Bill MacGregor felt the sting as the final election results trickled in Saturday night.
The incumbent two-term councillor lost his seat by just over 1,000 votes to Sandy Blue, the eighth-place finisher from the Abbotsford First slate who garnered 9,614 votes.
He was the only incumbent who wasn’t re-elected.
“I’ve never been fired in my life… so yeah, it hurts. And it hurts my family too. My big issue particularly was with some of the things that were said on social media,” MacGregor said on Tuesday.
Still, MacGregor isn’t second-guessing how he ran his campaign.
“I don’t know that there is anything that I could do differently.”
“Certainly things like the stand we took on the homeless shelter plays out. And certainly when you step up and call out somebody [Abbotsford First] for reporting the financial situation and other situations about the city incorrectly, and stand up for the truth, there are going to be people who have a different agenda, and are using that for their agenda to basically bully you, or try to bully you.”
MacGregor was never a big fan of politics to begin with, but he’s particularly disheartened by what he describes as the new wave of aggressive American-style politics.
“Yes, I’m disillusioned and dismayed that we have this kind of politics here, because there’s no place for it as far as I’m concerned and I say that unapologetically, I think it was disgraceful in some ways. However, that’s not what I’m blaming for my loss.”
“There are some things you simply can’t control,” he noted. “In my view, politics in this area, like every other area, is very tribal, there are lot of tribes – the churches, the synagogues, income levels, farming, cultural divisions, divisions of age and so on and so forth — certainly the group, the tribal politics played itself through this election. You can take a good look at how the various precincts, polling stations, play out and represent the various aspects of our society.”
And while he’s not pleased about his election-night loss, MacGregor, a former school principal, feels privileged to have served on Abbotsford city council for two terms and he’s proud of what council has accomplished during those six years.
“To serve the public is very gratifying. Any time you can help anyone in this world is very gratifying. I think the things we were able to accomplish are evident to everyone.”
“To me, I’ve always been a public servant … I feel that putting your hand up for this job, you need to understand that this is a public servant [position]. We are here to serve the public; we’re not here to serve ourselves. That’s the way I’ve always approached it and will and would continue to approach it – if I feel called to do something, whether it’s run for office or put a program in place at a school, then that’s what I’ll do.”
Don’t expect MacGregor to take another run for a council spot soon.
“I doubt that very much.”
For now, he has other priorities. “Now I’ve got to find a [new] road because I’ve got two young children in school and a wife and we’ve got a mortgage, just like everybody else.”