Ian Bursey sets sights on Ot­tawa

Bay Roberts na­tive run­ning for coun­cil seat

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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Bay Roberts na­tive Ian Bursey hears the same ques­tion ev­ery time he puts down a new cam­paign sign in the Ot­tawa ward of Bar­rhaven.

Vot­ers note the blue back­ground and ques­tion whether Bursey has ties to the Con­ser­va­tive party.

Bursey, an­swer.

“I pull out my phone and show them the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros,” he said.

The Bay Roberts high school was his school un­til he moved to On­tario in 1990.

A blue back­ground with gold trim in­di­cates Bursey is run­ning for coun­cil­lor in Ward 3 in Ot­tawa, Ont. He is chal­leng­ing in­cum­bent Jan Harder in the elec­tion on Oct. 27.

An au­to­mo­tive tech­ni­cian — he works in col­li­sion re­pair — Bursey has been hard on the cam­paign trail since nom­i­na­tions were called.

“Peo­ple should be in touch with their coun­cil,” he said. “I’m a very out­go­ing per­son and I’m a New­found­lan­der, so I’ve got the gift of gab.”

In his at­tempt at mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics, Bursey re­ceived ad­vice from another New­found­land politi­cian who spent time in Ot­tawa — John Ef­ford.

“He told me, ‘ get out there and knock on ev­ery door,’” said Bursey.

That’s what he has been do­ing, shak­ing hands and get­ting in touch with con­stituents.

And those colours on his signs; Bursey has some­thing else to say about them.

“I also tell them th­ese colours don’t run,” he said.

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Dif­fer­ences

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You can fig­ure out a cou­ple of things just from speak­ing with Bursey.

One, he traded in his New­found­land ac­cent for a main­land one and, two; he has not for­got­ten where he came from.

“I talk to my Bay Roberts friends all of the time,” said Bursey. “So­cial me­dia is great for that.”

He is a fre­quent vis­i­tor to the town’s Face­book page and the son of Gra­ham and Jean Bursey. His dad was an ac­tive mem­ber of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and his mother a mem­ber of the Sal­va­tion Army.

“I re­mem­ber (Deputy Mayor) Wal­ter Yet­man from grow­ing up in the Sal­va­tion Army,” said Bursey.

No po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence

Prior to en­ter­ing the Ot­tawa mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion race, Bursey had no po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. There were no at­tempts to run for stu­dent coun­cil at As­cen­sion or for Bay Roberts town coun­cil in his early years.

In fact, grow­ing up, Bursey was the far­thest thing from an as­pir­ing politi­cian. He had long hair and lis­tened to heavy metal mu­sic.

“If you ask any­one I grew up with, they’d say I was the class clown,” he said. “I was the big­gest nui­sance.”

But, there were times he paid at­ten­tion to what was go­ing on around him. He cites for­mer-mayor Wil­bur Sparkes as an in­spi­ra­tion for what he is do­ing now.

“I saw how a town was sup­posed to be run,” said Bursey.

The sub­urb of Bar­rhaven is, in many ways, sim­i­lar to Bursey’s home­town. Both are work­ing class com­mu­ni­ties where neigh­bours look out for each other.

But, there is one thing that sep- arates them. There is a dis­con­nect be­tween the elected of­fi­cials and the vot­ers, ac­cord­ing to Bursey.

“You need to earn peo­ple’s trust,” he said.

In Bay Roberts, peo­ple see their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives ev­ery day, and Bursey be­lieves that’s how a coun­cil­lor should be.

“I guess you could say I’m bring­ing small town pol­i­tics to the big city.”

Sub­mit­ted photo

Bay Roberts na­tive Ian Bursey is run­ning for coun­cil­lor in the Ot­tawa mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion

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