Q & A – Ross Siemens

In order to get beyond the election signs and the candidate profiles Abbotsford Today has put together a series of questions for candidates in the upcoming municipal election. We will be publishing the answers provided by those who participate.

Abbotsford Today What do you know about the way civic government operates?

Ross Siemens I have had the opportunity of serving on the District of Abbotsford Council from 1986 to 1990 from the age of 23 to 27. I have also served on ASDAC (Abbotsford Social Development Advisory Committee) and the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness. In 1985-1986 I had the opportunity of working for our local MLA, Bill Ritchie, who was also the Minister of Municipal Affairs for British Columbia.

ATWhy did you decide to run?
RS I have decided to run for election because I care about the future of our city. My wife and I have raised our daughters here in Abbotsford. They are both in University now and I have the time to be more actively involved in civic affairs.

AT What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected city councilor?
RS Social responsibility means being respectful and being a good listener. Many of the social and environmental issues society faces are funded and legislated by senior levels of government. City council must have a clear understanding of issues and then lobby and work with those levels of government and with the private sector to ensure that the needs and concerns of our citizens are heard and considered.

AT What do you want to accomplish and how will you get it done?
RS I believe that Abbotsford has the potential to be the “economic hub” of the Fraser Valley. We also have the potential of being the “heart” of the Fraser Valley. One of the reasons I have decided to run with Abbotsford First is because a team approach has a much better chance of accomplishing these goals.

AT What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?
RS Abbotsford Center has tremendous potential. Our team will look at all aspects of the Global Spectrum contract. Tradex, through Tourism Abbotsford, is success that is an important economic driver for our city. The Langley Event Center, in partnership with Trinity Western University, is a success. The Abbotsford Center, being situated next to the University of the Fraser Valley, perhaps has similar potential.

AT What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?
RS Abbotsford Council has made some very poor decisions in regards to its most vulnerable citizens. When senior levels of government and private sector organizations partner together and bring forward proposals for housing and health care the City needs to be more engaged. Council must stop micro managing and allow these organizations to take the lead.

AT If elected what would you do about the law suits faced by the City of Abbotsford by members of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors through Pivot Legal Society?
RS Unfortunately, there are issues behind the scene that I am not privy to. To comment on legal issues that are before the courts would be irresponsible of me. My sense is that these lawsuits were brought forward because of the lack of engagement with the Province and private sector agencies on crucial issues that would help the city move forward on important solutions.

AT Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
RS As mentioned earlier, Abbotsford has the potential to be the “economic hub” of the Fraser Valley. We are the geographic hub, however we need to make better use of our airport, border, railway, highway, agriculture industry and University. Our airport could become the cargo and regional hub for the lower mainland. We have the potential of growing a product, adding value to that product and shipping that product anywhere in the world all within our city limits.

AT Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
RS The commercial truck parking issue is only going to become a more prominent issue in the future. Transportation is our most important regional issue. We should be working closely with the ministry of transportation on all transportation related issues. Lands along the freeway, at each major exit/entrance could be paved and properly drained and used for parking. We should also be looking at these areas for park and rides for future transit. Trucking is an important economic driver, vital to our city and region.

AT Abbotsford had no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?
RS I would be prepared to investigate a contract with the SPCA. Abbotsford has an SPCA facility within the city limits.

AT Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?
RS I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I have chosen to run with a team, Abbotsford First. We are all independent candidates who are free to vote our conscience on all issues. We all have different backgrounds and life experiences but are committed to work together on key issues to make Abbotsford the best city that it can be. We have been working on policy for the past year and these are all explained in detail on our website. At the end of the day, getting elected is not about me. It is about policy and good government. Abbotsford First is in essence a nominating committee putting forward five recommendations for voters to consider.

Abbotsford Today has put together an extensive section on the 2014 Municipal Election. In addition candidates announcements, profiles and Q&A as well as news stories, columns and pieces contributed by candidates it includes:
Contact Your Candidates
List of Candidates
Municipal Election Guide
New Local Elections Legislation

The Municipal Election Guide is made up primarily of information and links from the City of Abbotsford’s extensive information section on the City website which provides all of the information you will require in order to exercise your franchise.

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