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Former B.C. cabinet minister accuses Mike de Jong of lying about Liberal budget surplus

Former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong.
Former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong. Justin Tang/CP

It’s a big accusation to make.

A former B.C. cabinet minister said ex-B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong lied about the province’s surplus, when the Liberals were in power.

In an email obtained by Global News, Bill Bennett said de Jong misled the cabinet and caucus on the amount of the BC Liberals’ last surplus.

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Bennett said de Jong either knew about an extra $2 billion, or he actually messed up the finances.

Bennett said if he lied, then the former finance minister isn’t trustworthy, but he went on to say that de Jong isn’t the incompetent type, and he believes that he simply didn’t tell anyone about the extra money.

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He said if that money was used towards social supports, there wouldn’t be a BC Liberal leadership campaign today.

He pinned the 2017 election loss on de Jong, and said his vote goes to Andrew Wilkinson.

Bennett is co-chairing Wilkinson’s campaign.

The comments from Bennett came days after the Wilkinson campaign struck a deal with the de Jong leadership bid to support each other as a second choice on the ranked ballot.

de Jong’s campaign strategist Stephen Carter says there’s nothing to the accusations, and deJong won’t be wasting his breath responding to it.

“To be honest – it’s not worth his time. I mean it’s just a silly accusation by someone who’s no longer an MLA and isn’t running anymore.”

Carter says the upside is it has people talking about de Jong, and the importance candidate ranking will play as members mark their ballots.

With files from Global News reporter Liza Yuzda

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