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Original News Release

 

 


  BACKGROUNDER  

2005OTP0071-000583

June 16, 2005

Office of the Premier

     

 

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL BIOGRAPHIES

 


 

 

HON. GORDON CAMPBELL

 

PREMIER

 

 

Gordon Campbell was sworn in for his second consecutive term as British Columbia's 34th Premier on June 16, 2005. He is the first B.C. premier in 22 years and only the fifth in B.C. history to be elected to two consecutive terms.

 

Mr. Campbell was elected leader of the B.C. Liberal Party in September 1993. He was elected to the B.C. Legislature in 1994 in a by-election to represent the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena and was re-elected in 1996, 2001 and 2005 for Vancouver-Point Grey.

 

Mr. Campbell attended public school in Vancouver. After graduating he received a scholarship to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He worked his way through university in the dining hall and as the associate to the secretary of the college, and received his bachelor of arts degree. He later received a master's of business administration from Simon Fraser University.

 

He was a secondary school teacher, basketball and track coach in Yola, Nigeria, working under the auspices of CUSO. He then became an assistant to former Vancouver mayor Art Phillips. From 1976 to 1981, he worked with Marathon Realty, where he became general manager of development. In 1981, he founded Citycore Development Corporation.

 

In 1984, Mr. Campbell was elected to Vancouver City Council. From 1986 to 1993, he served as Mayor of Vancouver for three successive terms.

 

Mr. Campbell and his wife Nancy, a school vice-principal, have two sons.


 

HON. JOHN van DONGEN

MINISTER OF STATE FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

 

 

John van Dongen was appointed Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

 

Mr. van Dongen also previously served as agriculture and fisheries critic for the Official Opposition. He sat on the Select Standing Committees on Agriculture and Fisheries and on Crown Corporations, as well as the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Children.

 

He was first elected in 1995 in a by-election to represent the riding of Abbotsford and was re-elected in 1996. He was elected to the Abbotsford-Clayburn riding in 2001.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. van Dongen operated a dairy farm in Abbotsford. He studied agricultural economics at the University of British Columbia.

 

Mr. van Dongen was involved in farm organizations and businesses for almost two decades. He was on the board of directors of the B.C. Dairy Foundation, Agrifoods International Co-operative (Dairyland) and the B.C. Federation of Dairymen's Association and was a member of the Federal Farm Debt Review Board.

 

He was also chair of the building and finance committee of St. Joseph's Church in Mission.

 

John van Dongen is married, lives in Abbotsford and has two children.

 


 

HON. TOM CHRISTENSEN

MINISTER OF ABORIGINAL RELATIONS AND RECONCILIATION

 

 

Tom Christensen was appointed Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Education.

 

Mr. Christensen was elected to represent the riding of Okanagan-Vernon in 2001 and re-elected in 2005.

 

He has served as Chair of the Government Caucus Committee on Education and as a member of the Legislative Review Committee, as well as the Select Standing Committees on Education; Aboriginal Affairs; Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills; and Legislative Initiatives. 

 

Mr. Christensen graduated from the University of Victoria with a Law degree in 1994, and was called to the B.C. bar in May 1995. Prior to entering politics, he practiced law at Davidson & Company, and was a partner in the firm from 1999 to 2001.

 

Born and raised in Vernon, Mr. Christensen has been involved in a number of community organizations, having held such positions as president of the Downtown Vernon Association, director of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation and chairperson of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundations Annual Light-a-Bulb Fundraising Campaign.

 

Mr. Christensen is married and has three children ages 1, 2 and 5.

 


 

HON. MURRAY COELL

MINISTER OF ADVANCED EDUCATION

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY

 

Murray Coell was appointed Minister of Advanced Education and Minister Responsible for Research and Technology on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Human Resources and Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services.

 

Mr. Coell also served as Official Opposition critic for environment, for children and families, and for social services. He sat on the Select Standing Committees on Public Accounts, and on Environment and Tourism, as well as the Official Opposition Caucus Committee for Children.

 

He was first elected in 1996 to represent the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005. He has served on the Government Caucus Committee on Communities and Safety, the Cabinet Committee of Agenda and Priorities, the Treasury Board, and the Public Sector Employers’ Council.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Coell was a social worker, specializing in alcohol and drug rehabilitation as well as in services to those with mental disabilities. He also owned and operated a small business.

 

He received his bachelor of arts in social welfare from the University of Victoria.

 

Mr. Coell sat on Saanich Municipal Council for 12 years, six of them as mayor. He also chaired the Capital Regional District, the Saanich Police board and the Capital Regional District hospital board, and was deputy chair of the Municipal Finance Authority.

 

He served as a volunteer for 10 years on the board of Silver Threads Meals on Wheels and for five years on the board of the Queen Alexandra Hospital for Children.

 

Murray and Corinne Coell live in Central Saanich.


 

HON. PAT BELL

MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LANDS

 

 

Pat Bell was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Lands on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of State for Mining.

 

Mr. Bell was elected to represent the riding of Prince George North in the 2001 election and was re-elected in 2005.

 

He has served on the Government Caucus Committee on Natural Resources and B.C. Task Force on Mining, and as chair of the Small Scale Salvage Review Committee. Mr. Bell has also served on the Legislative Select Standing Committees on Education and Crown Corporations and currently sits on Treasury Board.

 

Prior to becoming an MLA, Mr. Bell owned a trucking company and co-owned a logging company.  He owns two Wendy’s Restaurants in Prince George.

 

Committed to youth sport, Mr. Bell chaired the junior golf program at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club from 1993 to 1997. He also coached high school volleyball and supported the Prince George Barracuda Swim Club. Mr. Bell served for several years on the Tourism Prince George Board of Directors.

 

Born in Vancouver and educated at the University of British Columbia, Mr. Bell has lived in Prince George since 1988. He and his wife Brenda have three children.


 

HON. WALLY OPPAL

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR MULTICULTURALISM

 

 

Wally Oppal was appointed Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism on June 16, 2005.

 

He was elected to represent the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview in 2005.

 

Mr. Oppal was born in Vancouver and focused his academic and professional endeavours on improving social justice and community safety. He attended UBC law school and practiced law for 14 years in Vancouver. 

 

Mr. Oppal was appointed to the County Court of British Columbia in 1981, and to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1985. In 2003, he was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

 

Mr. Oppal's passion for and commitment to the Canadian legal system has followed him through a variety of positions including: president of the Law Courts Education Society of British Columbia, member of the 1993 Ad Hoc Advisory Committee for a National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention, director of the B.C. Coalition for Safer Communities, and member of the Supreme Court National Criminal Law Programme Judges Criminal Law Committee. He also authored the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Policing in British Columbia.

 

Mr. Oppal is married and has two children, both of whom are in school.

 


 

HON. STAN HAGEN

MINISTER OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT

 

 

Stan Hagen was re-appointed Minister of Children and Family Development on June 16, 2005. 

 

Mr. Hagen had previously served as Minister of Human Resources and Minister of Sustainable Resource Management. 

 

First elected in 1986, he represented the riding of Comox until 1991. He returned to politics in 2001 and was re-elected in the riding of Comox Valley, where he was re-elected again in 2005.

 

Through his political career, Mr Hagen has also served as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; Advanced Education, Job Training, Science and Technology; Regional and Economic Development; Education and Minister of State for the Vancouver Island/Coast Region. He chaired the Canadian Council of Ministers of Education and was a member of six cabinet committees.  Mr. Hagen was instrumental in the creation of Science World and introduced the Scientist in the Classroom program. The Passport to Education program, which still runs today, was also introduced under Mr. Hagen's tenure.

 

He is the recipient of a honourary Doctor of Laws Degree from Simon Fraser University.

 

Mr. Hagen has been a resident of the Comox Valley since 1968. He worked in the construction industry as a comptroller and later started an independent ready-mix company.  Prior to his re-election in 2001, he was the general manager of a local paving company.

 

Mr Hagen was a Board Member and Fundraiser for the Courtenay Youth Music Camp; Co-ordinator for Big Brothers in Comox Valley and founding president of the Comox Valley Community Foundation. He was the West Coast Regional Chair of the Salmon Enhancement Project; Treasurer of Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce and served as a Comox Valley School Board Chair and trustee from 1972 - 1978.

 

Stan and Judy Hagen still live in Courtenay and have five children.


 

HON. LINDA REID

MINISTER OF STATE FOR CHILDCARE

 

 

Linda Reid was appointed Minister of State for Childcare on June 16, 2005.

 

She previously served as Minister of State for Early Childhood Development.

 

Ms. Reid served in a variety of critic roles for the Official Opposition, including children and families, health, attorney general, municipal affairs, and science, technology and research. She also sat as a member of the Government Caucus Committee on Education.

 

She was first elected in 1991 to represent the riding of Richmond East and was re-elected in 1996, 2001 and 2005.

 

Before her election to the Legislative Assembly, Ms. Reid worked as a language therapist, teacher and school administrator for the Richmond School District.

 

She graduated from the University of British Columbia with an education degree and earned a master of arts from UBC specializing in education, exceptional learners, language acquisition and public administration.

 

Ms. Reid was the B.C. chair for the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and a director of the Garden City Hospice Society. She has been active in the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Asia-Pacific Business Association, the Canadian Council for Exceptional Children and the Family Court Committee of Richmond. She was a founding member of the Richmond Chinatown Lions Club and was chair of the British Columbia Youth Parliament board from 1986 to 1991.

 

Linda and her husband Sheldon live in Richmond and have two children, Olivia and Will.


 

HON. IDA CHONG

MINISTER OF COMMUNITY SERVICES

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR SENIORS' AND WOMEN'S ISSUES

 

Ida Chong was appointed Minister of Community Services and Minister Responsible for Seniors' and Women's Issues on June 16, 2005.

 

She previously served as Minister of Advanced Education and Minister of State for Women’s and Seniors’ Services

 

Ms. Chong was first elected in 1996 in the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.

 

Ms. Chong proudly retains her credentials as a Certified General Accountant and has won several awards for her work in this field for service at a chapter level, as well as for service on a provincial committee. In 1999, she was awarded the CGA Community Service Award. 

Ms. Chong has worked extensively in public practice, and from 1985 to 2003 was senior partner in an accounting practice in Saanich.  She also found time to volunteer for several non-profit organizations, serving as a board member.

Ms. Chong first entered political life as a municipal councillor for the District of Saanich in 1993.  In her first term in provincial politics, she served as the Official Opposition critic for small business, tourism and culture, the deputy critic of finance, the deputy critic for women's equality and chair of the Official Opposition Committee on the Economy.

Since the 2001 election, Ms. Chong has served on many government committees.  She has been chair of the Government Caucus Committee on Economy and Government Operations, as well as a member of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, and the Special Committee on the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

She currently serves on Treasury Board, the Government Caucus Committee on Education and the Government Caucus Committee on Cross Government Initiatives.

Ms. Chong is a native of Victoria and was raised in Gordon Head.


 

HON. COLIN HANSEN

MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ASIA-PACIFIC INITIATIVE AND THE OLYMPICS

 

 

Colin Hansen was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative and the Olympics on June 16, 2005.

 

He has previously served as Minister of Finance and Minister of Health Services.

 

Mr. Hansen also served as health critic for the Official Opposition, as well as the critic for employment and investment, and for labour. He sat on the Select Standing Committees on Crown Corporations and on Economic Development, Science, Labour, Training and Technology.

 

He also sat on the Official Opposition Caucus Committees on Health and Economy.

 

He was first elected in 1996 to represent the electoral district of Vancouver-Quilchena and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.

 

He received his bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Victoria in 1975.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Hansen and his wife Laura owned and operated a small business they established in 1988. Prior to that he was vice-president of finance and administration for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

 

Mr. Hansen served as a director of the Vancouver-Yokohama Sister City Society and chair of the Vancouver Museum board of trustees.

 

Colin and Laura Hansen have two children and live in the Dunbar area of Vancouver-Quilchena.

HON. SHIRLEY BOND

 

MINISTER OF EDUCATION

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR EARLY LEARNING AND LITERACY

 

 

Shirley Bond was appointed Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Learning and Literacy on June 16, 2005. She was also appointed Deputy Premier.

 

She previously served as Minister of Advanced Education and Minister of Health Services.

 

Ms. Bond was elected in 2001 to represent the riding of Prince George-Mount Robson and re-elected in 2005.

 

Before her election to the Legislative Assembly, she served three terms on the Prince George School Board, the last as chair. She also worked with the continuing education department of the Prince George School District, becoming its business manager. She was given the B.C. Interior, North & Yukon Woman of Distinction Award for her work in public education.

 

Ms. Bond has an arts and science diploma from the College of New Caledonia and is enrolled at the University of Northern B.C., where she is completing a bachelor of arts in political science.

 

She was protocol director for the 2001 Special Olympic Summer Games and sat on the boards of Carey Theological College, the Personal Living Choices Society, the Trinity Opportunity Fund Grants Committee and the City of Prince George's Standing Committee on Youth.

 

Shirley and Bill Bond live in Prince George. They have twin adult children.

 


 

HON. CLAUDE RICHMOND

MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME ASSISTANCE

 

 

Claude Richmond was appointed Minister of Employment and Income Assistance on June 16, 2005.

 

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a 1981 by-election and was re-elected to represent Kamloops in 1983, 1986, 2001 and 2005.

 

In 2001, he was elected as the 35th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Richmond previously served as Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for Expo '86, Minister of Social Services and Housing, Minister of Forests, and Government House Leader from 1988 to 1991.

 

Prior to his first election to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1981, Claude Richmond served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and spent 25 years working in small business. From 1974 to 1977, Mr. Richmond served two terms as a City of Kamloops councillor and from 1978 to 1982 managed the CHNL radio station. In the years leading up to his return to politics in 2001, Mr. Richmond worked as a business consultant to resource industries and markets and also held the position of managing director of Kamloops Airport Limited.

 

Mr. Richmond was born in Blue River and educated in the Kamloops area. He and his wife Patricia have three children and two grandchildren. He is the bandmaster of the Kamloops Rube Band, a group of thirty-five musicians who travel the world as goodwill ambassadors for Kamloops and British Columbia.


 

HON. RICHARD NEUFELD

 

MINISTER OF ENERGY, MINES AND PETROLEUM RESOURCES

 

 

Richard Neufeld was appointed Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on June 16, 2005.

 

He has served as Minister of Energy and Mines since 2001.

 

Mr. Neufeld was energy, mines and northern development critic for the Official Opposition. He sat on the Select Standing Committees on Forests, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and on Agriculture and Fisheries. He also sat on the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Transportation.

 

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1991 to represent the riding of Peace River North and was re-elected in 1996, 2001 and 2005.

 

Before entering provincial politics, Mr. Neufeld owned and operated a business in Fort Nelson. He has been involved in the oil and gas industry most of his life.

 

He served on Fort Nelson council from 1978 to 1986, for five of those years as mayor. He has been involved with the Fort Nelson and Fort St. John Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs.

 

Richard and his wife Montana live in Fort St. John and have four grown children.


 

HON. BILL BENNETT

MINISTER OF STATE FOR MINING

 

 

Bill Bennett was appointed Minister of State for Mining on June 16, 2005.

 

Mr. Bennett was first elected to represent the riding of East Kootenay in 2001 and was re-elected in 2005.

 

He has previously served as also deputy chair of the Legislative Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, a member of the Premier's Olympic Live Sites Committee, the Caucus Committee on Treaties, the Waste Management Review Committee and as a legislative member of the committee for the Pacific Northwest Economic Region. Mr. Bennett also served on both the Land Use and Mining Task Forces. He has also served as deputy chair of the Legislative Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations and as a member of the Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct Committee, and the Standing Orders and Private Bills Committee.

 

Prior to his first elected position, Mr. Bennett served as partner in a Cranbrook law firm. In 1976, he completed an honours degree in English from the University of Guelph and in 1992 earned a law degree from Queen's University.

 

Mr. Bennett also owned and operated successful fly-in wilderness lodges in the Northwest Territories and Manitoba from 1977 to 1992. In 1988, he worked as a tourism consultant with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and to the Manitoba Keewatin Tribal Council.

 

Mr. Bennett was a Cranbrook Rotary Club member who has also served as B.C. Chamber of Commerce first vice-chair, Cranbrook & District Chamber of Commerce president, Kootenay Ice WHL franchise committee member, and Kootenay Bar Association president. In 1997 and 1998 he was elected Cranbrook Business Person of the Year.

 

Mr. Bennett and his wife Beth married in 1974 and have two children, Dylan and Daniel. They have lived in the constituency since 1994. Bill is a passionate snowboarder who also hunts, fishes and hikes.


 

HON. BARRY PENNER

MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER STEWARDSHIP AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

 

 

Barry Penner was appointed Minister of Environment and Minister Responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities on June 16, 2005. 

 

Mr. Penner was first elected MLA for the riding of Chilliwack-Kent in 1996 and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.

 

He has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader and as a member of the Government Caucus Committee on Natural Resources, the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, the Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct and Private Bills, the Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, and the Cabinet Committee for Legislative Review.

 

In 2001, Mr. Penner was appointed to lead B.C.'s delegation to the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). He served as PNWER's vice-president before becoming President in 2002 and remains active in PNWER issues.

 

Mr. Penner's experiences as park ranger and outdoor enthusiast has driven him to protect our environment and to encourage responsible methods of energy generation. He has been a strong advocate for small-hydro, wind power and other new energy sources.

 

Mr. Penner was born and raised in Chilliwack. He graduated from Simon Fraser University with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Victoria. After law school, he worked for an international law firm in Bangkok, Thailand, before returning to Chilliwack where he practiced law until his election in 1996.

 

Barry Penner lives in Chilliwack.


HON. CAROLE TAYLOR

MINISTER OF FINANCE

 

 

Carole Taylor was appointed Minister of Finance on June 16, 2005. 

 

Ms. Taylor was elected in the riding of Vancouver-Langara in 2005.

 

Ms. Taylor is well known locally and nationally for a media career spanning two decades and her extensive work with B.C.'s public and private organizations. She was one of the first hosts of CTV's Canada AM, and later hosted CTV's W5, and CBC's Pacific Report. Since 2001, Ms. Taylor has acted as chair of CBC/Radio-Canada, and has been a strong spokesperson for public broadcasting.

 

Ms. Taylor's public service spans nearly two decades. She served on Vancouver city council from 1986 to 1990. She chaired the Neighbourhood, Cultural and Community Services Committee, the Task Force on Children, and the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s Hospital Committee.

 

Ms. Taylor has served as chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Vancouver Port Corporation, and Canada Ports Corporation. She has also served on the boards of HSBC Holdings, Canfor and Fairmont Hotels and others. Her leadership work with Vancouver tourism resulted in her being presented with the Tourism Vancouver's Spirit of Vancouver Awards.

 

As a community volunteer, Ms. Taylor has worked with the Vancouver Public Library, B.C. Children’s Hospital, the B.C. Institute of Technology, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

 

Ms. Taylor has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Toronto, and honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Open University, and the B.C. Institute of Technology.  She is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

 

Ms. Taylor and her husband Art Phillips live in Vancouver. She has two children - Christopher and Samantha.


 

HON. RICH COLEMAN

MINISTER OF FORESTS AND RANGE

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR HOUSING

 

 

Rich Coleman was appointed Minister of Forests and Range and Minister Responsible for Housing on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

 

Mr. Coleman was first elected in 1996 to represent the riding of Fort Langley-Aldergrove and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.

 

From 1996-2001, Mr. Coleman served in a variety of Official Opposition roles, including housing critic, forests deputy critic, and caucus whip. He also sat on the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Crime.

 

Mr. Coleman has served as governor of the B.C. Kinsmen, president of the Aldergrove Chamber of Commerce, and as a director on several volunteer boards. He was awarded Rotary's highest honour, the Paul Harris Fellowship, and received a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. He has also received the Canada 125 Medal for community service and was chosen Langley's Volunteer of the Year in 1988.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Coleman ran a real estate management and consulting company. He is also a former member of the RCMP and a security specialist.

 

Rich Coleman and his wife, Michele, live in Aldergrove and have two adult children.


 

HON. GEORGE ABBOTT

MINISTER OF HEALTH

 

 

George Abbott was appointed Minister of Health on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services and Minister of Sustainable Resource Management.

 

Mr. Abbott also served as deputy house leader for the Official Opposition and was critic for municipal affairs and for forests.

 

He was Deputy Chair of the Select Standing Committees on Forests, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and was a member of the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. He also sat on the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Crime.

 

He was first elected in 1996 to represent the riding of Shuswap and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Abbott was a political science instructor at Okanagan University College. He also owned the oldest and largest berry farm in the Interior.

 

He received his bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia and his master of arts in political science from the University of Victoria.

 

Mr. Abbott was the chair of the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District. He was also involved in amateur sports as a minor hockey coach.

 

George and Lesley Abbott live in Sicamous and have three children.

HON. MICHAEL de JONG

 

MINISTER OF LABOUR AND CITIZENS’ SERVICES

 

Michael de Jong was appointed Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services on June 16, 2005. He has also been appointed Government House Leader.

 

He previously served as Minister of Forests. Prior to that, he was deputy house leader for the Official Opposition and as critic for a variety of portfolios.

 

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a 1994 byelection to represent the electoral district of Matsqui. He was re-elected in 1996 and again in 2001 to the new riding of Abbotsford-Mount Lehman, where he was again re-elected in 2005.

 

Before his election, Mr. de Jong practised as a lawyer in his Abbotsford firm. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and a law degree from the University of Alberta.


 

HON. JOHN LES

MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY and SOLICITOR GENERAL

 

 

John Les was appointed Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Small Business and Economic Development.

 

Mr. Les was first elected to represent the riding of Chilliwack-Sumas in 2001 and re-elected in 2005. 

 

He served as Government Caucus Chair, and also chaired the Legislative Special Committee on the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. Mr. Les has served on the Government Caucus Committee on Economy and Government Operations, as well as the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations.  He has also been chair of the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, and was formerly a member of the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills.

 

Before being elected to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Les served for three years as a Chilliwack municipal councillor before he became Mayor from 1987 to 1999.  During his 13 years as Mayor, he served on a number of bodies, including: the Fraser Valley Regional District; the Municipal Finance Authority of B.C.; the Union of BC Municipalities; and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

 

In his private business career, Mr. Les was a partner in a Chilliwack dairy operation, an award-winning realtor, as well as the owner of a successful land development company

 

Mr. Les is an Honorary Rotarian, who was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his exemplary community service, by the Rotary Club of Chilliwack.

 

Mr. Les and his wife Mattie live in Chilliwack and have six children and four grandchildren.


 

HON. RICK THORPE

 

MINISTER OF SMALL BUSINESS AND REVENUE

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR DEREGULATION

 

 

Rick Thorpe was appointed Minister of Small Business and Revenue and Minister Responsible for Deregulation on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of Provincial Revenue and Minister of Competition, Science and Enterprise.

 

Mr. Thorpe previously served as Official Opposition critic for small business, tourism and culture. He was chair of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and deputy chair of the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills. He also sat on the Select Standing Committees on Legislative Initiatives, and on Finance and Government Services, as well as the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Economy.

 

He was first elected in 1996 to represent the riding of Okanagan-Penticton and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005 to represent Okanagan-Westside.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Thorpe worked in the Canadian brewing industry for 22 years in a variety of senior management positions in Canada and internationally. He was then involved in repositioning the B.C. grape and wine industry, and was a partner in an Okanagan winery for five years.

 

Mr. Thorpe is a certified management accountant and was president of the Okanagan Wine Festival in 1994 and 1995.

 

He has three children, two granddaughters and one grandson.


 

HON. OLGA ILICH

MINISTER OF TOURISM, SPORTS AND THE ARTS

 

 

Olga Ilich was appointed Minister of Minister of Tourism, Sports and the Arts on June 16, 2005. 

 

Ms. Ilich was elected in the riding of Richmond Centre in 2005.

 

Prior to being elected to the Legislative Assembly, she served as President of Suncor Development Corporation, a real estate development and construction company based in Richmond. Before owning her own business, Ms. Ilich was the executive vice-president of Progressive Construction Ltd, a company also based in Richmond.

 

Ms. Ilich was born in Holland and has lived in Richmond since 1959. She holds a master of business administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a master of arts from the University of Manitoba and a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

 

Ms. Ilich has been involved in a number of community, professional and business organizations. She has served as chair of the BC Assessment Authority, director of UBC Properties Investment Ltd, director of the Vancouver International Airport Authority, member of the City of Richmond Advisory Design Panel, and president of the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region.

 

Ms. Ilich has also served with the City of Surrey Development Advisory Committee, B.C.’s Advisory Commitee on Public-Private Partnerships, B.C.’s Task Force on Public-Private Partnerships, the Federal Business Development Bank’s Regional Advisory Council, the City of Richmond Advisory Planning Commission, St. Georges's School, and the Diane Farris Gallery.

 

Ms. Ilich has two grown sons who are currently at university.


 

HON. KEVIN FALCON

 

MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION

 

 

Kevin Falcon was re-appointed Minister of Transportation on June 16, 2005.

 

He previously served as Minister of State for Deregulation.

 

Mr. Falcon was first elected in 2001 to represent the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale and re-elected in 2005.

 

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Falcon was president of the Access Group, a corporate communications firm he formed in 1998. He has also worked in the real estate development industry and was vice-president of Northwest Investment Properties. Prior to attending university, Mr. Falcon spent five years working in the general insurance industry.

 

He received his bachelor of arts from Simon Fraser University and his real estate sales and mortgage brokers diploma from the University of British Columbia.

 

Mr. Falcon has been vice-president of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Surrey Museum and Archives advisory board, as well as belonging to the Cloverdale Rotary and Elks clubs. He was also a director of the Vancouver Sea Festival, president of the Vancouver Junior Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer with the Cloverdale RCMP Bike Patrol.

 

Kevin Falcon lives in Cloverdale.

 

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