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Police probe ethnic vote scandal

Premier Christy Clark announces the Times of India Film Awards, held in Vancouver in April. - Black Press files
Premier Christy Clark announces the Times of India Film Awards, held in Vancouver in April.
— image credit: Black Press files

VICTORIA – A special prosecutor has been appointed to assess possible charges related to the B.C. Liberal Party's ethnic voter outreach efforts last year.

The RCMP and the criminal justice branch revealed Thursday that they are investigating a complaint of possible violations of the Election Act made in August. NDP leader Adrian Dix then announced that he made the complaint in a letter to police.

Vancouver lawyer David Butcher has been appointed to assess the potential for charges arising out of former B.C. government staffers' plans to use government resources to build support for the B.C. Liberal Party before the May election.

Dix said in a statement the complaint related to allegations the NDP made in the legislature in July. Documents released after the election included an email from former government staffer Brian Bonney suggesting that a contractor be offered a job to keep her from releasing information damaging to Premier Christy Clark and the party.

Bonney left his government communications job days before a draft version of the ethnic outreach plan was leaked to the NDP in February. Clark's former deputy chief of staff, who distributed the plan, resigned along with another staffer, and Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap quit his cabinet post as minister of state for multiculturalism.

Clark's spokesman Ben Chin said Thursday the government will "cooperate fully" with the investigation.

A review of the plan by senior public servants found that Bonney's conduct and the hiring of a contractor to do political work were "serious breaches" of the oath taken by all government employees.

The plan focused on arranging government events for immigrant communities, and collecting lists of potential supporters for use by the B.C. Liberal Party in the election campaign.

 

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