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Mike de Jong holds 'virtual' town hall meeting

Local provincial politics went high-tech on Monday as Abbotsford West MLA and Minister of Health, Michael de Jong held his first “virtual” town hall meeting.

Thousands of residents living in the riding (based on the last provincial election voters' list) received a phone call on Monday night, inviting them to listen in and ask questions during the one-hour phone-in meeting.

In all, more than 14,000 homes were called and approximately 4,500 people listened to some part of the discussion.

“I think it went pretty well,” said de Jong, who explained he first heard of this technology during the BC Liberal leadership campaign.

For the past several years, de Jong has hosted monthly breakfast meetings, but decided to try the interactive phone session to increase public participation.

“I think the technology is even more valuable when you aren’t soliciting votes.”

It allowed him to reach a larger group of people and gave more residents access to their MLA.

In all, 14 questions were asked by the public, ranging in subject from health care to speeding.

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