I’m the MLA for Chilliwack and am closing up my first term and hoping to be elected for a 2nd term.
One thing I didn't expect is the pace. I can’t slow time down. You’re on the move so much. Days and weeks go by so fast, sometimes it makes it hard to just soak it all in and cherish it. You need to find ways to make things a little more calm to make sure things aren’t rushing by.
Remember when you were a kid and you were on summer break. Summer break was only 8 weeks but it felt like forever. It didn’t matter what happened on the last day of school because no one would remember anything come September. Now 8 weeks is just one project and then the next one rolls in, but to be able to have that same relation with time as you did when you were a kid with the weeks, months and seasons. That would be something.
If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?
I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to one specific moment. There’s the things that matter at different points in your life, sometimes they wouldn’t have the same significance as ten years sooner or ten years from now. Obviously meeting my wife and marrying her. I think for most of us, that’s always going to be the monumental moment. The night I fought five people and earned my black belt in a gruelling ceremony. That was quite a memorable moment as well.
I’ve had some great opportunities. The Premier Christy Clark, gave me the opportunity to contest the last election as a member of the BC Liberal team and that particular night we won quite handedly in Chilliwack. That was spectacular. There are few nights quite like the feeling I had that night. That’s not something I had planned for, it wasn’t something I had strategized for years and years. For it to work out as well as it did. That’s right up there.
Who is the most influential person in your life – can you tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are?
One is my longest closest friends is Darryl Plecas who I worked with at UFV for many, many years. We were both in the school of criminology. He was the one that hired me and basically gave me the opportunity to be in the classroom and eventually a full time faculty member. That opened up a career for me, that if it wasn’t for Darryl and his encouragement, I don’t know that would have happened otherwise.
The Premier is another one, who gave me an opportunity to occupy a position that only 950 or so people have ever occupied in this province. It’s a very small, little group that have had the privilege of serving in the legislature in Victoria. I feel incredibly privileged that I had that opportunity to be one of them and I owe that to a lot of people but of course mostly to the Premier.
What motivates you on a day to day basis?
Wanting to do a good job, and meet the expectations that people have of me. This position comes with unique and enormous responsibilities . Whether it’s to help someone navigate the health care system; or work their way through WorkSafe and some of that red tape and bureaucracy. At the end of the day it’s something that I do quite regularly and when it works out, and it doesn’t always work out, but when we can make a problem go away for someone. That’s a huge, huge relief for them; it’s a huge burden off their shoulders. When I know I’ve played a part in taking this horrible thing away from this person’s life, that might have been there for months or years, that’s a pretty good feeling at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s just those little things that can be as immensely satisfying as some of the more major accomplishments. Helping people cut through the red tape and the biggest thing that is dragging them down every day, trying to remove that. That’s a pretty good feeling to have.
What are you passionate about?
In my leisure life I’m passionate about being the best pit master that I can be and making the best BBQ for my friends. That’s something I put a lot of time into and a lot of practice. It’s more than a hobby for me, it’s an act of passion.
Obviously, I’m very passionate about my relationship with my wife. The reality of this job means we see a lot less of each other than we used to. That sort of changes the nature of the relationship. Certain things take on new significance.
Just trying to be the best MLA that I can. Trying to serve Chilliwack as best I can.
What makes you angry?
Oh. Traffic. Line-ups. Pet owners who shouldn't be pet owners. Bad BBQ.
Different things will set me off, so you have to do those other things to compensate for it. Drinking a beer, picking a guitar, smoking a brisket and taking time to yourself here and there.
How often do you come to Old Yale, and why do you like coming here?
It varies. I’ve been frequenting OYB since their original location. In that tiny little place on Vedder that’s now a dry cleaner, or something. I have a home draft dispensing system, it holds the 22 litre canisters. I would always get it filled and refilled at OYB. I tended to have it on tap at my place and we’d go through one of those canisters pretty quick when I had people over for a BBQ. Other times it would last for months, but that was too long for that type of ale.
I like to pop in every now and then. I think it’s my first time so far this year, but I have been in here at least half a dozen times since they opened the new tasting room.
What do you like about Chilliwack? How is it different than other cities?
I’ve moved to and from this part of the Valley 3 times in my life. I’ve been here for the last 12 years or so, I’ve been in the Fraser Valley most of my adult life. Before becoming an MLA, I worked at the University of the Fraser Valley.
It feels different here than the other side of the river or down the road in Abbotsford. It just seems to be a nicer fit for me here. Despite recent growth there's still a small town friendly feel that you don't find as much of anymore.
How often do you drink craft beer?
It’s hard to find time to drink anything in this position.
How about this… when you have a chance to drink a beer, how often do you drink craft beer?
It’s almost always a craft beer. I tend to drink the extra special bitters or the IPAs. I’ll occasionally try other beers, sometimes I will have a porter or stout, but it’s almost always an IPA.
Your favourite type of beer, and favourite OYB beer?
ESB or IPA. I would love to see more English Bitter Style in this area. We have some great IPAs in this region. And my favourite OYB beer is whatever I’m holding right now… whatever beer I’ve got in my hand at that time is my favourite. It’s part of the here and now, enjoying what's in front of me. If there’s a nicer ale down the road, well that day will come.