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Secrets of the Gods: Former city councillor Claude Berthiaume pens his memoirs

Former Ward 3 councillor lets readers peer behind the curtain and touches on some of council's scandals during his 11 years as a municipal politician — sorry, Anglophones, this one's in French
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Former Greater Sudbury city councillor Claude Berthiaume has written a French-language, self-published book called “Dans le secret des dieux: Mémoires de ma vie politique.” (Arron Pickard/Sudbury.com)

A former Greater Sudbury city councillor has written his personal and political memoirs.

Claude Berthiaume, who served as the Greater Sudbury city councillor for Ward 3 from 2003 to 2014, has written a French-language, self-published book entitled “Dans le secret des dieux: Mémoires de ma vie politique.”

Roughly translated as "The secrets of the Gods: Memories of my political life," Berthiaume said he's making a reference to revealing the inside scoop of what goes on in city council.

“As a boy, I always wondered about my grandparents and what they did and that type of thing,” Berthiaume said. “So for my own grandchildren, I thought it would be great for them to have something to read about their grandfather. I have four granddaughters.

“That was one thing. The other thing, too, was I felt I needed to clarify some of the issues I'd dealt with (on city council) in 11 years.”

Berthiaume, a retired probation officer who represented the Rayside-Balfour area under three different mayors, said he dedicated the book to his father, Roger Berthiaume.

Besides some of his personal and family history, Berthiaume said the book talks about the major issues he dealt with as a city councillor.

During his early days on council, Berthiaume put forward a motion to hold a plebiscite on de-amalgamating the City of Greater Sudbury.

He was responding to the discontent in outlying areas of the city after amalgamation, which had happened just a few years before.

Berthiaume didn't get the support he needed on council, and former Nickel Belt MPP Floyd Laughren was commissioned to write a report on making the amalgamated city work better.

Other issues he touches on in his book are the Elton John controversy, the at-times dysfunctional nature of council, the firing of Ontario Ombudsman André Marin as the city's closed-door meetings investigator and the push to four-lane MR 35 (something that's finally going to happen).

Asked if he enjoyed his time as a city councillor, Berthiaume said that overall, he did. 

“It was challenging and it was interesting, but at the end there, I had enough,” he said. “The last term was kind of rough.”

Berthiaume is holding a book launch Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. at Club 50 in Chelmsford. 

“Buy the book for your spouse for Valentine's Day instead of chocolate or flowers,” he said, laughing.

If you can't make it out to the book launch and you'd like a copy of the book, you can purchase it for $25 by contacting Berthiaume. Email berthias@vianet.ca or phone 705-919-4419.



Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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