Skip to main content

B.C. Liberal MLA Ida Chong has stood for office five times and has never lost a round. Round six is looming and it's not a battle she would choose.

As the latest target under B.C.'s recall law, she is campaigning for the right to hang on to the seat she won just 18 months ago. As the MLAs who have been through this before could tell her, it's a bruising and discouraging conflict.

"The last thing you want to do is spend two months working on having to clarify and explain and justify and defend anything you have done in the last 15 years," she said. "You want to spend your time working on behalf of your constituents."

Story continues below advertisement

The formal recall campaign is expected to begin on Nov. 29 and, from that point, organizers will have 60 days to gather enough voters' signatures to try to force a by-election.

Under the recall law, she'll be allowed to spend $35,782.68 in her defence, money she expects to use keeping her own volunteers fed and on some advertising to remind her constituents of what she has done for them.

Ms. Chong is a certified general accountant who started her political career as a municipal councillor for the District of Saanich. She made a remarkable entrance to the provincial field in 1996, defeating then-NDP finance minister Elizabeth Cull by just 640 votes.

But she was initially overlooked for cabinet. Eventually awarded the post of minister of state for women's and senior's services - effectively training-wheels for a cabinet post - she is best remembered for presiding over the closing of women's centres.

Despite her long service and a string of subsequent cabinet posts - she's currently Minister for Science and Universities - Ms. Chong has kept a low profile, never part of the inner circle in Premier Gordon Campbell's government.

Her last moment in the spotlight, until now, was in the summer when her dining on the public purse became public fodder. As an MLA living in the capital, she's entitled to a "capital city living allowance" and she maxed it out. "I'm glad you brought that up," she said this week.

She noted that only cabinet ministers' claims are disclosed, so Ms. Chong invited recall organizer Colin Nielsen to push his own MLA - who happens to be New Democratic Party Leader Carole James - to disclose her own claims on the allowance.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter