News

Michael de Jong, K.C.

BC United

Abbotsford West

Shadow Minister for the Attorney General

Office:

Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Phone: (250) 356-6171

Fax: (250) 387-9066

Constituency:

103-32660 George Ferguson Way
Abbotsford, BC V2T 4V6

[email protected]

Phone: 604) 870-5486

Fax: (604) 870-5444

Biography

Michael de Jong was re-elected in 2020 as the MLA for Abbotsford West, an area he has represented since first being elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in a 1994 by-election. He currently serves as Shadow Minister for Attorney General.

Michael is a eight-term MLA who has served as Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, Attorney General, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services, and Minister of Forests. In addition, he also served as Government House Leader.

He has chaired the Treasury Board and the Legislative Review Committee, and was a member of the Cabinet Working Group on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the Priorities and Planning Committee, and the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review.

Before his election as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in 1994, de Jong served two terms as an elected school trustee for Abbotsford School District 34, and was a practising lawyer with his own Abbotsford firm. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and a law degree from the University of Alberta.

Michael has also been involved with the Abbotsford-Matsqui Arts Council, the Matsqui Youth Commission and holds the rank of Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces Air Force Reserve.

Still an avid hockey player, in his teen years Michael was a member of the Abbotsford Pilots Junior B hockey team. He attended Mouat Secondary School and still lives on the Matsqui Prairie farm where he grew up.

Where They Stand on Modernizing BC's Wrongful Death Laws

MLA de Jong is a confirmed supporter of modernizing BC’s wrongful death laws.

In February 2021, he appeared on Tuff City Radio Live with Ann Forry (mother of Natasha Forry) and Michael-James Pennie, President of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society.

In March 2021, he attended the Liberal Caucus Presentation by the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society. He followed up with a letter indicating a wish for the Government to move forward with modernizing wrongful death laws.

This MLA has received a top grade, due to the following criteria:

He has met with constituents on this issue.

He has met with The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society on this issue.

He has written a letter of endorsement for modernization to the Attorney General and Premier.

Please petition MLA Michael de Jong, K.C. now »

This individual has scored an A grade with respect to their position on modernizing BC's wrongful death laws. Learn More »

The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’s goal is to modernize BC’s wrongful death laws, which unlike other provinces, currently denies justice to the surviving family members of children, seniors, the disabled, or anyone who wasn’t considered a breadwinner with dependents, when killed by the careless or intentional acts of another.

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As Seen In

The following news outlets have featured the issue of BC's antiquated wrongful death laws alongside stories of tragedy countless times for decades, although the provincial government still fails to right this legislative wrong.

What British Columbians Are Saying

The public is unanimously outraged and expressing their views through many channels.

Organizations That Have Endorsed Modernization

The following organizations have endorsed repealing and replacing the 'Family Compensation Act' and replacing it with our Society's drafted 'Wrongful Death Accountability Act' to ensure the full measure of value to British Columbians lives and access to justice with no loopholes for wrongdoers to escape accountability.

Vancouver City Council
Union of BC Municipalities
Lower Mainland Local Government Association

Prominent Figures Who've Endorsed Modernization

The following prominent figures and elected officials have written letters endorsing legislative modernization of BC's wrongful death laws.

Vancouver City Councillor Pete Fry (Green)
MLA Michael DeJong (BC United)
MLA Douglas Routley (NDP)
MLA Andrew Mercier (NDP)

Petition Your MLA Now

Unlike other Canadian provinces, BC has not made any significant amendments to its wrongful death legislation—ever. The current BC Family Compensation Act only values the lives of income-earners. This neglect must stop. Petitioning your local MLA, the Attorney General, and Premier with our automated tool can make a lasting difference to the lives of British Columbians for generations to come.

Dear Local MLA, Attorney General Niki Sharma, Premier David Eby, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Farnworth,

I am writing to you about British Columbia’s woefully outdated wrongful death laws; which are still based on colonial-era legislation from 1846.

BC’s current “Family Compensation Act” only takes into account the direct financial losses resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one. As a result, only the families of deceased breadwinners see the inside of a courtroom in cases of wrongful death.

Children, seniors, people with disabilities, or anyone who does not meet the discriminatory criteria of having both an income and dependents are classes of people whose lives are not valued or respected when they are killed in BC.

This is a human rights issue.

Investigations into the wrongful death of these classes of citizens most often do not occur because there is no ‘loss of earnings’ to cover civil trial costs.

Accordingly, families have been denied the ability to right the wrong and ensure that the same preventable actions which resulted in the wrongful death would not happen to another.

Unlike other provinces in Canada, which in most cases have modernized long ago, many of your constituents are considered “worthless” under the discriminatory law in British Columbia.

Their stories are actively being documented and published here – https://intheirname.ca/stories/

The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society is comprised of families who have been fighting for over two decades to see our laws modernized. They have drafted legislation that can solve this problem now.

These families, based on each individual personal experience of loss, have demanded that the legislation include the following tenets:

#1 The value of human life must not be based merely on whether the wrongfully killed was a breadwinner with dependants. There must be a legal recognition for the value of each life and the loss of love, guidance, care, companionship, and affection wrongfully taken from surviving family members.

#2 The value of human life must not be arbitrarily capped by legislation. Damages for the loss of life must be assessed individually by constitutionally independent superior courts, in recognition of the distinct relationship that existed between each of the surviving family members and the wrongfully killed loved one.

#3 All forms of non-pecuniary damages, including aggravated and punitive damages must be available under the legislation to be awarded in appropriate cases. Financial penalty assessed by a civil court when a wrongdoer maliciously, or recklessly kills another person is essential when criminal prosecution is not pursued or fails. General deterrence of future wrongdoing is an important objective.

#4 If an individual is not initially killed by a wrongful act, but later dies before the conclusion of litigation, this should not be a windfall for the wrongdoer. There should not be a perverse incentive for the wrongdoer to delay, or prolong litigation. Damages relating to conscious pain, suffering, and disability during the period between the wrong and the decedent’s death, including damages for loss of expectation of life, pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, or loss of amenities must remain available under the legislation.

#5 Families deserve the right to have their day in court with the ability to obtain professional legal representation on a contingency basis. No other piece of legislation in the province should bar the pursuit of an at-fault wrongful death claim against a negligent party. The contingency fee system does not discriminate socioeconomically, and it ensures the family can obtain the best representation necessary to obtain truth, justice, and accountability against a wrongdoer, no matter how big and powerful that wrongdoer might be. Families also deserve the right to have the case decided by a jury of their peers. This fundamental aspect of our democracy must be preserved.

What will you do to create a fair and adequate wrongful death law in BC?

Yours Truly,
Your Full Name
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cc: BC United Leader Kevin Falcon, BC United Critic for Attorney General Mike de Jong, BC United Critic for Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Morris, BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau

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