theBreaker was first to report that Laura Miller has left the BC Liberal Party and this time it appears to be for good.
The once-hyperactive Twitter account of the controversial executive director of Premier Christy Clark’s party disappeared June 13 after a month of being dormant. A source told theBreaker that Miller agreed to her termination.
Party president Sharon White did not respond immediately to queries from theBreaker.
At 1:39 p.m. on June 13, Miller’s Twitter account reappeared, and she confirmed her departure. “After 3 years+ with BC Liberals and 2 historic elections, I am moving on professionally and geographically at the end of the month. I am deeply grateful to the BC Liberals team led by Sharon White and Christy Clark for the incredible opportunity and experience.”
By email, Miller’s lawyer, Scott Hutchison, told theBreaker: “It has always been Laura’s intention to return to Ontario after the election in British Columbia. She is proud of her involvement in two historic election wins for Premier Christy Clark and looks forward to upcoming opportunities.”
Miller came west to work on the party’s surprise 2013 election win as production director and was promoted to executive director later that year.
Under Miller, the party lost two by-elections in 2016 and lost six seats — and its 16-year majority status — in the May 9 provincial election. That, despite raising record sums of money through unregulated cash for access fundraisers, which led to an RCMP investigation over donations by lobbyists who did not disclose who their clients were.
The Liberals may be defeated by a Green-supported NDP minority in a confidence vote after the Legislature returns June 22.
Miller originally announced Dec. 17, 2015 that she would immediately leave the party to defend herself against criminal charges at home in Ontario, but, as this reporter revealed, she really didn’t go far.
Miller was charged by Ontario Provincial Police with breach of trust, mischief, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief from her time as deputy chief of staff to Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty. The charges relate to efforts to delete damning evidence about the politically motivated cancellation of gas-fired power plants in 2011. She is scheduled to be on trial in Ontario beginning Sept. 11.
An online campaign by her mother since late 2015 to raise $100,000 for her defense fund has raised $79,311. White was among several Liberal insiders who donated.
Miller did not actually leave the BC Liberals in 2015. While the party said publicly that Evan Southern was Miller’s replacement, she continued to be an integral part of campaign planning committee meetings. Both her email and voice mail remained active well into February 2016. Finally, in mid-March 2016, the party announced she had resumed her duties as executive director.
This time, Miller’s email address is no longer in operation.
On the way out the door, did she use a Winnie the Pooh reference to throw shade at a rival?
The last of Miller’s four farewell Tweets started “Remember always it’s better to be Tigger than Eeyore…”
In a March 31, 2017 Globe and Mail story about polling, 2013 campaign director Mike McDonald revealed that his nickname is Eeyore. McDonald is back in Clark’s office as her chief of staff.
UPDATE: The same source that tipped-off theBreaker about Miller’s departure said June 14 that the party’s new executive director will be Michele Cadario, Clark’s deputy chief of staff.
The former deputy chief of staff to Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was part of Clark’s leadership campaign in 2011, acted as a senior party fundraiser and was rewarded after the 2013 election, when she got a pay raise from $144,000 to $230,000.
At party headquarters, Cadario will be reunited with Evan Southern, the party operations director. Southern left Clark’s office after the damning Information and Privacy Commissioner’s October 2015 investigation into triple-deleting. In the “Access Denied” report,Southern was blasted for keeping track of FOI requests to the Office of the Premier on Post-It notes. Commissioner Elizabeth Denham found that Cadario continuously purged her email box.