Rick Dykstra served as the Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, Ontario from January 2006 through October 2015, and has served as Parliamentary Secretary twice, the first time to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and presently to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Rick began his political career at the municipal level in 1991. At age 25, Rick was one of the youngest ever elected to St. Catharines city council. In 1994 he topped the polls in St. Patrick’s ward and was re-elected to a second term. He served from 1991-1997. During that time, Rick was chair of the Finance Committee that froze taxes for two consecutive years, a feat which has not been accomplished since. After his two terms on city council, Rick spent five years working in senior roles in the Ontario government. Most notably, Rick was Director of Caucus and Public Relations for Premier Mike Harris and served as Chief of Staff to John Baird while he was Minister of Community and Social Services. Prior to being elected as the Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, Rick was partner in a successful public affairs business operating out of Niagara and Toronto.
Rick was elected Member of Parliament for St. Catharines in the 2006 election, defeating the incumbent in the fifth closest race in the Country. During his first term from 2006 to October 2008, he served on two key committees which were tasked with passing important parts of the Governments platform, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and Finance Committee. Rick was re-elected on October 14, 2008 with a vastly increased margin of victory. On November 7 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Immigration. In this role, Rick was responsible for the leadership of the Conservative MPs on the House Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, representing Minister Jason Kenney in Question Period, and travelling the country to discuss immigration issues, such as human smuggling. During the five years Rick spent at Citizenship and Immigration the most significant and progressive advancements since the Second World War were achieved. In 2010, the Prime Minister appointed Rick to serve as Chair of the Parliamentary Secretaries Caucus Advisory Council. The first of its kind, the process ensures that all Members of Parliament from the government participate in the review process and advise and approve all government legislation as well as Private Member’s Bills. In 2013 Rick was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, a post he still holds. He currently sits on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and on the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure on Canadian Heritage. Details are available on the Parliament of Canada web site.
Rick was re-elected again in the 2011 federal election, with the largest number of votes that a Conservative has ever received in St. Catharines. He was the first Member of Parliament since the 1958 Diefenbaker majority to win a plurality of over 50% of the ballots cast in St. Catharines.
Rick has a degree in Political Science from Brock University, and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from York University. He also served for twelve years as president of Dykstra Landscaping; a family owned and operated business. Rick remains actively involved in politics at the federal, provincial, and municipal level. He and his wife Kathy are lifelong residents of St. Catharines and are the proud parents of three children, Zachary, Jessica and Lauren.