerous investigations.
Gagnon is not the only one that is fighting for unity, transparency and accountability in the RM of La Broquerie. Former councilor Cornie Goertzen is making another attempt to return to the table after a four year hiatus.
“Council has not always been united over the past four years and it is time for councilors to get back onto the same page,” stated Goertzen. “Municipal employees are afraid to open their mouths or they will lose their jobs and that needs to stop.”
Ward 1 candidate Joseph Giesbrecht is new to the municipal field, however he is not afraid to help straighten things out even if it means taking on two incumbent councilors in the middle of the chaos, namely Ron Hamilton and Ed Oswald.
“I can’t sit by and watch the municipality that my family now calls home fall apart,” noted Giesbrecht. “It is frustrating as a ratepayer to have questions and not get answers – we need an open government and I am prepared to be a part of it.”
Former reeve Ken Mantie agrees and he is seeking election as councilor in Ward 2.
“Whatever council is elected they are going to have a lot of cleanup to do,” stated Mantie. “There is a lot of work to be done.”
Voters in the RM of La Broquerie have a long list of candidates to choose from when they head to the polls. There are eight candidates running for three seats in Ward 1 including Blaine Pasichnyk, Cornie Goertzen, Joseph Giesbrecht, John Stinson, Romanda Martens, Edwood Oswald, Darrell Unger and Ron Hamilton. In Ward 2, seven candidates including Ken Mantie, Ken Tallaire, John Unrau, Claude N. Moquin, Wilfred Chabot, Richard Turenne and Ron Vielfaure are competing for three seats.
Photos by Marianne Curtis
This election signs in La Broquerie make it very clear what ratepayers will be looking for when they elect a new council on October 27.