The News sent a questionnaire to all candidates in the three local ridings. Candidates were given strict word limits and instructed not to go over, lest their answers be cut off.
Name: Darryl Plecas
Occupation: Professor Emeritus, UFV
Notable past achievements/titles/jobs:
Where do you live? Abbotsford, with my wife of 40 years, and son (a 4th year UFV student).
What have you learned? I have learned that most issues we deal with are far more complicated than appear at first sight. I have also learned that complicating matters yet further is the reality that the average citizen rarely has all the facts they need to make the kind of informed decision they would normally make regarding any issue.
Tell us about yourself. I.E.: Where were you born, where did you go to school/college etc., what jobs did you have over the years? Born in New Westminster, I grew up in the Lower Mainland with four great siblings and wonderful parents. I also had a great introduction to the work world, getting experience in 30 very different jobs by the time I was 21 – including jobs as railway lineman, cement finisher, factory worker, farm worker, plywood mill worker, grocery store clerk, construction laborer, warehouse shipper, store detective, and recreation supervisor. Then I decided to go to university, earning a BA and MA from Simon Fraser University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of British Columbia. Later, I completed the Management Development Program in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Meanwhile, I got lucky. I started teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley where I stayed for 34 years – including having the opportunity to serve as the RCMP Senior University Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. Over my career, I loved doing a lot of research and writing, including being the author or co-author of more than 200 research reports, international journal articles, book chapters, other publications, addressing a broad range of public safety issues. As Professor Emeritus, and because I love it, I still research, write, give guest lectures, and supervise graduate students.
What would make you a good representative for your constituents?
I have spent my entire working life being deliberately non-partisan, examining and supporting issues in a very cautious and unbiased way – that’s a requirement of being a professor, and especially one whose focus is on researching public safety issues. I have tried to carry that mindset with me into my last four years as an MLA. In fact, my last co-authored book was about how government professionals need to look at issues and make decisions in an evidence-based way. The book was well received – it won the 2016 Professional Development Award from the Canadian Association of Municipalities.
I also think I bring a helpful attitude to the job. That is, I always think in terms of “getting to yes”, I am results-oriented, I say what I am really thinking, I push issues to the wall, and I genuinely care about wanting the best for people – especially people in need.
What are the three most important issues facing Abbotsford and how would you address them?
Tell us as surprising or unique story about yourself:
Because I spent the largest part of my working life as a professor, most people might assume that I liked school. In fact, I hated it so much I quit after two weeks of Grade 11 and never went back. I was out of my league anyway at that point because I failed Grade 10, and was only assigned to Grade 11 and had never read a textbook. However, back in those days you could attend university as a mature student, regardless of your high school experience. And something kept telling me I should try it. My first semester at… [word count exceeded]
Abbotsford is split into three ridings, all of which have changed a little since the last election. Click here for a map of the Abbotsford-Mission riding. Click here for a map of Abbotsford South. Click here for a map of Abbotsford West.