Q & A – Bill MacGregor

In order to get beyond the election signs and the candidate profiles Abbotsford Today has put together a series of question for candidates in the upcoming municipal election

What do you know about the way civic government operates?

BMacG. Civic government, in both form and function, has multiple elements but, in it’s most basic definition it is the “local” and most junior form of Government. It is subject to both Provincial and Federal legislation and law. Created historically to differentiate it from “Military Law”, thus the term civil or civilian, it is responsible to it’s citizens, who freely elect representatives to a Mayor and Council leadership format, to govern all things at the “local” level. Essential services such as police and fire are the jurisdiction of the local government as are local roads, water and sewer garbage pickup and disposal. Collection of taxes in order to fund local services and projects are also the purview of civic government. Professional staff are hired, by the City Manager, to both inform and manage the system within the structure and when and where prudent to suggest and inform policy. Proposals in the form of needs and wants are directed to the Council table for decision making purposes.

Why did you decide to run?

BMacG. I was an educator in the public system for 33 years most of which were spent at the administrative leadership level. Ultimately acquiring both graduate (M.Ed) and post graduate
(EdD) degrees I have always felt a deep sense of “being called” to serve. I have, throughout my life had an affinity for getting involved with people who require some assistance through representation. I love Abbotsford and have worked in building community initiatives in a wide variety of ways since arriving here in 1980. I desire to continue in that work.

What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected City Councillor?

BMacG. Social responsibility has been the driving force in my life since high school when I jumped in to coach a basketball team because there wasn’t anyone else. By recruiting others to the cause we started 5 different football programs in multiple schools and one in the Community. In the late ‘80’s when it became evident that drugs and alcohol were getting in the way of some young lives developing in a positive manner we started the Impact Program in SD#34 with assistance from multiple partners including APD, SD#34, Kiwanis, Mayor Dave Kandal, Harry Schmidt and ultimately the Provincial Government. Simply put social responsibility to me means finding a void and filling it.

What do you want to accomplish and how will it get done?

BMacG. First and foremost I want to see this great City of ours come back together as a Community. We are a house divided right now and we cannot afford to continue down that road. The current election will hopefully draw a diverse, amicable and community focused group of elected officials who truly are servant oriented, want the best for the City and are focused in a positive manner. We have much to celebrate. We also need to focus on job creation and with this Mayor and Council holding the tax rate at zero for the first time in well over a decade it has given us a great place to start. When taxes are kept down the community becomes a more desirable place to live and citizens have more disposable income. With the cost of raising a child from cradle to school graduation in excess of $210,000 our families need to keep more of the money they earn.

What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?

BMacG. Three years ago at this time I suggested at the MCA Town Hall that given the rancor that the Center has created or rather, been a part of creating, perhaps we should sell it. Having said that
it should be on the table for consideration, along with an “anchor tenant”, partners such as UFV, and a thorough examination of the Langley model that keeps that Center bustling constantly due to it’s collective infusion of commercial and political offices.

What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?

BMacG. I am a fan of what the current process as produced by our Task Force has surfaced as well as other jurisdictions like Bellingham and Red Deer. It must be a layered approach that has a “Housing First” component. Keep in mind however that some homeless folks are there by choice and don’t desire to be housed.
Once housing can be provided the “layering” component of medical health examinations encompassing mental, physical and addictive inventories can be invoked. Counselling and job training are, at some point, introduced in order for full health restoration.

If elected what would you do about the lawsuits faced by the City of Abbotsford by members of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors through Pivot Legal Society?

BMacG. Other than saying I cannot comment because it is before the Courts I remain silent.

Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about it?

BMacG. Unemployment whether it be high or low is still unemployment. I have been fighting for lower taxes since I was elected 6 years ago and I will continue to fight for that so those who are in difficult times whether it be unemployed or otherwise have some dignity. The reality is that the economy is the biggest driver of employment and therefore must be at the forefront of our thinking. If one considers the fact that the Abbotsford lands are largely agricultural and seasonal this plays a role in creating an economic calendar here that seasonally ebbs and flows. So how to fix that … create through facilitation that is open and inviting an “Abbotsford is Open for Business” culture that literally draws in corporate interest in who we are and what we have to offer! With our natural beauty, International Airport, UFV and the spectacular and untapped beauty and potential of Sumas Mountain in concert with the Fraser River we could have a vibrant and magnetic ecotourism industry that facilitates abundance.

Finally, let me tell you that we DO NOT* have the highest unemployment in Western Canada as we are combined with Mission, Matsqui and two Aboriginal Reserves in the population data breakdown. This is known as Census Metropolitan Area or CMA and reflects the amalgamated group of which you can be assured that if Abbotsford were to be disaggregated our numbers would be more accurately reflected in the data. So once more things are not necessarily the way they seem,

Stats Canada completed the Labour Force Survey monthly by census metropolitan areas across Canada (definition of a CMA is below).

“A census metropolitan area (CMA) is a large urban area (known as urban core) together with adjacent urban and rural areas (known as urban and rural fringe) that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban cores. A CMA has an urban core population of at least 100,000.”

Abbotsford Mission is CMA 5993, the area comprises of the following


932 – Abbotsford (AbbotsfordMission since May 2009), census subdivisions
Code Name Type
5909052 Abbotsford City
5909064 Fraser Valley H Regional district electoral area
5909878 Matsqui Main 2 Indian reserve
5909056 Mission District municipality
5909877 Upper Sumas 6 Indian reserve


How would you resolve the Commercial Truck Parking Issues here in Abbotsford?

BMacG. There are a variety of ways to solve this issue and if we are to focus on a number of options they would be such things as locating by area people with commercial/industrial properties that could facilitate a satellite lot. Having been a Taxi driver while studying at SFU Yellow Cabs, Blacktop, Maclure etc. all had car parks in the downtown core where they were housed in either ground level or multiple lots. Such lots have existed for years in other jurisdictions and some exist here as well. Gravel quarries are another member of this idea pocket and are also being used in some jurisdictions including one on the Fraser Hwy near Bradner Road. The final part of the issue is to enforce the bylaw.

Abbotsford has no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?

BMacG. Yes, I would be willing to address this issue understanding that the costs of such a facility are large and our current fiscal context is such that a change over would be very difficult but still worthy of investigation. I would propose meeting with any and all interested parties, rolling up our sleeves and looking at all alternatives including having our own facility.

Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?

BMacG. Thank you for the question. What is always a good method by which one gets to know another is a short resume of qualifications, career successes, external involvements that display or not as the case may be, an acumen for the notion of community.

A sincere thanks for the opportunity to share some views that are important. All the best.

Leave a Reply