Former B.C. government staffer charged with breach of trust

Brian Bonney charged in connection with B.C. Liberal Party's ethnic outreach strategy

Former B.C. government communications staffer Brian Bonney

A special prosecutor has laid a charge of breach of trust against former B.C. government communications staffer Brian Bonney for his role in a project that used government resources to help the B.C. Liberal Party.

The charge under Section 122 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence for a public official to commit a breach of trust “in connection with the duties of his office.” It was laid by Vancouver lawyer David Butcher, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case in 2013.

The charge relates to a plan to use government staff time to organize events in ethnic communities, then collect names for use in the B.C. Liberal election campaign of 2013. It was detailed in a leaked memo from Kim Haakstad, then Premier Christy Clark’s deputy chief of staff.

Disclosure of the memo led to the resignations of Haakstad and Bonney. Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap also resigned as minister of state for multiculturalism, and the B.C. Liberal Party paid $70,000 to the government to compensate for inappropriate use of public employee time.

The memo described a plan to organize events such as a formal apology for the historical “head tax” on Chinese immigrants, and collect names of participants for use by the B.C. Liberal election campaign. The memo referred to such appeals to ethnic voters as “quick wins,” a term used by opposition critics to remind the public of the events.

NDP leader John Horgan said the latest charge adds to charges in Ontario against B.C. Liberal Party executive director Laura Miller and another ex-communications staffer, George Gretes, charged with lying to the Information and Privacy Commissioner about deleting emails.

“The premier ran on a platform of families first,” Horgan said. “We didn’t know it was going to be a Godfather kind of family.”

Deputy Premier Rich Coleman said the government did the right thing by referring the situation to a special prosecutor, and had no say in the three-year investigation.

“People have to be held responsible for their own actions,” Coleman said of Bonney. “It’s not like somebody directed somebody to do something to break a law.”

The charge follows three Election Act charges against Bonney and a B.C. Liberal Party staffer in 2014, related to their role in the B.C. Liberal by-election campaign in Port Moody-Coquitlam in 2012.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour recognizes Prince Rupert’s rich labour history

Epic story of the Battle of Kelly’s Cut put Rupert on the labour radar

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Oily rain runoff down the drain causes concern for Prince Rupert residents

Immediate action taken to alleviate any concerns, road paving contractor said.

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Bear put down after being found on Vancouver Island kitchen counter

Bear trapped and killed near Ucluelet after repeated instances of entering sheds and homes

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Second phase of NHL draft lottery set for Monday

Each club eliminated from qualifying round has a 12.5 per cent shot at the No. 1 pick

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Most Read