Rick Dykstra

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Rick Dykstra
President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
In office
March 10, 2016 – January 28, 2018
Preceded byRichard Ciano
Succeeded byJag Badwal
Member of Parliament
for St. Catharines
In office
January 23, 2006 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byWalt Lastewka
Succeeded byChris Bittle
Personal details
Richard Dykstra

(1966-04-10) April 10, 1966 (age 52)
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
Political partyProg. Conservative (ON)
Conservative (federal)
Spouse(s)Kathy Dykstra
ResidenceSt. Catharines, Ontario
EducationBrock University
York University
ProfessionBusinessman, public affairs executive

Richard "Rick" Dykstra (born April 10, 1966) is a Canadian politician. He served as president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario from 2016 to 2018.[1] He also served as the MP for the Ontario riding of St. Catharines from 2006 to 2015. He was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2006 federal election. He was re-elected in 2008 and 2011 but was defeated by Liberal candidate Chris Bittle in the 2015 federal election.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Dykstra was born in Grimsby, Ontario. Dykstra's parents, born in the Netherlands, emigrated to Montreal in 1951 and moved to the area around Halifax a year later, where they started an agricultural company. Dykstra has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Brock University, and a Master's Certificate in Project Management from York University.[3] He served for twelve years as president of Dykstra Landscaping, a family business.

His brother, Larry Dykstra, was a Niagara Regional Councillor from 1994 to 1997.[4]

Municipal politics[edit]

Dykstra served on the St. Catharines City Council from 1991 to 1997, representing St. Patrick's ward. In 1992, he encouraged the provincial government of Bob Rae to lower its gas tax to combat cross-border shopping, which was adversely affecting Ontario businesses.[5]

He served as chair of the Standing Committee on Finance for five of the six years he served on Council. He was responsible for the first budget to decrease spending in a budget year. He also served six years on the Library Board and chaired the board in 1997.

In 1996, he attempted to have a book entitled Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams banned from the city library. The book detailed the crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Bernardo and Homolka were former residents of St. Catharines, and Dykstra argued that he was acting to protect the interests of their victims. The board voted to keep the book in circulation, but ruled that patrons could not remove it from the library.[6]

Dykstra ran for mayor of St. Catharines in 1997, and finished second against Tim Rigby.

Working in provincial politics[edit]

Dykstra worked for the Ontario provincial government from 1998 to 2002, during Mike Harris's administration, and served in two Ministries and in the Office of the Premier. He worked at Management Board as a senior policy advisor, served as chief of staff to Minister of Community and Social Services John Baird, and was director of caucus and public relations. While working for John Baird, Dykstra was among a group of political staff members who were criticized for excessive expense spending. Between January 2000 and March 2001, Dykstra billed over $7,000 while serving as Baird's executive assistant.[7] Including $200 dinners at Toronto's Bier Market and Fiddlers Green pub.[8]

Dykstra was appointed to the Niagara Parks Commission in 2003.[9]

Federal politics[edit]

Dykstra co-chaired Conservative candidate Dean Allison's campaign in Niagara West—Glanbrook for the 2004 federal election.[10] Dykstra was first elected to the House of Commons in 2006, defeating Liberal incumbent Walt Lastewka by 244 votes, one of the closest races in the country. The Conservative Party won a minority government in the election, and Dykstra sat in parliament as a government backbencher and served as a member of the Standing Committees on Justice and Finance.[11] In 2007, he co-authored the "Dissenting Opinion of the Conservative Party of Canada" to a document entitled "Taxing Income Trusts: Reconcilable or Irreconcilable differences?"[12] which agreed with the government's decision to implement a 31.5% tax on income trusts.

In April 2007, Dykstra and his colleague Dean Allison introduced a private member's bill proposing to eliminate the so-called faint-hope clause.[13] In November 2007, he introduced a private member's bill seeking to end the practice of giving double-credit for time served in custody prior to sentencing.[14]

In April 2008, Dykstra introduced a motion to have the Finance Committee study the abolishment of the penny.[15] He later brought forward a motion to have the Justice Committee study the investigative approach of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.[16]

On November 7, 2008, Dykstra was appointed by the Prime Minister as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Parliamentary Secretaries are charged with coordinating government policy through the committee process, and responding to questions in the House of Commons when the Minister is on official business.[17]

On September 7, 2010, the federal Ethics Commissioner, issued a report[18] in which the Commissioner found that “Mr. Dykstra personally solicited funds from individuals with whom he had official dealings shortly before and after the fundraising event”. While the Commissioner determined that this soliciting was not in breach of the Conflict of Interest Act,[19] the Commissioner did note that, in this case, the Act was a lesser standard than under the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders which applied before the Stephen Harper government came to power.[20] Commissioner Dawson issued a warning to Dykstra to exercise caution in the future when making decisions that would have a significant impact on those he was soliciting donations from.[21]

In 2010 and 2012 Dykstra caused further controversy when he voted against pro-life legislation, in particular Bill C-510 and Motion 312. Motion 312 was a motion that would study when life began, his decision was seen as hypocritical because in a 2006 survey put out by Campaign Life Coalition, Dykstra was listed as believing that life began at conception. In that same survey, Dykstra said that he would support measures to pass legislation to restrict abortion. Bill C-510, also known as Roxanne's Law, was proposed in order to protect pregnant women from being forced into abortion, and so his decision to vote against it in 2010, was also seen as hypocritical.[22] On November 11, 2009, Dykstra received criticism when he was photographed using his BlackBerry during a Remembrance Day ceremony in St. Catharines. Dykstra stated that he was writing a brief note about the event to be uploaded to his blog and using the device's camera to photograph the wreaths. The photograph was taken by Renate Hodges, the campaign manager for former Liberal candidate, Walt Lastewka.[23]

In August 2015, Dykstra was present for the raising of the Pride flag at city hall in St. Catharines, in support of the gay and lesbian community in St. Catharines.[24]

On October 2, 2015, BuzzFeed reported that Dykstra bought alcohol for high school aged girls at a nightclub in St. Catharines on September 2, 2015 and that an associate and supporter of his had offered a 16-year-old girl indefinite VIP service at the same club once she became of legal drinking age if she would refrain from tweeting about the night and if she would claim that Dykstra never bought her drinks. Dykstra denied he knowingly bought under age girls any alcohol saying that he assumed anyone at the nightclub was of legal drinking age.[25][26][27]

On October 19, 2015, Dykstra lost his seat to Liberal candidate Chris Bittle.[28]

Provincial politics[edit]

In December, 2015, Dykstra announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.[29] On March 6, 2016, Dykstra was acclaimed President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario at its General Meeting in Ottawa,[30] after his friend Patrick Brown, who had won the party leadership the year before, negotiated a deal to get the only other candidate to drop out.[31]

On October 22, 2016, Dykstra's bid to stand for a by-election in Niagara-West Glanbrook was defeated by the local party membership, who nominated in his stead socially and politically conservative 19-year-old Brock University student Sam Oosterhoff.[32]

Dykstra resigned as party president on January 28, 2018, several days after party leader Patrick Brown was forced to resign due to allegations of sexual misconduct.[1] Dykstra resigned hours after Maclean's contacted him for reaction to allegations by a former staffer to another Conservative MP that she has been sexually assaulted by Dykstra the night the 2014 Canadian federal budget was released. According to the article, which was published later that night, the allegation had been brought to the attention of the Conservative campaign war room during the 2015 federal election, but Dykstra was not dropped as a candidate.[31] On February 2, 2018, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper revealed in a statement that he knew about the allegations during the 2015 election but could not justify removing him as a candidate because the investigation was closed by police a year ago.[33] However, this incident created a tense discussion between the campaign chair Guy Giorno, the campaign manager, Jenni Byrne, who advocated for his removal as a candidate while party lawyer Arthur Hamilton and Ray Novak, Harper's chief of staff, arugued against his removal during the campaign.[34]

On January 31, 2018, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer ordered a third-party investigation into the facts surrounding how Dykstra remained a candidate in the 2015 election after fellow MP Michelle Rempel public declared her outrage over the incident while MP Maxime Bernier and Brad Trost publicly demanded an investigation.[35]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Chris Bittle 24,870 43.18 +22.49 $100,562.32
Conservative Rick Dykstra 21,637 37.57 -13.09 $188,880.75
New Democratic Susan Erskine-Fournier 9,511 16.51 -7.44 $30,053.13
Green Jim Fannon 1,488 2.58 -1.25
Communist Saleh Waziruddin 85 0.15 -0.05
Total valid votes/Expense limit 57,591 100.0   $222,166.81
Total rejected ballots 243
Turnout 57,834
Eligible voters 84,474
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +17.79
Source: Elections Canada[36][37][38]
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Rick Dykstra 25,571 50.9% 2,087 $86,316.87
New Democratic Mike Williams 11,973 23.8% 2,545 $6,754.54
Liberal Andrew Gill 10,358 20.6% -4,294 $76,632.64
Green Jennifer Mooradian 1,924 3.8% -1,553 $2,828.62
Communist Saleh Waziruddin 91 0.2% -22 $502.88
Christian Heritage Dave Bylsma 357 0.7% 357 $8,053.79
Total valid votes 50,274
Rejected ballots 226
Turnout 50,500
Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Rick Dykstra 23,474 45.9% 1,770
Liberal Walt Lastewka 14,652 28.6% -6,775
New Democratic George Addision 9,428 18.4% -2,405
Green Jim Fannon 3,477 6.8% 1,163
Communist Sam Hammond 113 0.2% 146
Total valid votes 51,144
Rejected ballots 161
Turnout 51,305
Canadian federal election, 2006: St. Catharines
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Rick Dykstra 21,668 37.5 +2.8 $78,093.76
Liberal Walt Lastewka 21,424 37.0 −3.4 $76,408.07
New Democratic Jeff Burch 11,849 20.5 +1.2 $15,482.42
Green Jim Fannon 2,306 4.0 +0.3 $991.15
Christian Heritage Bill Bylsma 499 0.9 −0.5 $8,736.24
Marxist–Leninist Elaine Couto 100 0.2 +0.1
Total valid votes 57,846 100.0
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
1997 St. Catharines municipal election, Mayoredit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes Notes
Tim Rigby 14,193 42.32
Rick Dykstra 11,181 33.34
Tom Derreck 8,162 24.34
Total valid votes 33,536 100.00

Dykstra was elected to the St. Catharines city council for Ward Four (St. Patrick's Ward) in 1991 and 1994.

All federal election information is taken from Elections Canada. Italicized expenditures refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed total are not available.

The 1997 municipal results are taken from the Hamilton Spectator, 11 November 1997, B9. The final official results were not significantly different.


  1. ^ a b Rizza, Alanna (January 28, 2018). "Ontario PC party president Rick Dykstra resigns". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/10/20/dykstra-allen-loses-their-seats-but-nicholson-allison-withstand-the-red-tide
  3. ^ St. Catharines overview, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Canada Votes 2006.
  4. ^ Larry Dykstra was listed as president of Dykstra Landscaping and Greenhouses in a 2002 newspaper article. See "Thousands of flowers from St. Catharines head to U.S. for Sept. 11 services", Canadian Press, 4 September 2002, 13:46 report. He is also active with the Conservative Party.
  5. ^ Richard Mackie, "Rae considers gas tax cut to combat U.S. shopping", Globe and Mail, 4 March 1992, A5.
  6. ^ "Library won't lend book on Bernardo", Toronto Star, 13 October 1996, A15.
  7. ^ David Reevely, "Baird vows to repay bar bills", Ottawa Citizen, 14 June 2002, F3.
  8. ^ Richard Brennan, "Taxpayers pay Baird's doughnuts and dinner; Average monthly bill for Tory minister and staff tops $900", Toronto Star, 11 April 2002, A3.
  9. ^ http://www.ontla.on.ca/hansard/committee_debates/37_parl/Session3/agencies/A015.htm#P605_138704 Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Standing Committee on Government Agencies, 26 February 2003.
  10. ^ Carol Phillips, "Niagara West-Glanbrook to the wire", Hamilton Spectator, 29 June 2004, A19.
  11. ^ Rick Dykstra – Parliament of Canada biography
  12. ^ The Standing Committee on Finance released its report Taxing Income Trusts: Reconcilable or Irreconcilable differences? Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine on February 28, 2007 following the committee's hearings in January and February 2007 examining the proposed changes in rules on Income Trust taxation. Dykstra co-authored the Dissenting Opinion of the Conservative Party of Canada which recommended:
    The federal government implement the Tax Fairness Plan as outlined in Ways and Means Motion No. 10 – including a 31.5% tax on income trust distributions, a four-year transition period for existing trusts, and pension income splitting for seniors – adopted November 7th, 2006 with the support of the majority of the House of Commons. House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (February 28, 2007). "Taxing Income Trusts: Reconcilable or Irreconcilable differences? pages 43-46" (PDF). House of Commons Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007.
  13. ^ Karena Walter, "Federal Conservatives introduce bill to repeal faint-hope clause", The Standard, 18 April 2007.
  14. ^ Grant LaFleche, "Time to change sentencing practices: Dykstra",St Catharines Standard, 22 May 2008, A3
  15. ^ "Commons Finance Committee to study abandoning the penny", St. Catharines Standard, 9 April 2008, A5.
  16. ^ Matthew Van Dongen, "MP wants review of human rights commission", St. Catharines Standard, 5 June 2008, A4
  17. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1286643
  18. ^ http://ciec-ccie.gc.ca/resources/Files/English/Public%20Reports/Examination%20Reports/The%20Dykstra%20Report.pdf
  19. ^ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-36.65/index.html
  20. ^ O'Malley, Kady (7 September 2010). "EthicsWatch: Rick Dykstra cleared of conflict of interest complaint". CBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  21. ^ LaFleche, Grant (7 September 2010). "Dykstra cleared by ethics commissioner 0". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  22. ^ "An Underage Girl Says She Was Offered A Bribe To Deny Drinking With Conservative MP Rick Dykstra". BuzzFeed.
  23. ^ Grant LaFleche, "Dykstra under fire for using BlackBerry at ceremony". St. Catharines Standard, 13 November 2009, A1.
  24. ^ nurun.com. "LaFleche: The calculus of civic unity". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  25. ^ "Conservative MP Rick Dykstra denies claim he bought alcohol for underage girls at nightclub". National Post. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Conservative incumbent Rick Dysktra denies buying vodka for teens at nightclub". CBC Hamilton. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  27. ^ "CONSERVATIVE MP RICK DYKSTRA EXPOSED BY ANTI-ABORTION CAMPAIGN". Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  28. ^ "Dykstra concedes defeat, looks to achievements". St. Catharines Standard. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  29. ^ https://www.facebook.com/RickDykstraPC/?fref=ts
  30. ^ "PC Party of Ontario". Ontario PC. March 11, 2016.
  31. ^ a b Maher, Stephan (January 28, 2018). "Ontario PC Party president Rick Dykstra resigns after sexual assault accusation". Maclean's. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  32. ^ "19-year-old wins PC nomination for Niagara West-Glanbrook". CBC News. The Canadian Press. October 23, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  33. ^ "Harper says he could not justify dumping Dykstra in 2015". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  34. ^ "Inside the explosive Conservative Party fight over Rick Dykstra - Macleans.ca". Macleans.ca. 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  35. ^ Wherry, Aaron (January 31, 2018). "Scheer orders investigation into Dykstra candidacy following sexual assault allegation". CBC News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  36. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for St. Catharines, 30 September 2015
  37. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  38. ^ "Election Night Results - Elections Canada". p. Ontario, St. Catharines. Retrieved 23 October 2015.

External links[edit]