The AbbotsfordFIRST slate will be announcing their candidates for the upcoming 2022 municipal election on Wednesday (Aug. 24) at 5:30 p.m.
The official campaign launch occurs at the event area behind Nature’s Pickins, which is located at 1356 Sumas Way.
The AbbotsfordFIRST website indicates that Couns. Sandy Blue and Kelly Chahal are currently members of the slate. The AbbotsfordFIRST board of directors includes: Marion Keys (president), Menno Froese (vice-president) and Paul Penner (treasurer).
Board directors include: Blue, Chahal, Navita Ark, Linda Lee, Christina Toth, Vijay Lanji, Mia Skoone-Gill, Gurnoor Sidhu and Mark Warkentin. Special advisors consist of Jessica Levesque and Andriana Lanji.
AbbotsfordFIRST originally formed in 2014 and fielded five candidates in that election: Blue, Chahal, Ross Siemens, Brenda Falk and Vince DiManno. Four of the five earned seats, with DiManno failing to win a seat.
— Abbotsford First (@abbotsfordfirst) October 28, 2014
The 2018 election saw Blue, Chahal, Siemens and Falk all return, with Dave Sidhu added as the new fifth member. Sidhu was the lone member who was unable to earn a seat.
This October 20, vote for Positive Change! Vote Team AbbotsfordFIRST!
— Abbotsford First (@abbotsfordfirst) September 15, 2018
On May 21, 2021 Falk announced that she had resigned from her position with AbbotsfordFIRST. The resignation came a few days after she shared a meme of German student and anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl. The image included text stating, “Since all this started, I have barely worn a swastika at all. Only when I have to, to shop, work, or make others more comfortable.”
The post sparked anger online, with many believing that she was using the message as a way to compare today’s current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany. Others supported her for speaking out “in defence of freedom.”
Siemens announced he is running for mayor on June 27 and stated he is no longer a member of the slate as they do not run a mayoral candidate.
Sidhu also stepped away from the slate when he ran in the Sept. 25, 2021 byelection to fill Bruce Banman’s vacant seat. Sidhu ended up winning that byelection. His announcement that he is seeking re-election this year did not indicate that he will be returning to the slate.
According to the slate’s website, AbbotsfordFIRST’s four cornerstones include: “vibrant economy, complete community, fiscal discipline and organizational alignment.”
The 2022 municipal election is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2022.