Candidate questionnaire: Jasleen Arora (NDP)

Abbotsford South NDP candidate Jasleen Arora answers questions about issues confronting locals

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: Jasleen Arora

Current occupation: Senior Inclusion Facilitator at STEPS Forward – BC’s Initiative for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education

Notable past achievements/titles/jobs:

– Master of Science in Leadership and Organizations with a concentration in Philanthropic Leadership, University of Denver

– Wrote an article with colleagues on overcoming the stigma of the developmental disability label for Transition Magazine, Fall 2014

– Extensive experience volunteering with Sikh youth and facilitating conversations around social justice issues

Where do you live? Burnaby

If you have run for office before, what have you learned? If you have not, why are you running now?

I have not run before. Under Christy Clark, people have been forgotten about and left behind. I felt compelled to run as inclusion and diversity are an important part of my life. I am proud to be part of the BCNDP team that is championing for all British Columbians.

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:

I was born in Vancouver. I grew up in North Delta with my parents and sister and moved to Burnaby when I was 14.

Born into a Sikh family, I was raised on the principles of selfless service and equality. Having these beliefs at the center of my childhood resulted in a passion to get involved in advocating for positive change.

I was a high school student at Sands Secondary when Christy Clark ripped up the teachers’ contracts in 2002. It felt like our public education system was under attack.

In Fall 2006 I began post-secondary education at Simon Fraser University. I completed a double major in Criminology and Psychology. I felt that our healthcare and justice systems were not best serving the people and wanted to understand what was working and most importantly, what wasn’t.

In 2016 I completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Denver where I learned important strategies to ensure non-profit organizations can survive and how as a leader you can make conscious decisions that can lift and impact not only the people that you serve but the internal members of the organization as well.

Why would you make a good representative for your constituents in the legislature?

I want to be elected as the Abbotsford South MLA because I want to work on behalf of all British Columbians.

My experiences around inclusion and equality have compelled me to run. I want to ensure that the BC Legislature is well represented and make a difference for the people who have been left behind.

I see the negative impacts that Christy Clark’s choices have made on the people of Abbotsford South. She’s neglected affordability, health care, education and public safety and British Columbians are left paying the price.

I am proud to be part of a team that will look out for all British Columbians. John Horgan and the BC NDP have a platform and a plan that will allow the people of Abbotsford South to have their voices heard and will actively address the issues that matter to them the most.

What are the three most important issues facing Abbotsford and how would you address them?

1. Schools – Every student accesses their education in a different way. Some need more in-class support, and some need more activity. Christy Clark started a war on public education when she ripped up government contracts with teachers, took away classroom support, closed down schools, and increased financial pressure on schools and families. Parents shouldn’t have to hold fundraisers to fund school supplies and playgrounds, but Christy Clark’s choices made this a reality in Abbotsford. A John Horgan BC NDP government will revitalize our public school system to ensure kids have the supplies they need, and create an ongoing capital fund for school playgrounds. All students deserve to feel supported in their schools and a BC NDP will work with districts and teachers to ensure that every student gets the support they need.

2. Seniors Care – Families are struggling to take care of senior family members, and are struggling to find home care support that they can count on. I am proud to stand with John Horgan and the BC NDP’s commitment to increase the length of home support visits and expand the scope of services provided so that seniors can stay in their home, and families can rely on dedicated care.

3. Healthcare – Families are waiting too long in emergency rooms and our healthcare providers aren’t getting the support they need to provide the care they are capable of. The BC NDP will reduce pressure on emergency rooms by establishing Urgent Family Care Centres which ensure that visits to the emergency room are decreased, and everyone gets the care they need, faster.

Tell us a surprising or unique story about yourself:

I was travelling in Florida with a friend and our bus had taken off and left us stranded without any of our luggage.

The next thing we knew, we’d made friends with a senior citizen who shared her food with us. We also made friends with a mother and her toddler, who then trusted us to care for her child while she went shopping.

We were quickly accepted and embraced by this small community at a gas station.

This experience was enlightening to say the least. I felt humbled by the generosity and support that the community gave us.

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.