Doug Donaldson

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Doug Donaldson
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Stikine
Assumed office
May 12, 2009
Preceded by Dennis MacKay
Personal details
Born (1957-01-20) January 20, 1957 (age 60)
Political party New Democrat
Residence Hazelton
Occupation Politician, journalist

Doug Donaldson (born January 20, 1957) is a Canadian politician. He is a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and a member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the riding of Stikine in the 2009 provincial election and re-elected in the 2013 election. During the 39th Parliament of British Columbia he served as deputy chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services which did public consultation regarding government budget and spending priorities. With his party forming the Official Opposition in the 39th Parliament, Donaldson has served as the critic of Mines since July 2012, deputy critic on Energy since April 2011, as well as deputy critic on Finance between June 2009 and July 2012. During the 40th Parliament, beginning in 2013 he was reassigned to be the critic for aboriginal relations and reconciliation.

Prior to becoming an MLA, Donaldson had lived in numerous towns in British Columbia, including Field, British Columbia where he worked in Yoho National Park, Prince George, Telkwa, Houston, and Smithers. He eventually settled in Hazelton where he worked with the Gitxsan Nation and ran a non-profit organization, the Storytellers Foundation, which focused on community-level economic development. He spent ten years as a municipal councilors, having been elected or acclaimed in the 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009 local government elections.

Background[edit]

With his father working in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Doug Donaldson was born in 1957 at the Canadian Forces' Zweibrücken Air Base in Germany.[1] Donaldson completed a bachelor's degree in Biology and moved to Field, British Columbia where he worked in Yoho National Park for 8 years before leading private guided tours of the area.[2] After completing a Masters in Journalism he had numerous articles published in the Calgary Herald and The Vancouver Sun but moved to Smithers where he wrote for a local newspaper, The Interior News. He took a job in Prince George with the CBC Morning Show but moved back to the Bulkley Valley area, living in Telkwa as a technologist in the forestry industry before moving to Houston working as a manager at Northwest Community College.[3] Finally, Donaldson settled in Hazelton where he became the communications officer for the Gitxsan Treaty Office.[4] In 1992, he starting teaching journalism at the Gitxsan Wet'suwet'en Education Society.[5] In 1994, he co-founded the non-profit group Storytellers Foundation which focuses on civic literacy and economic development on the community-level.[3]

He got involved in municipal politics in 1999 when he became a member of the Hazelton municipal council. He retained his seat in the 2002 local government elections,[6] and won re-election in November 2005. For the May 2005 provincial election, Donaldson put his name forward to represent the BC New Democratic Party in the Bulkley Valley-Stikine constituency. In the nomination race he defeated three other candidates, including the former MLA Bill Goodacre.[7] This riding was expected to be competitive as it had traditionally supported the NDP but was being held by BC Liberal Party member Dennis MacKay.[8] Donaldson was supported party leader Carole James who visited the riding during the campaign[9] but had to defend party campaign promises that appeared to mean removing provincial funding for major upgrades to a Smithers ice arena and a Houston swimming pool.[10] Also, during the election campaign, Elections BC identified third-party advertising violations at Donaldson’s campaign office where they were distributing B.C. Government Employees Union-sponsored lawn signs; Elections BC told the campaign office to cease the distribution and account for the signs as part of their own campaign expenditures.[11] Mackay, a retired provincial coroner, won re-election by defeating Donaldson.

Donaldson would again be the NDP nominee for the 2009 provincial election, but in the years between the election he continued to being active on the Hazelton council. He led the council and the Union of B.C. Municipalities to adopt a resolution asking the province to place a moratorium on new fish farm licences until the report by the provincial Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture was made public.[12][13] Donaldson also supported efforts which called for a suspension of the Klappan Coalbed Methane Project in the Sacred Headwaters.[14]

Provincial politics[edit]

For the May 2009 provincial election Donaldson won the NDP nomination in March[15] and campaigned throughout April and May. Party leader Carole James visited the riding to support Donaldson.[16] The incumbent, Dennis MacKay, had retired but Donaldson faced two new opponents: vehicle service manager Scott Groves for the BC Liberals and Smithers HVAC engineer Roger Benham for the BC Green Party. While Donaldson won the riding, the BC Liberals were re-elected to form another majority government. The BC NDP formed the official opposition and Bruce Ralston was named Finance critic with Donaldson as his deputy.[17] During the 39th Parliament he was appointed to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services where he served as deputy chair. As part of this committee he traveled the province for public consultation on budget matters. In the first session (2009), Donaldson and the NDP supported 75% of the recommendations, dissenting on the others that related to the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Donaldson was opposed to the replacement of the Provincial Sales Tax with the HST, claiming that the BC Liberals were "wildly inflating its benefits".[18] During the second session (2010), Donaldson again traveled the province with the committee but led the NDP in withdrawing their participation after Premier Gordon Campbell announced, two weeks before the committee's report was due, that he had already allocated all the province's discretionary funding.[19] A petition asking to the HST to be repealed was circulated within his riding; the FightHST organization claimed 3,648 people (30% of voters) signed in the Stikine riding[20] and in the Summer 2011 referendum on the issue 3,300 people in the riding voted to repeal the HST.

Donaldson opened two constituency offices, one in Hazelton and the other in Smithers. On local issues, Donaldson, along with his federal counterpart Nathan Cullen, tried to stop Nav Canada from replacing flight observers with electronic monitoring devices at the Smithers Airport.[21] Donaldson initiated a writing contest supported by hockey player Dan Hamhuis, the Gitxsan Nation, and the Community Police, where youths described how sports activities helped them resist gang activity and contributed to their community.[22] Donaldson became an advocate of strong environmental assessment reviews as a means of creating investor certainty in projects.[23] His opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines angered Premier Campbell.[24][25] Donaldson was critical of the provincial government's negotiation skills with federal government on RCMP contracts and funding relating to changes in crime legislation[26] and with First Nations engagement on mining proposals.[27]

Donaldson was a supporter of BC NDP leader Carole James,[28] but after her resignation, he supported Mike Farnworth during the leadership election, citing Farnworth's view of rural economic development which includes using a triple bottom line that involves social, environmental and economic criteria.[29] Due to the leadership election, Donaldson also became the NDP critic on Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, in addition to being the deputy critic on Finance.[30] Adrian Dix eventually won the leadership and kept Ralston and Donaldson as the critic and deputy critic on Finance but moved Donaldson to deputy critic on Energy and Mines. A year later, in July 2012, Dix split the Energy and Mines critic role and appointed Donaldson to be critic of Mines, while removing him from the Finance portfolio. As critic of Mines, Donaldson questioned the government's approval of allowing 200 temporary foreign workers to fill positions in a Tumbler Ridge coal mine but was supportive of the government's refusal of a copper-gold-molybdenum mine, near Granisle, due to the adverse effects on fisheries.

Entering the May 2013 general election, Donaldson was acclaimed as the NDP candidate in December 2012 with his primary opponent Sharon Hartwell, the former mayor of Telkwa, being announced as the BC Liberal candidate in April. Also in the election, Donaldson faced Roger Benham of the BC Green Party again, as well as the former leader of the Christian Heritage Party Rod Taylor, BC Conservative Jonathan Dieleman, and independent candidate Jesse O'Leary. The polls projected Donaldson and the NDP to win the election. While Donaldson did win re-election, the NDP again formed the Official Opposition to the BC Liberals who won an expanded majority. As the 40th Parliament began, Donaldson was reassigned to be the critic for aboriginal relations and reconciliation.

Election history[edit]

British Columbia general election, 2005: Bulkley Valley-Stikine
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Liberal Dennis MacKay 6,279 48.30% $96,735
New Democratic Doug Donaldson 5,177 39.82% $50,561
Green Leanna Mitchell 769 5.91% $3,466
Democratic Reform Nipper Kettle 354 2.72% $2,899
Marijuana Reginald Bruce Gunanoot 205 1.58% $100
British Columbia Party Jack Kortmeyer 175 1.35% $344
People's Front Frank Martin 41 0.32% $540
Total Valid Votes 13,000 100%
Total Rejected Ballots 60 0.46%
Turnout 13,060 68.78%
British Columbia general election, 2009: Stikine
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
New Democratic Doug Donaldson 4,274 50.4 $43,322
Liberal Scott Groves 3,829 45.1 $81,572
Green Roger Benham 375 4.4 $692
Total Valid Votes 8,478 100
Total Rejected Ballots 94 1.1
Turnout 8,572 65.3
British Columbia general election, 2013: Stikine
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
New Democratic Doug Donaldson 3,769 46.58 $49,847
Liberal Sharon Hartwell 2,995 37.01 $45,162
Conservative Jonathan Dieleman 500 6.18 $6,705
Christian Heritage Rod Taylor 486 6.01 $14,482
Green Roger Benham 286 3.53 $480
Independent Jesse O'Leary 56 0.69 $380
Total Valid Votes 8,092 100
Total Rejected Ballots 35 0.4
Turnout 8,697 62.8

References[edit]

  1. ^ "North can no longer be ignored: Donaldson". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. April 22, 2009. p. 7. 
  2. ^ Donaldson, Doug (January 26, 1990). "Case of the Cosmic Lawnmower". Calgary Herald. p. C1. 
  3. ^ a b "From council to parliament: Donaldson to Victoria as MLA". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. May 27, 2009. p. C2. 
  4. ^ Donaldson, Doug (February 9, 1996). "The Gitxsan cause's indispensible tool". The Vancouver Sun. p. 19. 
  5. ^ Donaldson, Doug (May 5, 1994). "Jack Cram's corruption tirade tests the resolve of land-claims chiefs". The Vancouver Sun. p. 13. 
  6. ^ "Local Election Results 2002". The Province. Vancouver. November 17, 2002. p. 24. 
  7. ^ "NDP set to decide". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. February 17, 2005. p. 8. 
  8. ^ "10 ridings to watch around B.C.". The Province. Vancouver. May 15, 2005. p. 16. 
  9. ^ "James rallies Valley troops in run-up to provincial election". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. March 31, 2005. p. 1. 
  10. ^ "Donaldson denies NDP will cut second ice sheet funding". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. April 21, 2005. p. 1. 
  11. ^ "Donaldson campaign in trouble". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. May 5, 2005. pp. 1–2. 
  12. ^ "Hazelton fish farm resolution passes". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. November 9, 2006. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "MacKay goofs at UBCM, tries to cast vote on fish farms". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. November 16, 2006. p. 1. 
  14. ^ Schumacher, Kris (September 29, 2008). "Success in bid to halt methane project". Daily News. Prince Rupert, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Stikine NDPers choose candidate". Terrace Standard. Terrace, British Columbia. March 3, 2009. p. 9. 
  16. ^ Bermingham, John (May 5, 2009). "NDP leader tries to tap into rural anger". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. p. 2. 
  17. ^ Austin, Ian (June 12, 2009). "NDP shadow cabinet set, ready to rumble". The Province. Vancouver. p. 6. 
  18. ^ Hoekstra, Gordon (May 6, 2011). "HST callers vent at Liberals". Prince George Citizen. p. 4. 
  19. ^ Palmer, Vaughn (November 6, 2010). "Premier's move undercuts budget consultations". The Vancouver Sun. p. 3. 
  20. ^ Orr, Cameron (August 18, 2010). "HST petition signed by 3,648 in Stikine". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  21. ^ Donaldson, Doug (July 8, 2009). "MLA will fight NavCan". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. p. 5. 
  22. ^ Orr, Cameron (March 11, 2011). "Gang life target in MLA essay contest". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  23. ^ "Transmission line not the enemy". Houston Today. Houston, British Columbia. September 30, 2009. p. 4. 
  24. ^ "MLA, Premier lock horns over pipeline". Houston Today. Houston, British Columbia. March 31, 2010. p. 6. 
  25. ^ "Provincial NDP caucus speaks out against pipeline". Terrace Standard. Terrace, British Columbia. April 30, 2012. p. 1. 
  26. ^ Donaldson: Province needs better negotiation skills. The Interior News [Smithers, B.C] 18 Apr 2012: 1.
  27. ^ Donaldson, Doug (May 15, 2012). "Failure to engage first nations snags mining plans". The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver. p. A13. 
  28. ^ Orr, Cameron (December 15, 2010). "James' resignation means energy can be redirected". The Interior News. Smithers, British Columbia. p. 9. 
  29. ^ "Northern MLA announces his support for Farnworth". Terrace Standard. Terrace, British Columbia. February 13, 2011. p. 1. 
  30. ^ Austin, Ian (January 27, 2011). "Provincial budget Feb. 15 unlikely to rock any boats". The Province. Vancouver. p. 8. 

External links[edit]