Frank de Jong

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Frank De Jong
Frank de Jong 01 Pengo.jpg
Speaking at an economics forum in 2007
Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
In office
1993–2009
Preceded by First Leader
Succeeded by Mike Schreiner
Personal details
Born (1955-10-16) October 16, 1955 (age 58)
Luther Township, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Political party Green Party of Ontario
Other political
affiliations
Green Party of Canada
Occupation Environmentalist, politician
Profession Elementary school-teacher

Frank de Jong, (born October 16, 1955 in Luther Township, northeast of Arthur, Ontario) is a Canadian politician, environmentalist and elementary school teacher at Fern Avenue Public School. He joined the Green Party of Ontario in 1987 and became the party's first official leader in 1993 – a position he held until November 14, 2009, when he was replaced by Mike Schreiner.

In the September 14, 2006, Parkdale—High Park by-election, de Jong received 6.2 percent of the vote. On November 7, 2006, he was nominated as the GPO candidate in the riding of Davenport for the 2007 Ontario general election.[1] In that election, de Jong captured 10.26 percent of the vote, his best showing as a member of the Green Party.

De Jong has also campaigned for federal office as a member of the Green Party of Canada.

Education and activism[edit]

Born into a Dutch background, De Jong earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1978, and a Bachelor of Education from University of Ottawa in 1979. After graduating, he worked as an elementary school teacher. He developed an interest in environmental concerns during the mid-1980s, and became involved in campaigns to save Ontario's old growth forests. He was also involved in the anti-nuclear, renewable energy and pro-choice movements. De Jong now resides in Toronto with his partner, fiction writer Kelley Aitken. He is a current board member of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

Politics[edit]

The Ontario Green Party did not originally have a formal leadership structure, and was run in a very decentralized manner (nominal leaders were sometimes chosen for elections, but they had no personal authority over party decisions). De Jong and others opposed this approach, and successfully campaigned for a formal leadership contest in 1993. De Jong himself entered this contest, and defeated Jim Harris, who later became leader of the Green Party of Canada. De Jong supported Harris's leadership of the federal party until Harris stepped down in 2006, at which time de Jong supported David Chernushenko's leadership bid. He was challenged for the leadership of the Ontario Green Party by Judy Greenwood-Speers in 2001.

Frank De Jong (right), with his successor as Ontario Greens Leader, Mike Schreiner (left)

Like Harris, de Jong is an eco-capitalist. He defines his political philosophy as "socially progressive, fiscally conservative, and environmentally aware".[2] He has long supported conservative economic policies, including a gradual shift from the taxation of incomes to the taxation of natural resources. Recently, he has also spoken against extensive government subsidies and funding for crown corporations.

At the October 2005 Green Party of Ontario Annual General Meeting, de Jong narrowly avoided a "leadership review" when 67% of voting members voted against it. The GPO constitution requires that a leadership review be held bi-annually; If more than one-third of voting members had opted for a review, a leadership race would have been held in 2006. At the 2007 AGM, de Jong survived the next scheduled review, this time with approximately 71% support from party members. This followed what was considered the strongest election performance by the GPO to date.[3] Speaking at the Green Party of Ontario AGM in May 2009, de Jong announced that he will not be running for re-election as leader of the party.[4]

De Jong was a candidate for Ward 18 in Toronto's 2010 municipal election.[1]

Election campaigns[edit]

De Jong has campaigned for federal and provincial office several times. His best showing was in the provincial election of 2003, when he ran against sitting Premier Ernie Eves and finished third, ahead of the New Democratic Party candidate. On all other occasions, de Jong has finished well behind candidates of the major parties.

During the 1995 provincial campaign, de Jong cycled on a "leader's tour" from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor and Niagara Falls before returning northward to Ottawa. Subsequently, he was involved in creating constituency contact lists throughout the province.

His electoral record is as follows:

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Davenport Green Party nominates de Jong, Green Party of Ontario news release, November 8, 2006.
  2. ^ http://www.gpo.ca/node/26 Green Party of Ontario Leader Profile
  3. ^ http://www.thestar.com/article/279832 Toronto Star article on 2007 AGM, November 26, 2007
  4. ^ "Frank de Jong to step down as Green party leader". Toronto Star, May 23, 2009.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
First Leader
Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
1993 – November 2009
Succeeded by
Mike Schreiner