Disgraced B.C. politician campaigning for mayor
A disgraced B.C. MLA caught writing flattering letters about himself to a local newspaper under bogus names is vying for office once more.
Paul Reitsma won a seat with the BC Liberal Party in 1996, but resigned two years later in the face of a massive recall campaign spurred by the scandal.
He's now seeking redemption, hoping to regain a different political seat he once held: mayor of Parksville, a small Vancouver Island community located just north of Nanaimo.
"I've made my mistakes, but at some point you stop beating yourself up and move forward," Reitsma told CTV News. "When you learn from your mistakes, like everyone else does, one is often given a second chance."
After he kept a low profile for 13 years, some in the community say they're willing to forgive him his past sins – but others say they can't forget.
"I don't think he'll make it," one local said, "but he's got guts for trying."
Reitsma is believed to be in a neck-and-neck fight with acting Mayor Chris Burger, who says he's counting on voters to punish the former MLA for his ethical wrongdoing.
‘We have a sophisticated electorate," Burger said. "I've never been dishonest, I've never lied to anybody. I've never done anything that is typical of what you sometimes hear about politicians and I'm very proud of that."
But Reitsma says he's owned up to his bad behaviour, and hopes he will be forgiven.
"It was my ego," he said. "It was my wanting to be successful at any cost."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty