Blanleil fires back

I was both annoyed and disappointed when reading Cindy Cannan’s letter to the editor.

I was annoyed because the points Cindy brings up are not correct and do not represent the facts or my view. I am disappointed as I had supported her husband Ron for many years as our MP and I had considered them friends. I have supported Ron, as I have supported Colin Basran, and although I did not always agree with every decision made in the process, I saw the big picture and felt that they were headed in the right direction.

I thought we were friends who could have shared any issues over a coffee; instead of attempting to discredit me personally over my support for Colin.

As Ron is Tom's campaign manager, their actions remind me of another instance where a lack of respect has created a rift between friends. Tom concealed his intentions to run for mayor from his close friend of many years, Colin Basran. On more than one occasion, Tom had asked my advice on whether he should run for mayor or council.  It was my suggestion that he run for a council position, where he could gain experience while working alongside Colin and the rest of council, to continue to evolve the City of Kelowna.  

As president and owner of Andres Electronics group of companies for over 38 years, Andre’s Electronics has grown from one store to 30, with over 200 employees, and will continue to grow for many years. I actively work with my team daily to ensure the success of my company and manage my team to continue sustainable and ongoing growth. On top of this, a large portion of Andre's locations are situated on properties which we own and manage, hence I have many roles to play.  Anyone who knows anything about me understands that I work extremely hard and at a high level constantly. Cindy's comment that I am "slowing down" is very insulting and completely inaccurate.

In my 21 years as a Kelowna city councillor, one of my major focuses was to make sure we were spending tax dollars wisely; keeping them as close to the cost of living increases as possible. Occasionally, major infrastructure or facilities need to be built.  Prospera Arena, the Capitol News Centre and the RCMP building are examples of these occasions, where additional funding by the taxpayer is needed.  If the cost of the RCMP building and additioal RCMP wages over the last four years were removed from the tax increases, the average annual tax increase was slightly over two per cent annually. This is inline with my focus over the years to keep tax increases close to cost of living increases.

Regarding the safe streets issue, a very important point for myself, the current mayor and council are working together to help the situation with Interior Health, the RCMP, City of Kelowna and the province. None of us like how long this is taking, but it is not a simple task, and not one simple answer.  Over the last four years, I  personally, have expressed my frustration to council, Mayor Colin, and city staff about the situation of downtown.  I do hope to see some changes sooner than later, and I know Colin and council are working with past RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon and city staff to create a strategy to improve the safety of our streets.

As a sports enthusiast, a team approach to work and play within our region, are the values our family were brought up with and live by. It is extremely sad that an election can bring out the worst in people. This “Trump” style of politics, which are being showcased in the Dyas campaign, leads Kelowna in a bad direction, and has no place in municipal politics. We need to focus on who would be the best person to lead the City of Kelowna, and work with council and staff, to continue to make Kelowna the best city in Canada to live in.

I believe I have served the citizens of Kelowna well in both my business, my family and as councillor. 

My reputation is important to me, and why I am writing this letter  I also believe we live in an amazing community and want to thank people of Kelowna for the support the community has shown me and my family over the years.  Thank you.

I believe that Mayor Colin Basran is the best person to guide our city at this time, with his all-inclusive approach and leadership abilities.

Andre Blanleil, Kelowna

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