Mike de Jong

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The honourable
Mike de Jong
Q.C., MLA
Minister of Forests of British Columbia
In office
June 5, 2001 – June 16, 2005
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Gordon Wilson
Succeeded by Rich Coleman
Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services of British Columbia
In office
June 16, 2005 – August 15, 2006
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Graham Bruce
Succeeded by Olga Ilich
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation of British Columbia
In office
August 15, 2006 – June 10, 2009
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Tom Christensen
Succeeded by George Abbott
Attorney General of British Columbia
In office
June 10, 2009 – December 1, 2010
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Wally Oppal
Succeeded by Barry Penner
Solicitor General of British Columbia
In office
April 9, 2010 – October 25, 2010
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Kash Heed
Succeeded by Rich Coleman
Minister of Health of British Columbia
In office
March 14, 2011 – September 5, 2012
Premier Christy Clark
Preceded by Colin Hansen
Succeeded by Margaret MacDiarmid
Minister of Finance of British Columbia
Assumed office
September 5, 2012
Premier Christy Clark
Preceded by Kevin Falcon
Personal details
Born 1963/1964 (age 51–52)
Political party Liberal

Mike de Jong, Q.C. (born 1963 or 1964) is a provincial politician and cabinet minister from British Columbia, Canada.[1]

Early life[edit]

De Jong was born to Dutch parents who immigrated to Canada after Canadian soldiers liberated The Netherlands in World War II. At age eight, he and his family moved to a farm in the District of Matsqui in British Columbia. He attended Abbotsford's last single-room elementary school and worked as farm labourer as an early teen.[2]

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and a law degree from the University of Alberta.

After graduating from law school, De Jong returned to Matsqui to set up a law practice and was elected at age 26 as one of Canada's youngest school board members.[2]

Provincial politics[edit]

In 1994, De Jong was recruited by Gordon Campbell of the British Columbia Liberal Party to compete against new Social Credit Party leader Grace McCarthy in a byelection in Matsqui.

The Socreds had represented the riding for 42 years until De Jong defeated McCarthy by a margin of 42 votes.[2]

McCarthy had been attempting to rebuild the province's governing political party. Shortly after the loss, McCarthy resigned as Social Credit Party leader, and the party failed to elect any members in the subsequent provincial election in 1996.

De Jong was re-elected in the 1996, 2001, and 2005 elections in the new riding of Abbotsford-Mount Lehman, and in the newly created riding of Abbotsford West in the 2009 election.

De Jong was a member of the Official Opposition between 1994 and 2001. In the Liberal government, he served as government house leader

On December 1, 2010, Mike de Jong announced that he would seek the leadership of the BC Liberal Party, in the February 26, 2011 leadership election. He placed fourth in the leadership election, which was won by Christy Clark.[3]

He was appointed minister of finance on September 5, 2012. He previously held the posts of Minister of Health,[4] attorney general, Labour and Citizen Services, Forests, Public Safety, and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

Controversy[edit]

As an Opposition Critic, De Jong was regarded as very vocal. He was ejected from the legislature for calling then-Attorney General Colin Gableman a "liar" and was later sued for libel by federal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal.[2]

In 2004, as Minister of Forests, De Jong removed 70,000 hectares of land from TFL 44 with no compensation from the owner and against the recommendations of ministry staff. This effectively privatized what had been Crown Land without compensation to the province. The changes made allowed the wood to be exported as raw logs rather than lumber. It also allowed for its eventual development. The land in question was under dispute by the Hupacasath First Nation and also the Tseshaht First Nation. No consultation took place and the bands have since filed legal action.[5][6] He has also been linked to other such privatizations of Crown forest land.[7]

In 2010, De Jong faced further controversy when, as attorney general, he approved the payment of $6 million in legal fees for Liberal Party insiders David Basi and Robert Virk who pleaded guilty to charges of breach of trust and accepting benefits in connection with the sale of BC Rail in 2003. De Jong defended his actions saying the government's Legal Services Branch had recommended they not try to collect the funds since the aides did not have any money.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Open Mike' promises a 'fresh start'; MLA Mike de Jong starts campaign by distancing himself from Premier Campbell by Ward, Doug . The Vancouver Sun 02 Dec 2010: A.2.
  2. ^ a b c d Shaw, Rob (May 23, 2015). "Finance minister learned frugality on Fraser Valley farm". The Vancouver Sun. 
  3. ^ B.C.’s new premier Christy Clark puts job creation, families atop agenda
  4. ^ Fayerman, Pamela (Dec 26, 2011). "BC health minister Mike de Jong: his first major interview". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Valley, Alberni (2008-05-09). "Opposition pounces on TFL 44 revelations". Canada.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  6. ^ http://www.cstc.bc.ca/news/text/243/12/
  7. ^ Damonse, Anthony (2011-01-12). "Kitimat Sentinel - ‘Mistake’ not adjusting min. wage". Bclocalnews.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  8. ^ "BC Rail defendants' $6M tab footed by taxpayers". CBC.ca. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 

External links[edit]