Claude Berthiaume to retire as Sudbury city councillor

The exit of the councillor for Chelmsford and Onaping Falls leaves at least four empty council seats up for grabs in this October's election.
Ward 3 Greater Sudbury city councillor Claude Berthiaume outside his Chelmsford home. After 10 years on council, he has decided not to run again this October. (Erik White/CBC)

There will be at least four new faces around the Sudbury city council table next term. 

The latest empty seat is that of Ward 3 city councillor Claude Berthiaume, who will retire after a decade in municipal politics.

Claude Berthiaume first ran for city council in 2004 with the aim of breaking up the City of Greater Sudbury. He had recently retired in 2002, after 29 years as a probation officer.

Representing Chelsmford, Dowling, Onaping and Levack, he pushed for a referendum on breaking up the newly amalgamated city.

But Berthiaume said things have improved since then.

He said the Constellation City report was a good example of this progress. The report, authored by former MPP Floyd Laughren in 2007, addressed how to serve all parts of the Sudbury region.

But Berthiaume also listed several specific victories from his ward, including the decision to keep the arenas in Chelmsford and Levack open, as well as the new $18 million water system in Onaping and Levack.

"There may be some feelings out there about ... 'de-amalgamation'," said Berthiaume. "But overall, I feel that we got our fair share."

'Accomplished my goals'

Berthiaume said he has few regrets from his time on council.

Ward 3 Greater Sudbury city councillor Claude Berthiaume first entered politics with the goal of fighting amalgamation. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

He took a lot of heat from the public last year for tabling the motion that ousted Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin as the city's closed meeting investigator.

But Berthiaume said he still feels that was the right decision.

He said he does regret some of his early days on city council, when he didn't see a need to work closely with staff or his council colleagues. 

"If you want certain things in your ward, you have to work with other councillors," said Berthiaume. "You can't do it by yourself."

The 64-year-old said he's  "accomplished my goals" during his decade on council, but does fear it could all be undone by a new city council.

"The platforms of certain people ... worries me, but I think that all people who are running are doing so because they want the best for the city," said Berthiaume.

With his exit, that means at least four seats will be up for grabs this October.

Ron Dupuis from Ward 6 running for mayor and interim councillors now filling vacant seats in Ward 1 and Ward 8.

Ward 10 city councillor Frances Caldarelli said she hasn't decided if she'll run again.

Veteran Ward 9 city councillor Doug Craig couldn't be reached for comment. But several of the eight candidates running for that seat in October say they have the understanding that he is retiring.


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