|Member of the Canadian Parliament
|Preceded by||Omar Alghabra|
May 18, 1958 |
Robert "Bob" Dechert (born May 18, 1958) is a Canadian politician and lawyer. He represents the electoral district of Mississauga—Erindale in the House of Commons of Canada. He is a member of the Conservative Party.
Dechert formed the "Blue Committee" in 1994. The Blue Committee was a group of provincial conservatives, primarily from Ontario, who desired a more conservative Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and wanted to work together with the Reform Party of Canada. The Blue Committee was instrumental in the creation of the United Alternative movement, the Canadian Alliance and ultimately, the Conservative Party of Canada.
Dechert ran in the 2004 Canadian federal election in the electoral district of Mississauga—Erindale, losing to Carolyn Parrish. He ran in the same riding in the 2006 Canadian federal election, losing to Omar Alghabra.
He defeated Alghabra in the 2008 Canadian federal election to become the Member of Parliament for that riding.
On March 5, 2010, Dechert became the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.
He won re-election, again defeating Alghabra in the 2011 Canadian federal election.
Relationship with Shi Rong
On September 9, 2011, it was revealed that Dechert had been engaging in "flirtatious e-mails" with a correspondent, Shi Rong, working for the Peoples' Republic of China news agency, Xinhua. The e-mails came to light when the correspondent's husband hacked into her e-mail account and made them public. Dechert acknowledged the "flirtatious" nature of his relationship and issued an apology, but denied any wrongdoing.
Controversy revolved around the fact that Dechert was, at the time of the relationship, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Critics, including Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat to Beijing, raised concerns as to whether Shi Rong was a Chinese spy trying to gain access sensitive government information. Both Burton and the opposition asserted that Dechert must have known about Xinhua's espionage activities.
Education and prior work history
Dechert was born in Brampton, Ontario and graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. He attended law school at the University of Toronto and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1985.
He joined the law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. He practiced corporate law and was a senior partner at the firm prior to his first election victory.
- "Tory MP apologizes for flirty emails to Chinese journalist". CBC News. September 9, 2011.
- Andrea Janus (2011-09-17). "MP in email scandal fits profile of spy target: expert". CTV News.
- The Canadian Press. "CBC News - Reporter says Chinese news agency asked him to spy Xinhua news agency dismisses Ottawa writer's claim as product of 'cold war ideology'". CBC News. CBC News. Retrieved September 18, 2012.