Solicitor General John van Dongen resigns after licence suspended

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      John van Dongen has resigned as B.C.'s minister of public safety and solicitor general.

      He remains the B.C. Liberal candidate in Abbotsford South.

      Rich Coleman, the minister of housing and social development, has been named the new minister of public safety and solicitor general.

      On April 24, news broke that van Dongen, who oversaw the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and ICBC, had lost his driver's licence for four months after getting too many speeding tickets.

      Van Dongen issued the following statement today (April 27):

      Last Friday, I released a statement confirming my request to have the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles removed from my ministerial responsibly after I had been informed by the OSMV that they were implementing a prohibition on my driver’s license due to recent tickets I had received for speeding.

      Over the weekend I have reflected on my actions. I have heard from those who have rightly criticized my driving record that has undermined their confidence in my role as Solicitor General. I do understand how my conduct in this respect has reflected poorly on the credibility of the office. In no way do I wish to allow my actions to distract from the tremendous work and ongoing contributions of the people who are working so hard to build confidence in our law enforcement system and in our efforts to improve public safety, particularly surrounding gangs and gun violence.

      I have worked hard as Solicitor General. Over the course of the last year, I have met with people who have lost family members because of speeding and other illegal driving behaviour. I have let them down and I have let down my constituents who depend on me to set the highest public example. For that I am deeply sorry.

      I hold the office of the Solicitor General in the highest regard. It carries with it a significant responsibility to reflect the policies necessary to make our communities safe.

      This is why I informed the Premier this morning that I am resigning immediately from my duties as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

      I will continue to run in the upcoming election as a candidate for the BC Liberal Party in the riding of Abbotsford South and I will work hard to earn the votes and confidence of my constituents.

      As I stated last week, I fully recognize the importance of public safety and compliance with the laws of our roads. I apologize to those I have let down with these latest actions, and it remains my hope that the public will continue to have confidence in the office of the Solicitor General.

      The B.C. NDP had called on van Dongen to step down.

      The NDP has also called for the resignation of the Liberals' Maple Ridge-Mission candidate, Marc Dalton, over a homophobic e-mail he wrote in 1996.

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      Gale Chubb

      Apr 28, 2009 at 12:09am

      I find it amazing that PREMIER GORDON CAMPBELL did NOT step down after he was arrested for DRUNK DRIVING in Hawaii, where he and his family take vacation. Drunk driving. C'mon! I'm appalled by the hypocrisy of Gordon Campbell's government, in particular of Gordon Campbell.

      Steve Newton

      Apr 29, 2009 at 12:23pm

      Does anybody know how many speeding tickets he got, or how fast he was going? And will he be getting a nice fat severance package to boot?

      Travis Lupick

      Apr 29, 2009 at 12:33pm

      Two excessive speeding citations for travelling more than 40 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limited plus seven "regular" speeding tickets. Brings the total to nine.

      "In an interview with CTV News on Friday, van Dongen indicated that he has received so many tickets, he couldn't recall the number." See <a href=" target="_blank">Solicitor General quits over speeding tickets</a> at

      mynalee johnstone

      Apr 29, 2009 at 12:50pm

      Driving habits are indicative of character. Do we want these characters in our government?
      Also, those are just the times they were caught. All the other times, they got away with it. Like I said, this is a driving HABIT.

      georgie porgie

      Nov 14, 2010 at 6:18am

      well just shows you how natural it is to speed, all the speed limits in BC should be 20km faster then they are except for school zones, they leave it slow on purpose so pigs can clock you go safely at 60 in a 50 zone or 70 in a 60 zone, and then collect money for the crown, it's legal theft if you ask me!