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

Victoria developer reveals proposed next phase of Dockside Green

Bosa Development is proposing three towers, ranging from 13 to 16 storeys

Langford sets sights on cultural development

Museum, conference centre and performing arts theatre proposed for McCallum Road property

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Life complicated when water not secure

Water issues have real-life impacts in Sooke Region

Comox Valley cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Most Read