We are approximately three months out from our next provincial election. As I thought about what to write this month I considered the new provincial political dynamic.
We have at least two independents declared, as I write this, and an NDP party doing very well in the polls in most parts of the province.
It is possible that Abbotsford's three ridings could be represented by two different parties and/or an independent. Certainly all three ridings will be hotly contested and the results are truly anybody's guess right now.
This led to the following question: What are our members looking for in their potential representatives to Victoria?
I've come back to a theme that we've been talking about for over a year now. We want leadership in keeping our businesses competitive, regarding taxes, skills training, and trade barriers. We want a regulatory framework that builds security and credibility with our customers, but at the same time lets us go about our business with as much flexibility and ability to innovate as responsibly possible. And most of all, we want an economic environment that facilitates and fosters opportunity. That's why our key institutional infrastructure (YXX, UFV, ARH, etc) is such a catalyst to our future growth as a community.
Of course, we also want integrity and servant leadership in our elected folks. We want egos kept in check so we can get things done.
Call me naïve, but isn't it possible to let results speak for themselves as opposed to positioning over who gets the credit?
We want bi-partisan cooperation, with the focus on serving us, the constituents, not the other way around. Is that too much to ask?
So to all of the candidates seeking to represent and lead this community forward for the next four years, consider the fact that the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce has approximately 750 members, whose owners and employees represent thousands of votes on May 14. Consider the fact that collectively these voters work, live, send their kids to schools, walk through the parks and rely on post-secondary and health care services right here in Abbotsford.
In other words, we are not just the "business vote". We are the voters who pay the bulk of the taxes, the quiet ones, generally, who pull our share (or more) of the weight.
We want to know you will respect our hard earned tax dollars and be willing to be held accountable with how you manage them.
When we ask questions we want answers - not spin. We can handle the truth. We are prepared to forgive your mistakes, but will not tolerate being lied to or being bullied into compliance, once you've gained our trust and been elected.
Listen to our concerns with respect and offer practical solutions with sincerity, and you might just get the privilege of representing us in Victoria for at least the next four years.
The point is we want to work with you to make Abbotsford an even better place to live and raise our families.