|Richard "Rick" Dykstra|
|Member of Parliament
for St. Catharines
|Preceded by||Walt Lastewka|
April 10, 1966 |
|Residence||St. Catharines, Ontario|
|Profession||Businessman, public affairs executive|
Richard "Rick" Dykstra (born April 10, 1966 in Grimsby, Ontario) is a Canadian politician. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2006 federal election, for the Ontario riding of St. Catharines. Dykstra is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was re-elected in the 2008 federal election and is the current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Early life and career
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. He served for twelve years as president of Dykstra Landscaping, a family business.
St. Catharines municipal politics
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.
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.
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. Including $200 dinners at Toronto's Bier Market and Fiddlers Green pub.
Dykstra was appointed to the Niagara Parks Commission in 2003.
Member of Parliament
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 serves as a member of the Standing Committees on Justice and Finance. 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?" 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. 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.
In April 2008, Dykstra introduced a motion to have the Finance Committee study the abolishment of the penny. He later brought forward a motion to have the Justice Committee study the investigative approach of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
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.
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.
On September 7, 2010, the federal Ethics Commissioner, issued a report 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, 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.
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|New Democratic||George Addision||9,428||18.4%||-2,405|
|Total valid votes||51,144|
|Canadian federal election, 2006: St. Catharines|
|New Democratic||Jeff Burch||11,849||20.5||+1.2||$15,482.42|
|Christian Heritage||Bill Bylsma||499||0.9||−0.5||$8,736.24|
|Total valid votes||57,846||100.0|
|Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.|
|Candidate||Total votes||% of total votes|
|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.
- St. Catharines overview, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Canada Votes 2006.
- 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.
- Richard Mackie, "Rae considers gas tax cut to combat U.S. shopping", Globe and Mail, 4 March 1992, A5.
- "Library won't lend book on Bernardo", Toronto Star, 13 October 1996, A15.
- David Reevely, "Baird vows to repay bar bills", Ottawa Citizen, 14 June 2002, F3.
- 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.
- 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.
- Carol Phillips, "Niagara West-Glanbrook to the wire", Hamilton Spectator, 29 June 2004, A19.
- Rick Dykstra – Parliament of Canada biography
- The Standing Committee on Finance released its report Taxing Income Trusts: Reconcilable or Irreconcilable differences? 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.
- Karena Walter, "Federal Conservatives introduce bill to repeal faint-hope clause", The Standard, 18 April 2007.
- Grant LaFleche, "Time to change sentencing practices: Dykstra",St Catharines Standard, 22 May 2008, A3
- "Commons Finance Committee to study abandoning the penny", St. Catharines Standard, 9 April 2008, A5.
- Matthew Van Dongen, "MP wants review of human rights commission", St. Catharines Standard, 5 June 2008, A4
- Grant LaFleche, "Dykstra under fire for using BlackBerry at ceremony". St. Catharines Standard, 13 November 2009, A1.