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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:04 am    Post subject: BC SolicitorGeneral van Dongen resigns over speeding tickets Reply with quote

Solicitor General van Dongen resigns over speeding tickets, Coleman takes over

By Lori Culbert , Vancouver SunApril 27, 2009Comments (90)
StoryPhotos ( 3 )

More Images » John van Dongen at his Abbotsford campaign office Monday after he resigned as solicitor general.Photograph by: Rafe Arnott, Abbotsford TimesJohn van Dongen stepped down as B.C.’s solicitor general Monday, saying his driving record — nine speeding tickets in five years — meant he should no longer serve as the province’s top cop.

The defeated-sounding Liberal MLA apologized for letting down relatives and friends of victims of speeding-related accidents, noting he had met many of those advocates since becoming solicitor general a year ago.

Van Dongen is the second Liberal solicitor general to resign his post, as he replaced John Les when Les quit last spring due to a police investigation into land deals. Housing Minister Rich Coleman, running for re-election in Fort Langley-Aldergrove, has now taken over the position.

Van Dongen, who announced Friday that his driver’s licence had been suspended, said he has received positive support from constituents. However, he decided to step down Monday after hearing calls for his resignation over the weekend from some members of the public, the NDP opposition, and media commentators, who had “rightly criticized” his lead foot.

“I believe that the office of the solicitor general demands the highest level of public confidence, and I can’t provide that given my driving record,” van Dongen, who is still seeking re-election in Abbotsford South, said in an interview.

NDP leader Carole James welcomed van Dongen’s resignation, but questioned why it took a public outcry for him to quit. “He should have known to do the right thing,” she said.

Premier Gordon Campbell said he accepted the resignation Monday, after van Dongen spent the weekend reflecting.

“He didn't feel it was appropriate for him to stay on," said Campbell. "Anyone can make a mistake. He felt he'd let [accident victims’] families down, and let down his constituents."

When asked if van Dongen’s resignation would affect the Liberals’ election campaign, Campbell said that will be up to people in Abbotsford South to decide on voting day, May 12.

This controversy began April 16, when Van Dongen was informed his driver’s licence was being suspended over two tickets for “excessive” speeding -- driving more than 40 km over the posted speed limit.

One was in Delta last October on Highway 99, a road van Dongen said he frequently travels. He received the other ticket on the Pat Bay Highway near Saanich in January, when he was on his way from the legislature to the ferry terminal.

He can’t remember the exact speeds he was travelling on either day, but believes he received $368 fines for both offences, which he did not dispute.

In addition, van Dongen has seven other speeding tickets in B.C. in the last five years; those were not for excessive speeding, so would have been for driving not more than 40 km over the limit.

Van Dongen would not discuss any driving infractions he had before 2004, although the B.C. court record system shows he received a ticket for excessive speeding in 1999 -- but it was dismissed when the prosecutor didn’t show up in court.

Van Dongen said he regrets his “history of speeding,” and explained it is partly due to his “hard work” over the last 14 years as MLA.

“None of that is an excuse for the fact that speeding is illegal, and I want to make sure that people understand that there is no excuse for my driving pattern,” he said. “I also want to apologize to the families who have lost loved ones or friends in serious motor vehicle accidents, which are very often the result of speeding by individuals.”

According to the office of the superintendent of motor vehicles (OSMV), an adjudicator can suspend a driver’s licence for between three and 18 months if she or he gets two excessive speeding tickets within a one-year period. Van Dongen’s suspension was for four months.

On Thursday, van Dongen notified Campbell of his licence suspension, one week after it had taken effect. On Friday, he asked Campbell to reassign his cabinet responsibilities for ICBC and OSMV.

On Monday, he acknowledged he should have resigned his cabinet post sooner, but was reluctant to leave the work he was doing as solicitor general on issues like gun and gang crimes.

The NDP’s James questioned why the issue was kept quiet for days, and called it “disturbing” that Campbell allowed van Dongen to remain the top cop while repeatedly breaking the law.

“[Campbell], in fact, was praising the work that [van Dongen] was doing and he didn’t seem to think that it was a problem,” said James, who demanded van Dongen release the full details of his driving record


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8352
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

having to resign mid way thru any election over speeding tickets is pretty embarrassing , he must of know he was going to loss him licence at some point over such a horrible driving record .

Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 489
Reputation: 73

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, at least we know given in his particular position, even he couldn't get out of the tickets!
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BC SolicitorGeneral van Dongen resigns over speeding tickets

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