Rick Dykstra

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Rick Dykstra
President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Assumed office
Preceded by Richard Ciano
Member of Parliament
for St. Catharines
In office
January 23, 2006 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Walt Lastewka
Succeeded by Chris Bittle
Personal details
Born (1966-04-10) April 10, 1966 (age 50)
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
Political party Ontario PC, Conservative Party of Canada,
Spouse(s) Kathy Dykstra
Residence St. Catharines, Ontario
Profession Businessman, public affairs executive

Richard "Rick" Dykstra (born April 10, 1966) is a Canadian politician. He is the president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. He also served as the MP for the Ontario riding of St. Catharines from 2006 to 2015. He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons 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.[1] Dykstra became the president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in 2016 at the party's convention that year.

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] Including $200 dinners at Toronto's Bier Market and Fiddlers Green pub.[7]

Dykstra was appointed to the Niagara Parks Commission in 2003.[8]

Federal politics[edit]

Dykstra co-chaired Conservative candidate Dean Allison's campaign in Niagara West—Glanbrook for the 2004 federal election.[9] 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.[10] 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?"[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

In April 2008, Dykstra introduced a motion to have the Finance Committee study the abolishment of the penny.[14] He later brought forward a motion to have the Justice Committee study the investigative approach of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.[15]

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.[16]

On September 7, 2010, the federal Ethics Commissioner, issued a report[17] 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,[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

On October 2, 2015, BuzzFeed, reportedly the most distrusted news source,[24] 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]

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.[31]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Chris Bittle 24,870 43.2 +22.6
Conservative Rick Dykstra 21,637 37.6 -13.3
New Democratic Susan Erskine-Fournier 9,511 16.5 -7.3
Green Jim Fannon 1,488 2.6 -1.2
Communist Saleh Waziruddin 85 0.1 -0.1
Total valid votes/Expense limit 57,591 100.0   $221,576.61
Total rejected ballots 243
Turnout 57,834
Eligible voters 84,474
Source: Elections Canada[32][33][34]
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. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/10/20/dykstra-allen-loses-their-seats-but-nicholson-allison-withstand-the-red-tide
  2. ^ St. Catharines overview, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Canada Votes 2006.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Richard Mackie, "Rae considers gas tax cut to combat U.S. shopping", Globe and Mail, 4 March 1992, A5.
  5. ^ "Library won't lend book on Bernardo", Toronto Star, 13 October 1996, A15.
  6. ^ David Reevely, "Baird vows to repay bar bills", Ottawa Citizen, 14 June 2002, F3.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Carol Phillips, "Niagara West-Glanbrook to the wire", Hamilton Spectator, 29 June 2004, A19.
  10. ^ Rick Dykstra – Parliament of Canada biography
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Karena Walter, "Federal Conservatives introduce bill to repeal faint-hope clause", The Standard, 18 April 2007.
  13. ^ Grant LaFleche, "Time to change sentencing practices: Dykstra",St Catharines Standard, 22 May 2008, A3
  14. ^ "Commons Finance Committee to study abandoning the penny", St. Catharines Standard, 9 April 2008, A5.
  15. ^ Matthew Van Dongen, "MP wants review of human rights commission", St. Catharines Standard, 5 June 2008, A4
  16. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1286643
  17. ^ http://ciec-ccie.gc.ca/resources/Files/English/Public%20Reports/Examination%20Reports/The%20Dykstra%20Report.pdf
  18. ^ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-36.65/index.html
  19. ^ O'Malley, Kady (7 September 2010). "EthicsWatch: Rick Dykstra cleared of conflict of interest complaint". CBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  20. ^ LaFleche, Grant (7 September 2010). "Dykstra cleared by ethics commissioner 0". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  21. ^ "An Underage Girl Says She Was Offered A Bribe To Deny Drinking With Conservative MP Rick Dykstra". BuzzFeed. 
  22. ^ Grant LaFleche, "Dykstra under fire for using BlackBerry at ceremony". St. Catharines Standard, 13 November 2009, A1.
  23. ^ nurun.com. "LaFleche: The calculus of civic unity". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  24. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-most-and-least-trusted-news-outlets-in-america-2014-10
  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. ^ "19-year-old wins PC nomination for Niagara West-Glanbrook". CBC News. The Canadian Press. October 23, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
  32. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for St. Catharines, 30 September 2015
  33. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  34. ^ "Election Night Results - Elections Canada". p. Ontario, St. Catharines. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 

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