Ron Gray (left, Christian Heritage Party), Jasleen Arora (centre-left, NDP), Darryl Plecas (centre-right, BC Liberals) and Aird Flavelle (right, Green Party) are seeking the public’s vote in Abbotsford South.

Ron Gray (left, Christian Heritage Party), Jasleen Arora (centre-left, NDP), Darryl Plecas (centre-right, BC Liberals) and Aird Flavelle (right, Green Party) are seeking the public’s vote in Abbotsford South.

RIDING PROFILE: Plecas aims to retain seat in Abbotsford South

Incumbent challenged by NDP’s Jasleen Arora, Green’s Aird Flavelle and CHP’s Ron Gray

The riding includes all of Abbotsford south of Highway 1, along with central Abbotsford south of South Fraser Way and, from the historic downtown, Essendene Avenue and Old Yale Road to Sumas Way. SEE MAP

Additions to the riding for 2017 include Aldergrove and areas in the Township of Langley east of 248 Street and south of the highway.

The area includes both a huge swath of rural land, along with the densest parts of Abbotsford, with more families living in apartments than in single-detached homes. While boasting a median age only slightly older than other Abbotsford ridings, Abbotsford South has by far the most voters aged 80 and older.

2013 result:

Darryl Plecas won the 2013 election with 48 per cent of the vote, besting incumbent John van Dongen, who had defected from the BC Liberals for the Conservative party prior to the election. Plecas’s nomination for the BC Liberals was also fraught with turmoil, with the riding association resigning prior to his selection as a candidate. Coun. Moe Gill had also sought the nomination for the riding.

NDP candidate Lakhvinder Jhaj finished with 21 per cent of the vote.

2017 candidates

BC Liberal incumbent Darryl Plecas was a high-profile criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley before winning election in 2013. He has served as parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Health for seniors since 2015. Like other Liberals, he had emphasized stewardship of the economy, but he’s also focused on mental health services as a key issue. Click for questionnaire.

NDP candidate Jasleen Arora currently works at an organization that tries to help more people with developmental disabilities attend post-secondary schools. Arora, who lives in Burnaby, has never run for election. She has been a no-show at all-candidates meetings, but in response to a News questionnaire she focused on school funding. Click for questionnaire.

Green Party candidate Aird Flavelle operated a technology business and is now mostly retired. He has participated in a variety of local organizations and has previously run both in municipal and provincial elections. In 2013, he won nine per cent of the vote in Abbotsford-Mission. He has focused in part on homelessness, and environmental and agricultural issues. Click for questionnaire.

Christian Heritage Party candidate Ron Gray worked in communications for the federal government. He served for 13 years at the CHP’s national leader and has run for office before. He has focused on a proposal to create a market-based education system and family and social issues. Click for questionnaire

Related: Watch our interviews with Plecas, Flavelle and Gray. Arora did not participate.

Related: Check out riding profiles, with links to candidate questionnaires and interview videos, for Abbotsford West and Abbotsford-Mission.

Related: See what candidates from the three local ridings said about affordable housing, campaign financing, the overdose crisis, paying for their promises, and the widening of Highway 1 and transit links to Vancouver.

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