Chong reflects on ‘volatile’ 2011

Recall campaign, leadership race and HST defeat helped keep MLA busy

  • Dec. 23, 2011 2:00 p.m.

After what she describes as “the most interesting year” of her career, Ida Chong says she’s looking forward to 2012 as a year to “settle in, get some stability back and tackle the job at hand.”

The Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA, first elected to the Legislature in 1996, had a busy 2011, fighting a recall campaign directed at ousting her from office. She also watched the leadership of her Liberal party switch hands, and dealt with the fallout of the referendum that defeated the contentious HST.

“No question it was a politically volatile year,” she said, mentioning May’s federal election, municipal elections in November and the opposition New Democrats also seeing a leadership change.

“I can certainly say this Christmas is less stressful than last Christmas,” Chong said.

The Fight HST recall campaign named Chong its first target in early December 2010. Petitioners were given two months to gather 15,368 signatures supporting her recall. The campaign ultimately failed in early February.

“This time last year, regardless of what people had to say, I had to still be out there. … It was in my face the entire time,” she said. “Looking back, I’m glad I can put that behind me, but I’m also reflective that as hard as it was, I learned along through that process.”

She says the greatest lesson from this year came from fighting the recall.

“You can work hard as an MLA. You can think people are paying attention to the good things you’re doing. But if you don’t communicate and share the good work, people don’t know – and that works against you,” she said. “You can’t take being a politician for granted.”

After Gordon Campbell resigned in March, Chong says she was glad some stability returned when Christy Clark was named premier.

While fighting recall, Chong held two ministerial portfolios – Sciences and Universities, and Regional Economic and Skills Development. She was moved to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in March.

Under her new title, some of the key initiatives she’s undertaken include the community gaming grant review and the announcement of a municipal auditor general.

“There were some pretty key things I had to deal with,” she said.

For 2012, Chong says the biggest priority for B.C. will be to focus on the economy: balance the budget and create local jobs.

“A big issue will be putting back in place a two-tax system, as opposed to one. It’s not simple … and it’s going to be a challenge to get that balanced budget,” she said. “Now I can focus on my ministry, and start getting things happening. Let’s work on the sports side of things and the cultural side of things to see how groups can contribute to our jobs plan. We all will have to work towards our common goal.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Five Halloween activities for adults to celebrate the spooky season

Halloween isn’t just for little ghouls in Greater Victoria

Central Saanich changes incentives for housing developments

Changes shift incentives for some developments from development cost charges to building permit fees

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read