business pages

NNSL Photo/Graphic


Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Politics in the blood for Peter Martselos
Former Fort Smith Mayor in the running to become Thebacha MLA

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 5, 2011

Peter Martselos - a former mayor of Fort Smith - will be trying for a second time to become MLA for Thebacha.

NNSL photo/graphic

Peter Martselos: former Fort Smith mayor in running to become MLA for Thebacha. - NNSL file photo

Martselos has confirmed that he will be running in October's territorial election, something that has long been rumoured in Fort Smith.

"I decided to run because I want to serve all the citizens of Fort Smith to the best of my ability," he said.

Martselos said he has also been encouraged to run by many residents.

"It is an honour and a privilege when citizens of Fort Smith ask me to run for MLA for Thebacha," he said.

It was not a difficult decision with that encouragement and his past political experience.

"To me, it was an easy decision because I'm in politics most of my life and I guess politics is in the blood," Martselos noted, adding he also missed working for the people.

"When you're so long in politics, you're always thinking about the people because the people mean everything to me," he said.

Martselos was mayor of Fort Smith for 12 years up to 2009 when he decided not to seek re-election. Before that, he served on town council for another dozen years.

Martselos said his experience in local government will help him if elected Thebacha MLA.

"It's very, very much helping when you have the municipal experience and dealing for so many years with many government agencies," he said.

Martselos doesn't think a controversy that arose late in his time as mayor - large payments made by the town over a number of years to former senior administrative officer (SAO) Roy Scott - will be an issue in the territorial election.

"It's not going to be a factor at all, because nothing was done wrong," Martselos said, adding he's running at the territorial level, not in a municipal election.

The former mayor said the matter has been through a forensic audit, the current council received a report and there was nothing to indicate anything went wrong.

"So I don't see how it's going to be an issue," he said.

The audit was launched in mid-2009 when Martselos was still mayor, but its report was received in April 2010 when he was no longer in that position.

The audit's detailed findings were never publicly released after being deemed confidential, but recommendations were made public.

Scott was suspended in March 2009 and dismissed a couple of months later after 16 years as the town's SAO.

In the territorial election of 2007, Martselos came in a strong second to current Thebacha MLA and cabinet minister Michael Miltenberger in a three-person field. Miltenberger collected 531 votes, while Martselos tallied 444.

Miltenberger is seeking re-election.

Martselos declined to provide details on his campaign platform, noting that will be developed in the coming days.

The native of Greece has lived in Fort Smith for 42 years and is the husband of Frieda Martselos, the outgoing chief of Salt River First Nation.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.