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

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Mountain bikers lining up for Hartland’s newest trail

Revamped black diamond run ‘what the community needed’

A new daycare at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre is slated to open in September. (Rendering courtesy of West Shore Parks and Recreation)
Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre brings daycare centre to Colwood

New centre to offer 80 spaces come September

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s Float the Boat fundraiser campaign is underway. The goal is to raise $25,000 in donations to help with the cost of running virtual programs and onsite operations. (Courtesy Maritime Museum of B.C.)
Maritime Museum of B.C. looks to Float the Boat in Victoria

Fundraiser proceeds will support multitude of virtual programs and onsite operations

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read