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

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

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

While Buccaneer Days public events are cancelled again, such as the annual parade, a home and business decorating contest will allow the spirit of the event to live on. (Facebook)
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days COVID-19 cannon fodder again

Annual celebration cancelled a second time, decorating contest full steam ahead

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read