I was born in Toronto Ontario and raised just west of Toronto in Georgetown.
I studied mathematics at the University of Waterloo and Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
I articled with Coopers & Lybrand and passed the Uniform Final Exam and became a Chartered Accountant. Over the 25 years of my career as a Chartered Accountant and businessman I held positions of increasing responsibility acquiring a broad and varied set of skills and knowledge.
I moved to Abbotsford two decades ago because my brother needed someone he could leave his children with while he attended the 6:40 AM Attitude Adjustment meeting at the Alanon Club. My brother is an alcoholic who had been through treatment several times. After his last trip to treatment he had found the key to his sobriety – and has been sober ever since – was daily attendance of the 6:40 AM meeting. He was divorced with custody of his two young children and needed a responsible adult he could leave them in the care of while he attended his meeting – a meeting that was key to his sobriety.
His big brother, the kids uncle, the Chartered Accountant fit the bill of responsible adult to a tee and I moved to Abbotsford. When my brother remarried his second wife was from Newfoundland and one of those who really want to return to the Rock. When the family moved to Newfoundland I stayed in Abbotsford.
As I walk the path of recovery in mental health I can look back and see I had had mental health issues throughout my life. I had been raised in the ‘you suck it up and deal with it’ tradition so I did just that; I coped and coped until I couldn’t cope, couldn’t function. at all and broke.
The downward spiral that started when I was not able to cope any longer ended with me homeless and on the streets of Abbotsford. Fortunately for me I had taken my first steps on the path to recovery and Wellness, am goal oriented (Obsessive Compulsive behaviour does have some advantages among all the problems it causes) and was able to continue my journey of recovery.
It was a journey that was both life changing and eye opening, filled with new knowledge, understanding and change.
The truth is that although homelessness was not the way I would have chosen to Change myself, who I have become and the joie de vivre I have found means that if the only way to who and where I am now was through homelessness – so be it.
Among the changes was the writer inside being set free and I began to write to share what I was seeing and learning about the realities of homelessness, addiction, poverty and mental illness because the reality was so different from what I had ‘known’ before experience taught me differently.
The pointless waste of money and resources on doing things the same old way over and over as if expecting the results to be different (AA’s definition of insanity), when knowledge, experience and best practices have shown what actions produce recovery drives the Chartered Accountant in me crazy.
It was the waste brought about by the bad operating and financial management of the City of Abbotsford by mayor, council and staff aggravating the accountant in me that directed my attention to the way Abbotsford is managed.
I originally actively opposed Plan A because I considered the need to upgrade water and waste disposal infrastructure the priority mayor and council should be focused on. It became clear as we learned more about Plan A that it was a bad plan period and should not be proceeded with because it would have negative financial consequences for Abbotsford for years.
I choose to live in Abbotsford because I like the city, have friends, connections, things that need to be accomplished and purpose.
Because of that I have a vested interest in the way the city is managed, its financial health and the effects those have on citizens.
I don’t like what mayor and council have done to my city. I believe the way Abbotsford is managed needs to change drastically if our community is to thrive.
The one point I heartily agree with Mayor Peary on is that if you don’t like the way the city is run, run for council and change the way that Abbotsford is currently mismanaged.