Election season kicks off in Abbotsford

Thirteen candidates running in Abbotsford's three ridings

B.C. voters will head to the polls for the provincial election on May 14.

B.C. voters will head to the polls for the provincial election on May 14.

The B.C. provincial election campaign officially begins today as the election writ is dropped. Voters go to the polls on May 14. Candidates have until April 26 at 1 p.m. to register.

Here’s a brief look at who is running locally so far.

 

Abbotsford South

In the Abbotsford South riding, incumbent John van Dongen (Independent) is seeking his sixth term in office. He was originally elected in 1995 and has held his seat ever since.

He has held numerous positions including solicitor general, minister of public safety and minister of agriculture.

He is being challenged by Darryl Plecas (Liberal) and Lakhvinder Jhaj (NDP).

Plecas, a criminologist, has been teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley for 33 years.

Originally from Mission, Jhaj moved to Penticton in 1986. She ran for the BC NDP in 2009 in the riding of Boundary Bay-Similkameen. She moved back to Abbotsford two years ago.

 

Abbotsford West

In the riding of Abbotsford West, incumbent Michael de Jong (Liberal) is seeking his sixth term in office.

Elected in 1994, de Jong has been in provincial politics for almost 20 years and in that time has held diverse portfolios including minister of health, attorney general and minister of finance.

He will be defending his seat against four challengers – Moe Gill (Independent), Sukhi Dhami (NDP), Stephen O’Shea (Green) and Paul Redekopp (Conservative).

Gill is a longtime Abbotsford councillor, having served the city since 1996. Dhami has lived in Abbotsford for the past 15 years and helps to run his family-owned farm and nursery.

O’Shea is a musician and an events organizer, while Redekopp is a community support worker and part-time actor.

 

Abbotsford-Mission

There is no incumbent running in the riding of Abbotsford-Mission as Randy Hawes (Liberal) decided not to seek another term. The five candidates vying for this open seat are Simon Gibson (Liberal), Preet Rai (NDP), Aird Flavelle (Green), Don Stahl (Conservative) and Roman Bojczuk (Independent).

Gibson is a longtime Abbotsford municipal councillor and teacher at University of the Fraser Valley. Rai is a second-term school trustee in Abbotsford, and works as an auditor with the provincial ministry of finance.

Flavelle is an Abbotsford businessman. Stahl is a B.C. Conservation officer, and previously worked as a fishery officer. Bojczuk is a Mission resident who previously ran for municipal council in 2011.

 

Three all-candidates meetings will be presented by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for all three meetings, and they will run from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • Abbotsford West, Tuesday, April 30 at Garden Park Tower, 2825 Clearbrook Rd.
  • Abbotsford South, Thursday, May 2 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way
  • Abbotsford-Mission riding, Tuesday, May 7 at Christian Life Community Church, 35131 Straiton Rd.

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