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AbbotsfordFIRST selects four candidates as ideal councillors

Electors society chooses to campaign for two incumbents, two newcomers
(Clockwise from top left) Gurnoor Sidhu Kelly Chahal, Sandy Blue and Mark Warkentin have been chosen by AbbotsfordFIRST as the best candidates for Abbotsford city council in the upcoming municipal election. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Four candidates have been chosen by the AbbotsfordFIRST Electors Society as people who they believe would make “exceptional city councillors.”

They’ve chosen two current councillors, Kelly Chahal and Sandy Blue, along with newcomers to politics, Mark Warkentin and Gurnoor Sidhu. The society, while not involved in governing, is dedicated to endorsing and campaigning for their selected candidates.

They kicked off their campaign season for the Oct. 15 municipal election on Wednesday evening at Nature’s Pickin’s Market on Sumas Way.

“We’re thrilled to introduce our candidates for this year’s municipal election,” said Marion Keys, president of AbbotsfordFIRST. “They each bring a unique perspective and diverse backgrounds. We believe in the strength of team and the power of legacy and renewal.”

She added that over their past two terms on council, Chahal and Blue “have been a driving force behind the development and implementation of the city’s strategic plans,” while Warkentin and Sidhu “bring fresh new ideas to the team.”

Mark Warkentin is a founding partner of Linley Welwood, where he serves as a managing partner and practises real estate, business, and corporate law. He is a past president of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, and for the past six years was the city’s appointee to the Abbotsford Police Board.

Warkentin’s grandparents farmed in Abbotsford and Aldergrove, and his two children graduated from W.J. Mouat, followed by university.

“With these deep roots, he and his wife Brenda are passionate about making Abbotsford a great place to live and work,” Keys said.

Gurnoor Sidhu is also active in the community. She is doing her practicum with the Ministry of Justice and is a part of the West Abbotsford Youth Action Group with the Abbotsford Police Department’s core committee.

Sidhu is a provincial gold medalist in taekwondo, participated in the Canada Comeback Challenge, was a Loran Scholar nominee, was selected for the 2022 Student Leadership Symposium, and was a part of the prestigious Historica Canada’s Encounters with Canada. She studied at the University of the Fraser Valley, and has a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and sociology, a liberal arts diploma, and a professional communication essentials associate certificate, and a media literacy associate certificate with the honour of being on the Dean’s List.

Kelly Chahal was first elected to council in 2014 and is a director for the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). She has been a community activist for more than 30 years and has been involved in many social justice projects. Chahal is currently completing her doctor of social sciences, investigating factors that contribute to and mitigate involvement in the criminal justice system, fairness, equity, and cultural diversity.

She is a member of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee at UFV, and also received the Top 40 Alumni designation. She has worked in criminal justice for 23 years. Having raised her son and daughter in Abbotsford, she now enjoys her time with her three grandsons.

Sandy Blue was also first elected to council in 2014 and is a director on the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). She is vice president of the Abbotsford Police Foundation and serves on the Dairy Innovation Association. She holds international accreditation in both Economic Development (IEDC) and Business Communications (IABC), and is an accredited member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

READ MORE: Real estate agent and pastor announces intent to run for Abbotsford council seat


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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