David Wilks

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David Wilks
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kootenay—Columbia
In office
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Jim Abbott
Succeeded by Wayne Stetski
Personal details
Born (1959-09-23) September 23, 1959 (age 57)
Lethbridge, Alberta
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Cindy
Children Amanda, Matthew and Christine
Residence Sparwood, British Columbia
Profession Police officer, politician

David Wilks (born September 23, 1959) is a Canadian politician and a former Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons. He was elected in the Kootenay—Columbia riding as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2011 election. In the 41st Canadian Parliament, Wilks was appointed to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and introduced one piece of legislation, a private members bill called An Act to amend the Criminal Code (kidnapping of young person) (C-299) which sought a minimum sentence of five years in prison for someone convicted of kidnapping a person under the age of 16.

Wilks, originally from Lethbridge, is a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer and entrepreneur. Between 1980 and 2000 he was assigned to several RCMP detachments in British Columbia. He was elected as a councillor for the District of Sparwood in 2002 and then as mayor in 2005. As mayor, he was appointed to the Regional District of East Kootenay and became the chair of the Regional Board. Wilks sought and won the Conservative Party nomination to replace retiring Kootenay—Columbia Member of Parliament Jim Abbott and was elected to Parliament in 2011.


David Wilks was born and raised in Lethbridge but after graduating high school he moved to Saskatoon. He worked briefly in the potash industry while under-going recruitment process. He attended RCMP Academy in Regina. His first assignment as an RCMP officer was to the Terrace detachment in 1980. Over his 20-year RCMP career he was subsequently assigned to the detachments in New Aiyansh, Golden, Penticton and Sparwood. He retired from the RCMP in 2000 while in Sparwood and bought a family entertainment business called Sparwood Bowl and Billiards Inc. with his wife.

In the 2002 BC municipal elections Wilks first stood for election. He was elected to a three-year term as a Sparwood municipal councillor. In the 2005 municipal elections he put his name forward in the mayoral election and successfully defeated the incumbent.[1] No one challenged Wilks during the 2008 municipal elections so he was acclaimed to a new 3-year term as mayor.[2] Along with being mayor, he was appointed by the Sparwood council to the Board of Directors at the Regional District of East Kootenay. Wilks and Sparwood gained national attention in late-December 2008 when an avalanche killed eight men on snowmobiles; Wilks established public trust accounts for the families of the victims and helped organize a memorial service which the Prime Minister attended.[3][4] At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, Wilks advocated expanding the Meth Watch program to include a registration system to track people to purchase components used in making methamphetamine.[5] At the Regional District, Wilks advocated for the provincial government to give the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort municipal status, removing the responsibility for public consultation and zoning from the Regional District and placing it with the province or a locally elected or appointed council. His March 2006 resolution was defeated, with Wilks being the only director to vote in favour.[6] Wilks re-introduced the motion in August 2009 and it was approved by the Board, though the province did not take any action.[7] In December 2009, the Regional Board elected Wilks to be the chair of the Regional District.[8]

Federal politics[edit]

In February 2010, Jim Abbott, the local member of parliament for the past 17 years, announced he would not seek re-election. Wilks endorsed Bill Bennett to replace Abbott[9] but Bennett declined.[10] The 50-year-old Wilks subsequently announced his intent to seek the Conservative Party nomination for the next election.[11] He stepped down from the Chair position at the Regional District to better focus on his campaign but remained a director.[12] In the March 2011 Conservative Party nomination election, Wilks faced three other candidates: a 29-year-old town councillor from Creston, a lawyer from Cranbrook, and an engineer also from Cranbrook. Wilks campaign unknowingly employed a con artist who stole an undisclosed sum of money before disappearing.[13] Despite the theft, Wilks won the nomination. During the campaign for the federal election, Wilks faced former Invermere mayor Mark Shmigelsky for NDP, and Kimberley residents Betty Aitchison, Bill Green, and Brent Bush. Wilks was seen as the front-runner but his campaign was criticized for avoiding all-candidate forums and debates,[14] skipping the forums in Revelstoke,[15] Kimberley,[16] and Invermere.[17] During the campaign, Wilks noted that he would seek to direct federal funds to improving the Trans-Canada Highway, "proper" punishment for criminals, and "proper" funding for the military, noting that his son was currently serving in the military as a combat engineer in Afghanistan.[18][19] Wilks won the Kootenay—Columbia riding with 56% of the vote.

As the 41st Parliament began, Wilks was not selected to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet. He was appointed to the 'Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development' and the 'Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations'. In the House of Commons, Wilks used his time on the floor on June 15, 2011, to describe why he sees the New Democratic Party as a "radical hard left" political party.[20] Following the high profile kidnapping of a three-year-old boy from his hometown of Sparwood, Wilks introduced a private members bill (C-299) which would create a five-year minimum sentence for people convicted of kidnapping a person under the age of 16.[21][22]

Wilks' comments about the 2012 Canadian federal budget made national headlines in May 2012. Speaking at a meeting with constituents in Revelstoke, Wilks stated his belief that the omnibus budget bill should be split into a series of smaller bills, but that as a backbench MP, he had little alternative but to vote in favour because “that's how Ottawa works.” Answering questions from the audience, he indicated that he and other backbenchers had little influence or input on the budget legislation. Two videos of Wilks' comments were posted online, with his permission. Shortly after the story broke, Wilks released a statement to the effect that he was in full support of the budget bill.[23][24]

During the 2015 Canadian federal election, Wilks made headlines for saying that it was "not fair" for Canadians to expect the government to take action on missing and murdered Indigenous women and that the matter should be dealt with simply as part of “missing and murdered people” in general, without using the term "Indigenous." Wilks ended up losing his seat to Wayne Stetski of the NDP in one of the closest races of the country by just 282 votes.[25]

Electoral history[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Wayne Stetski 23,529 37.23 -1.62
Conservative David Wilks 23,247 36.78 -13.31
Liberal Don Johnston 12,315 19.48 +16.00
Green Bill Green 4,115 6.51 +0.08
Total valid votes/Expense limit 63,206 100.00   $275,709.19
Total rejected ballots 197 0.31
Turnout 63,403 74.02
Eligible voters 85,653
New Democratic gain from Conservative Swing +5.84
Source: Elections Canada[26][27]
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative David Wilks 23,910 55.88 -3.71
New Democratic Mark Shmigelsky 14,199 33.18 +10.54
Green William Green 2,547 5.95 -4.06
Liberal Betty Aitchison 1,496 3.50 -4.25
Independent Brent Bush 636 1.49
Total valid votes/Expense limit 42,788 100.00
Total rejected ballots 142 0.33 0.0
Turnout 42,930 63.45 +3.69
Eligible voters 67,663


  1. ^ "A tale of two votes". The Lake Windermere Valley Echo. Invermere, British Columbia. November 23, 2005. p. 10. 
  2. ^ Warner, Gerry (October 15, 2008). "New faces abound in upcoming regional elections". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Van Rassel, Jason; Lori Culbert; Chad Skelton (December 31, 2008). "B.C. town grieves sons, best friends; Avalanche. Eighth missing man recovered from snow". The Gazette (Montreal). p. 8. 
  4. ^ Walton, Dawn; Justine Hunter (January 3, 2009). "A cold new year in the valley of tears". The Globe and Mail. p. 6. 
  5. ^ "Communities call for more action on meth". The Chilliwack Progress. October 27, 2006. p. 3. 
  6. ^ Coxford, Matt (March 6, 2006). "RDEK keeping Jumbo decision local: Future of proposed resort in hands of regional district after directors reject motion". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  7. ^ Pynn, Larry (August 8, 2009). "Ski resort transfer creates stir; Province accused of interference". Calgary Herald. p. 7. 
  8. ^ Warner, Gerry (December 7, 2009). "Wilks elected chair of RDEK". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Warner, Gerry (February 26, 2010). "Who will run?; Potential candidates come forward". Daily Bulletin. Kimberley, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  10. ^ Warner, Gerry (April 6, 2010). "With Bennett out of the running, who will succeed local MP Jim Abbott?". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  11. ^ Warner, Gerry (April 9, 2010). "Wilks first to declare for Tories". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  12. ^ Warner, Gerry (May 11, 2010). "Wilks steps down as RDEK chairman". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  13. ^ Warner, Gerry (August 26, 2010). "Chartier splits, Wilks left with debt". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  14. ^ Warner, Gerry (April 28, 2011). "If the riding's 'in play,' someone's not playing". Daily Bulletin. Kimberley, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  15. ^ Cooper, Alex (April 13, 2011). "All-candidates forum lacks spark with front-runner absent". Revelstoke Times Review. Revelstoke, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  16. ^ Grant, Carolyn (April 20, 2011). "Candidates forum in Kimberley". Daily Bulletin. Kimberley, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  17. ^ Crane, Darryl (April 26, 2011). "Kootenay-Columbia hopefuls meet in Invermere". The Lake Windermere Valley Echo. Invermere, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  18. ^ "Meet the candidates - David Wilks, Conservative". The Kootenay Advertiser. Cranbrook, British Columbia. April 27, 2011. p. 8. 
  19. ^ Sander-Green, Nadine (April 11, 2011). "The Candidates Talk: Top five issues in our riding". The Golden Star. Golden, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  20. ^ David Wilks (June 15, 2011). 41st Partliament, 1st Session - Hansard Number 009: Statements by Members (Speech). Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  21. ^ Grant, Annalee (September 30, 2011). "No fooling around for stranger abductors". Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, British Columbia. Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. 
  22. ^ Matas, Robert (September 20, 2011). "Hopley considered high risk, documents show". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  23. ^ MacCharles, Tonda (May 23, 2012). "Conservative MP David Wilks breaks ranks and says budget bill should be split up". Toronto Star. Toronto Star. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ David Wilks (May 23, 2012). "Statement in response to a media report on Bill C-38". Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ McSheffrey, Elizabeth (4 September 2015). ""Not fair" to expect government action on missing, murdered Indigenous women: Conservative MP". Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  26. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Kootenay—Columbia, 30 September 2015
  27. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.

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