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Gary Vernon Lauk was born on September 7, 1940 in Vancouver, BC. He is the son of Edward Lauk. Lauk graduated from UBC Law School in 1966, and he went on to practice criminal law until he was elected to the B.C. Legislature in 1972 as a member of the New Democratic Party party, representing the Vancouver Centre riding. Lauk was re-elected in 1975, 1979 and 1983.
In 1973, Lauk became Minister of Economic Development and created the B.C. Development Corporation. In 1975, he was appointed Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources. After the NDP lost the election in 1975, Lauk was appointed as the Education Critic, a role he held from 1975 to 1982. In 1986, Lauk stepped down to allow Mike Harcourt, the new leader of the NDP, to be elected to the assembly.
Since 1986, Lauk has practiced as a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver. He has also sat on the board of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, the Trial Lawyers Association of America, and on the Board of Corpus Christi College at UBC.