Candidate questionnaire: Preet Rai (NDP)

Abbotsford West NDP candidate Preet Rai answers questions about the biggest 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: Preet Rai

BC NDP Candidate – Abbotsford West

Current occupation:

Abbotsford Board of Education School Board Trustee (8+ years)

Accountant with BC Government (19 years)

Notable past achievements/titles/jobs:

Abbotsford Board of Education School board trustee (8+ years)

Have been on the 100 most influential peoples list in Abbotsford.

Have worked on three different continents, Asia, Europe and North America, in business and government organizations, so I have a global prospective

Where do you live?

Abbotsford/Blue Jay area

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

Running for office is hard work but is both a privilege and an honor. It requires a committed team of dedicated volunteers who are willing to freely give their time. I have learned that listening to voters’ concerns motivates me to do my best for our community.

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 Chandigarh, India. Because my dad was in the army, we were stationed in a number of cities around India and went to a number of schools around India. I have a B. Com with Hon’s in Accounting and am a Chartered Accountant from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. I have practiced as Chartered Accountant in India, worked for a non-profit in Glasgow, Scotland and worked for an accounting firm in Chilliwack. I have been with the BC government since 1997.

After my family moved to Canada from Scotland, we were embraced by the community and wanted to give back. That was when we became involved in PACs and school-related initiatives. From there, I decided to run for school trustee in Abbotsford so I could advocate for the youth in the community. Being on the school board and seeing how funding cuts affected schools and our students made me want to get involved so I could make a change.

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

As a school trustee, I have experience in listening to the concerns of the people of Abbotsford and taking action to help them. This has also helped me become familiar with governance and Strategic planning. Working with the BC government as a professional accountant, I am highly experienced in handling complex financial matters, and consider fiscal management one of my strengths. I have also participated in more than a dozen community organizations.

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

1. Healthcare mismanagement: Wait times for urgent care are increasing and many patients can’t access the medical care they need. By decreasing costs through efficiencies and putting recovered money into direct patient care and services, we will ensure the people of Abbotsford can get the vital treatment they need. I will also fight to relieve the pressure on emergency rooms, reduce wait times, and lower the burden on our healthcare professionals by ensuring hospitals have adequate funding. Adding funding to areas such as seniors’ care, mental health, and addiction issues will further reduce the strain on Abbotsford’s hospital.

2. Bridge Tolls: Tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges unfairly target the people who rely on those bridges for their daily commute. The tolls increase the cost of going to work for people who cannot afford it to spend even more money. Eliminating tolls on those bridges will make the commute more affordable while the money lost from the tolls will be recovered from Christy Clark’s LNG Fantasy Fund.

3. Rate increases: Increases in rates at BC Hydro and ICBC put the people of Abbotsford under a financial strain by an additional $1000 in last few years thanks to Christy Clark and the BC Liberals. I will fight to freeze Hydro rates while a review of crown corporations is undertaken, and stop the 42 percent increase at ICBC. This will put money back in the pockets of the hard-working people of BC.

Tell us a surprising or unique story about yourself:

In July 2016, I was travelling in Europe and missed the coup in Istanbul, Turkey by a few hours. It helped me realize how privileged we are to live in a safe and caring community and country. However, locally the recent gang violence and shootings are a huge concern. I am committed to working with local agencies to find a solution.

I have lived and worked in India, Scotland, and Canada. As a result, I have a global perspective and a commitment to local and regional issues.

I am also the tallest candidate and have the shortest last name – Rai

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.