Council profiles

City of Abbotsford: Personal bios for council candidates in Abbotsford - Council

  • Nov. 7, 2014 3:00 p.m.


*denotes incumbent


Daniel (Dan) Bue

Education: BA (sociology & economics, MA (counselling)


Clinical Counsellor, Part-time Professor, Former business owner

Residency:  Abbotsford

Community involvement: Director of MEI, Co-chair of Christian Leaders’ Action Team, Co-chair of Sikh / Christian Initiative, Past director of Abbotsford Downtown Business Assoc’n, Past director of Alpha Family Services, 5 years on the leadership team of The Life Centre

Key issues:


Protecting our environment, which relates to transportation issues

Job creation


Sandy Blue

Party affiliation: AbbotsfordFirst

Education: Management Certificate – Administrative Management (BCIT); Ec.D (University of Waterloo);

CEcD (International Economic Development Council)

Occupation: Manager Strategic Economic Initiatives, City of Maple Ridge

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Commissioner – Abbotsford Police Board; vice-president – Abbotsford Police Foundation

Key issues:

Creating a business friendly approach to assist existing business and attract much investment

Leveraging the many assets of Abbotsford to the benefit of current and future generations

Establish / strengthen relationships with senior government, industry, business and post-secondary to develop practical solutions to priority issues.


Rick Barkwell

Education: College, industry related

Occupation: Financial Advisor, Raymond James

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Abbotsford-Sumas Rotary, AMHA, Campus of Care

Key issues:

Job creation/retention

Business attraction



Raji Buttar

Education: MBA

Occupation: Co-owner, Arisoko Luxury Travel Inc.

Residency: Abbotsford

Key issues



Property Taxes


Lyle Caldwell

Education: High school, certified mechanic, management training

Occupation: Retired, part-time Ducks Unlimited

Political experience: Campaign manager for two local elections

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Abbotsford Rotary, Ducks Unlimited, Food Bank, Abbotsford Hospice Society, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, Abbotsford Arts Council, MSA Museum, Canada Day Parade, Operation Red Nose, Abbotsford International Airshow. Abbotsford Agrifair

Key issues:

Fiscal prudence.

Good paying jobs, strong economy.

Open and participatory government, restore trust and integrity.


James W. Breckenridge

Education: Bachelor of Commerce University of Saskatchewan Chartered Accountant

Occupation: Emergency shelter worker, advocate, writer, consultant

Residency: Abbotsford

Key issues: Fiscally sustainable, responsible budgeting and planning

Social issues (affordable housing, homelessness, poverty, hunger, living wage, employment);

Changing the way the city does business in order to attract business


Vince Dimanno

Party affiliation: AbbotsfordFIRST

Education: SFU, Kwantlen College

Occupation: Web and software developer

Political experience: Candidate for council in 2011

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Abbotsford Ratepayers Association, Abbyfest Multicultural Society, Crohns and Colitis Foundation (volunteer)

Key issues:

Debt, including infrastructure deficit

Homelessness and social issues

Economic development


Daljit Sidhu


Education: London university

Occupation: Vice-chair of credit union.

Political experience: Participated in previous city council elections.

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Volunteer, community sports tournaments, culture shows, blood donation and Abbotsford Sikh parade.

Key issues:

Business development

Safety ( youth at risk)

Affordable homes. (homelessness)


*Les Barkman

Education: Lakehead University

Occupation: Full-time City Councillor

Political experience: Two terms as Abbotsford city councillor

Residency: Abbotsford

Key Issues:


Spending tax dollars, but provide quality services

Property taxation – B.C. Assessment needs to review qualifications for different classifications



*Bill MacGregor

Education: Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Occupation: Public Servant

Political Experience: Two terms On Abbotsford city council

Residency: Sumas Mountain

Key issues:


Continued Fiscal Restraint

Resolution of the Homeless Issue


Tim Felger

Education: Ohio State University

Occupation: Unknown

Community involvement: Drug War Suvivors

Key issues:




Government Employees performing criminal acts.


*Moe Gill

Education: Mission High School

Occupation: Farmer and City Councilor

Political experience: Seventeen years on Council

Residency: Abbotsford Community involvement:

Numerous committees, boards and Rotary

Key Issues:

Public safety, policing and fire services resources.


Abbotsford’s economic performance.



Brenda Falk

Party affiliation: AbbotsfordFirst

Education: Fashion Design UFV, Landscape Design-Horticulture Kwantlen College

Occupation: Self-employed farmer and business woman

Political experience: Member of the Agriculture Advisory Committee,  as well as Economic Development Advisory Committee, a member of the Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Development

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Co- Creator of the ‘Passport to Christmas’ and the Abbotsford and Regional ‘Circle Farm Tour’.

Key issues:

Sustainable economic development

Infrastructure deficit

Homeless Issue


Raymond Kobes

Education: Enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley

Occupation: Student

Political experience: Post-Secondary Commissioner on the Parks; Recreation and Culture Commission

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Jam in Jubilee organizer; Friday Nite Basketball Gym director; volunteer for various events in Abbotsford

Key issues:

Fiscal responsibility and dealing with our municipal debt.

Providing a long-term solution for homelessness.

Increased awareness and emphasis on arts and culture in Abbotsford.


Kelly Chahal

Party affiliation: AbbotsfordFirst

Education: Master’s in Criminal Justice

Occupation: Independent chairperson CSC, Probation Officer

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement:

Involved in intercultural, multicultural, interfaith, criminal justice, and social justice. I am on Senate at UFV, Public Relations

Key issues:

Fiscal Responsibility – High taxes, low tax base

Lack of encouragement and responsivity towards business development

Homelessness, affordable housing


Nathan Loewen

Education: Bachelor of Arts Geography

Occupation: Manager of contracting business, currently student

Political Experience: Fraser Valley Regional Committee of BC Green Party, assisted with local campaigns

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Volunteer with Fraser Valley Conservancy & Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition, member of the Scandinavian Club of Abbotsford, formerly social advocate with Vancouver-based Streams of Justice.

Key issues:

Adhering to sustainable/green urban development

End homelessness and support affordable housing options.

Attracting innovative clean-tech businesses and quality employers


Marlisa Power

Education: Honours Bachelors of Arts – History/English

Occupation: Consultant, Power House Consulting; project and event co-ordinator/social media marketer and actress

Political Experience: Student council member in high school, student union member in university

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Abbotsford Farm & Country Market volunteer, Canadian Cancer Society office volunteer, Canadian Kidney Foundation Walk committee member, help at The Warm Zone, member of Grace Church, Abbotsford Hospice Society volunteer.

Key issues:

Homelessness – Immediate shelter & longer-term multi-tiered solutions

Fiscal responsibility/accountability/transparency

Ease/Attractiveness of doing business in Abbotsford


Paul Redekopp

Party affiliation:

Trinity Western/North West Bible College

Occupation: Driver at Alliance Concrete Pumps

Political Experience: Former BC Conservative Party Candidate 2013 provincial election. Currently BC Conservative Party vice-president

Residency: East Abbotsford Whatcom area

Community involvement: Currently on the Board of directors at Fraser Valley Child Development Center, Volunteer with developmentally disabled adults, member at  TRBN and a marriage coach.

Key issues:


Safer streets and communities

Property tax, user fees and the highest unemployment rates in BC


Doug Rempel

EDUCATION: UBC Sauder School of Business RED

Occupation: Real Estate sales


Abbotsford central

Community involvement:

Member of Chamber of Commerce, Triathlon BC, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. Currently volunteer time for Habitat for Humanity UFV and the Abbotsford Triathlon. Previous volunteer work includes all the past summer games, coaching football at Rick Hansen Secondary School, Abbotsford Youth Commission, Junior achievement, and Toast Masters. Board of director for GARD an organization that does water and health programs in Uganda.

Key issues:


City debt


Homelessness/affordable housing


Sustainable development


Tina Stewart

Education: UFV Business Tech with Accounting.

Occupation: Executive Director, ADBA

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Volunteer palliative and bereavement companion at Abbotsford Hospice; committee member – Purple Light Nights Campaign; committee member – FV Diversity and Immigration Partnership Council

Key issues:

Development of jobs that meet or exceed the Living Wage


Affordable housing; increased medium and high density housing




*Patricia Ross

Education: Graduate of Leadership for Environment and Development International

Occupation: Abbotsford Councillor

Political experience:

Abbotsford councillor since 1994

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Restorative Justice, Environmental Advisory committee, Homelessness Task Force, Abbotsford/Mission Water and Sewer Commission, Working to stop Metro Vancouver from building polluting garbage incinerators and promote a better way of dealing with waste. Chamber of Commerce committees and Victim Services volunteer.

Key issues:


Homelessness, ensuring everyone has a home.


Environmental/quality of life threats such as Metro Vancouver’s plans to build a polluting garbage incinerator and pipelines


Taxes, ensuring enough for todays needs and services, while not putting at risk our future


David Sahlstrom

Education: Master of Business Adminstration – MBA, Professional Agrologist (PAg)

Occupation: Partner in bed & breakfast, business consulting

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: MSA Museum Society, Arts Council, donated to various community groups, worked on the HST repeal referendum.

Key issues:


How candidates will support their vision and dreams for Abbotsford

Qualifications of the candidates to carry out the responsibilities of councillor.


Ross Siemens

Party Affiliation: AbbotsfordFirst

Education: Fraser Valley College and Trinity Western University

Occupation: Owner/manager of Hub Motor Service

Political Experience: Elected at the age of 23 to the District of Abbotsford Council in 1986 and reelected in 1988.

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Founding member of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association; served on the Board of Directors of Abbotsford Community Services; serve on the Board of Directors of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame.

Key issues:



Debt and infrastructure deficit.

Economic development.


Ken Wuschke

Education: Certificate in Public Safety Communications, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Occupation: Wooden drawer assembler

Residency: Blueridge

Community involvement: City of Abbotsford Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, member; City of Abbotsford Heritage Working Group, member; Clearbrook Elementary School PAC, past president; Cycling Abbotsford, past chair; MSA Museum Society, former board member; Friends of the MSA Centennial Library, past chair; BC Historical Federation, board member; Abbotsford Bicycle Valet, organizer

Key issues:


Bringing the citizen’s voice into the committee process

Paying down debt, maintaining current service levels, investing in infrastructure.


*Dave Loewen

Education: S.F.U. – B.A. (Sociology); PDP UVic – M.Ed. (Educational Administration)

Occupation: Retired high school teacher/administrator

Political experience: Three terms on Abbotsford council

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: MCC BC board and executive, including chair; national and local church committees; Canadian Mennonite University council chair; director on Federation of Independent Schools Associations Board; Heart2Heart, Haiti board; Mennonite Historical Society of BC Board; member of Abbotsford Rotary Club; member of Level Ground Mennonite Church; participant in Ken Herar’s ‘Cycling4Diversity’

Key issues:

Fiscal policies that build and maintain sustainability – delivering vital services to citizens without jeopardizing future capacity to deliver same.

Housing – affordable housing for homeless and those on verge of homelessness

Safety – supporting present levels of police and fire safety


Gerda Peachey

Education: Halfway through a Bachelor of Arts, and two years of Horticulture at UFV

Occupation: Wife, mom, grandmother, gardner, prison volunteer, musician (off-key)

Political Experience: Also ran four times.  Decades of volunteer work for candidates vying for office in federal, provincial and municipal elections.

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Sing hymns with residents at seniors homes. Hang out with fellow jammers at local coffee houses. Been part of the local naturalists and the local rock and gem club.

Key issues:

Tend to the pragmatic business of running our city,

Do not sign contracts with big business and big amusements that hurt us financially.

Write sensible, doable and enforceable by-laws.


Karen Young

Education: SFU, Publishing

Occupation: Director of development (fundraising), semi-retired

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Board of Governors, past-president of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce in 2001; President, Rotary Club; President of the Abbotsford Symphony Orchestra Society (to 2007). Abbotsford Arts and Heritage Advisory Committee member (2006–11)

Key issues:

Social inclusion

Fiscal responsibility and transparency

Customer-focused service within city hall


Hank Roos

Education: High school

Occupation: Retired project manager and estimator

Residency: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Served on church and independent school boards. President of the Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club for 12 years.

Key issues:


Manage growth in a sustainable way


Attracting new clean hi-tech industries