Van Dongen turns down free enterprise invite

The B.C. Liberal Party has invited John van Dongen to Free Enterprise Friday, part of its weekend convention in Whistler...

  • Oct. 26, 2012 7:00 p.m.

The B.C. Liberal Party has invited John van Dongen to Free Enterprise Friday, part of its weekend convention in Whistler, but the Abbotsford South MLA has turned down his old party.

“I strongly support free enterprise, but I cannot attend this event when nothing has changed with the B.C. Liberal government on the issues that caused me to resign from the BC Liberal Caucus,” said van Dongen in press release Friday morning. “The government has talked about openness and transparency but has not put it into practice.”

In March, van Dongen announced he was leaving the Liberal party to sit as the lone B.C. Conservative party MLA in the legislature. In September, he left the Conservatives and now sits as an independent MLA.

In both high-profile departures, van Dongen cited concerns with party leadership.

Van Dongen said Friday that Premier Christy Clark has not come clean on her direct involvement in the BC Rail corruption file but has simply repeated the denials she made during the BC Liberal leadership race.

“Attorney-General Shirley Bond and former Attorney General Mike de Jong still need to properly explain how and why $6 million in legal fees was forgiven for Dave Basi and Bob Virk, contrary to established government policy,” he said.

Basi and Virk were ministerial aides who faced corruption charges. They pleaded guilty to selling insider information to parties interested in the 2003 sale of BC Rail.

Also raising questions for van Dongen is the government’s Oct. 1 denial of an environmental assessment certificate for the Morrison copper/gold mine near Smithers. One of the long-term investors in the project is van Dongen’s constituent.

“In rejecting the application, the government overrode and ignored the technical findings of its own environmental assessment process. There are obvious inconsistencies in the EAO (Environmental Assessment Office) documents that cause me concern. This so-called free enterprise government has hurt the credibility of both the EAO and the investment climate in this province for mining and other capital-intensive resource industries,” he said.

“Free enterprise doesn’t work if people cannot have confidence and trust in the integrity of their provincial government.”

Just Posted

Agrifair attendance up 25 per cent from 2017, say organizers

New attractions, including RCMP Musical Ride, being credited for hike

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Police issue warning that 19-year-old poses ‘significant’ risk to the public

Varinderpal ‘VP’ Gill of Abbotsford involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict, police say

EDITORIAL: Gill must break silence and back up claim

If Coun. Moe Gill can’t substantiate his allegations, he should take a hard look at his campaign

Fraser Valley Bandits announce season ticket prices

Basketball team set to tip-off in summer of 2019

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Most Read