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BC Liberal operative Brian Bonney left Provincial Court Jan. 31 with a nine-month conditional sentence, after pleading guilty last October to breach of public trust.

Bonney was a key member of the team involved in the party’s multicultural outreach strategy before the 2013 election. But, as court heard, he was not the ringleader of what came to be known as Quick Wins. Bonney’s guilty plea scuttled a trial, which would have lasted until Feb. 22.

Former cabinet ministers John Yap and Harry Bloy did not cooperate with the RCMP investigation.

This is what happened when Bob Mackin sought Bonney’s comment.

BC Liberal operative Brian Bonney left Provincial

Bob Mackin

Whether it meant to or not, British Columbia’s biggest public university is spending $945,000 on an advertising campaign that recycled the NDP’s 2017 campaign slogan. 

The University of British Columbia’s “For a better BC” campaign profiles four diverse students on the UBC website, with corresponding YouTube videos, and radio ads that launched earlier this week on CKNW.

Scenes from University of B.C.’s “For a better BC” ad campaign, including Okanagan student Tim Abbott (UBC)

One of the subjects is Tim Abbott, an environmental engineering doctorate candidate at UBC’s Okanagan campus. In the video, Abbott wears an orange toque eerily similar to NDP orange. The videos and radio spots end with the subjects repeating their name, and declaring “I go to UBC for a better B.C.”

Leslie Dickson, associate director of UBC’s public affairs department, denied the government had direct or indirect involvement in the campaign. She said the creative concept and slogan were developed by UBC in collaboration with creative agency Taxi and media buyer Mediacom.

“The tagline, ‘for a better B.C.,’ was chosen because it best reflected the campaign’s stories of four UBC students who are working to make our province a better place for everyone,” Dickson told theBreaker.

Rodney Porter, spokesman for Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, said the ministry does not get involved in individual advertising or marketing campaigns by public post-secondary institutions.

But a government accountability watchdog isn’t buying either of those explanations. Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC said the university should come clean about how it came to use the slogan.

Examples of how the NDP used the “Better B.C.” slogan, before and after the 2017 election. (NDP/BC Gov)

“No matter what the excuses are, it is incredibly inappropriate for any public agency to be using a political slogan that has so recently been employed in the province of B.C., as this slogan was only a few months ago,” Travis said. “Whether they’re trying to court favour with government is one issue, whether the government is trying to encourage the use of that slogan is another issue. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be used. Period.”

An April 4 news release declared “John Horgan and the BC NDP kick off campaign for a better B.C.” Horgan’s introduction in the party platform said “I believe it’s time to build a better B.C.” The party held a “Countdown to a better B.C.” rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on April 23, with a banner reading “Better BC” in bold, capital letters on the stage.

The word “better” appeared 17 times in the Sept. 8, 2017 Throne Speech, outlining priorities for the fall session of the Legislature. Headings included: Foundations of a Better B.C. and Vision for a Better B.C.

“Your government will build a better B.C. where no one is left behind,” it said.

Bob Mackin Whether it meant to or not,

British Columbia’s opposition party will choose a new leader on Feb. 3.

The marathon campaign to replace interim leader Rich Coleman (who succeeded ex-Premier Christy Clark last summer) finally got feisty on Jan. 23.

This is a party at the crossroads. The biggest, first task for the winner will be unity. It won’t be easy to pick-up the pieces and create a new vision for the free enterprise coalition after Clark’s disastrous “clone speech” that plundered the NDP and Green platforms and led to the fall of the 16-year BC Liberal dynasty. It split the party and sparked an indentity crisis. 

On this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast, listen to the most-exciting moments of the six-candidate debate.

Plus a commentary on Clark’s deceptive claim she’s a champion of women’s rights, a scan of Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines, and find out how you can support theBreaker.

theBreaker.news Podcast. It’s free to listen. 

 

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Is the BC Liberal leadership race peaking or going over the edge?
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British Columbia's opposition party will choose a

Bob Mackin

One of the most-powerful people in the Clark Clique was Athana Mentzelopoulos.

The longtime and loyal Liberal bureaucrat became known as “The Bridesmaid” because she was part of Christy Clark’s wedding entourage. She held a variety of senior roles in Clark’s 2011 to 2017 administration.

Athana Mentzelopolous laughed all the way to the bank, with a $475,000 golden parachute (BC Gov)

Mentzelopoulos was the head of government communications in 2012 when the BC Liberals falsely claimed the RCMP was investigating a health data breach that sparked the unjust and wrongful firings of government researchers. Several defamation lawsuits and a suicide followed. 

In 2016 and 2017, she was the deputy minister of finance under Mike de Jong, who concealed a consultant’s damning 2016 report about money laundering at River Rock casino, for fear that it would cost the party votes.

Mentzelopoulos was fired on the last day of the 16-year BC Liberal dynasty with a $475,000 golden parachute. Clark signed the order-in-council. She became the Canadian Credit Union Association’s head lobbyist later in the summer.

In the waning days of her job as de Jong’s deputy minister, she starred in the Treasury Board’s boxing-themed video in pursuit of the Premier’s Award of Excellence. Mentzelopoulos’s interview was shot in her office May 25, more than two weeks after election day and just over a month before the minority BC Liberals were toppled by the NDP/Green alliance in a confidence vote on the “clone speech.”

Read the nomination form, obtained under the freedom of information law: “We would like to tell the story of how government was impacted by the global recession of 2008 and faced the challenge of returning to a balanced budget while maintaining critical services of health, education, and social services, with a focus on the creative and diligent work guided by [Treasury Board Secretariat] through the strict caps on adminstrative expenditures, bureaucratic accountability, and a focus on government priorities which lead (sic) to the tabling of five consecutive balanced budgets.”

“We would like to have interviewees in a professional business setting, juxtaposed with a series of shots/scenes taken at a local kickboxing gym [Peterec’s Kickboxing Gym]. We would like to use voicover through a series of visual metaphors that tell the story of how Treasury Board staff had to be ‘fiscal warriors’ training, pushups, sparring, etc. ie. ‘To knock out a deficit you need to be… disciplined, tough, work as a team’, etc.”

Career politician de Jong

In a Jan. 24 column in The Tyee, longtime BC Liberal and former bureaucrat Tex Enemark declared the “so-called” balanced budgets “a fraud” because the Finance Ministry looted financially troubled, taxpayer-owned monopolies BC Hydro and ICBC. (Coincidentally, Enemark’s younger brother, Gord, is an executive director in the Treasury Board Secretariat and worked under Mentzelopoulos.)

“The only ones who care about balanced budgets are those seeking talking points or who do not, in fact, believe in government,” Enemark wrote. “You would be surprised how many ministers in the Clark government just did not believe in government.”

The Clark Clique played a grand game of doublespeak. While touting artificially balanced budgets, they drove up the debt. B.C.’s debt ballooned from $45.2 billion in 2011 to $66.7 billion through March 31, 2017. The budget that leadership wannabe Mike de Jong delivered in February 2017 forecast a $77.7 billion debt by 2020. 

Clark toured the province in a motorcoach during the 2013 election that was emblazoned with the “Debt Free B.C.” campaign slogan. Between the 2013 and 2017 elections, the BC Liberals put the province a further $10.85 billion in the hole. 

The NDP’s John Horgan succeeded Clark as Premier in July 2017. When the awards were doled out last November, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch — not the Treasury Board — won the organizational excellence category for liquor law reform. The Public Service Agency published the video anyway on its YouTube page. Dated Nov. 2, 2017, by Jan. 26, 2018, it had attracted the grand total of 163 views. 

Outtakes from Mentzelopoulos’s interview were obtained by theBreaker, under the freedom of information law.

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Bob Mackin One of the most-powerful people in

Bob Mackin

Change is constant and it can be very costly on a megaproject. 

Oxford University professor Bent Flyvbjerg’s “iron law of megaprojects” theory says that megaprojects tend to be delivered “over budget, over time, over and over again.” 

Take BC Hydro’s Site C dam, for instance. The BC Liberal government said in 2010 that it would cost $6 billion, later it ballooned to $8.8 billion. Further cost overruns were exposed by the B.C. Utilities Commission’s expedited review last year. When Premier John Horgan decided in December to keep building, he revealed the new cost of $10.7 billion. Higher and higher it goes. Where it will end, nobody knows. 

Horgan vowed in December that a new board would offer “enhanced oversight” to keep the project under control. But the NDP government has not moved on promises to reform public disclosure laws, policies and procedures. Outlets like theBreaker are already aiming to provide the public independent “enhanced oversight” of public spending and policymaking. It appears little has changed at BC Hydro since the Horgan Horde took over from the Clark Clique last July. 

On June 16, just four days after the Clark minority government’s post-election cabinet swearing-in, theBreaker asked for the Site C change order log, showing the individual cost changes to the project since Jan. 1, 2017. Change order logs are standard for any major construction project, and tell the story of how a project evolves. 

On July 28, BC Hydro refused to release any of the records, because it feared undue financial loss or gain to a third party. theBreaker complained to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

On Jan. 22, BC Hydro finally released 10 heavily censored pages. The Crown corporation continues to stubbornly withhold all the costs of each of the contract changes. theBreaker will continue to seek the full documents, because, on a similar case decided last October, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner ruled that the government cannot withhold change order logs. 

An adjudicator ordered the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to release costs of contract changes for the Evergreen Line.

The documents obtained by theBreaker as a result of the decision showed another $11 million in costs, which cast doubt on BC Liberal claims that the troubled Millennium Line extension to the Tri-Cities cost $1.43 billion. The OIPC ruling said there was no legal basis for maintaining secrecy of costs from a negotiated contract. In fact, the lawyer representing the government favoured release. Only Evergreen Line contractor SNC-Lavalin opposed disclosure, but did not offer any evidence that disclosure would harm its business. (SNC-Lavalin, the scandal-plagued Montreal engineering and construction giant, is also a contractor on Site C.) 

So what are some of the changes at Site C? 

A budget transfer from procurement to construction management. An increase for the independent environmental monitor. Transfer of staff from public affairs to environmental management and administration. A change to the contract value for the turbines and generators contract and a separation of the sub-project for the Generation Station and Spillway and Turbine and Generator. A radioactive pipe was disposed. A change to the Doig River First Nation burial site identification. And a contingency draw and budget transfer for the Portage Mountain Quarry. 

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, as you can see from the documents below. 

Were there any cost savings or did all of these contribute to cost overruns? 

theBreaker will endeavour to find out and let you know. 

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BC Hydro Site C Change Order Log 2018-037 by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Change is constant and it can

Bob Mackin

A deputy minister in the Christy Clark BC Liberal administration, who left the government with a $387,359 severance last July, has registered to lobby the NDP transport minister for a group representing non-union construction companies.

It is perfectly legal, for now.

Tim McEwan joined the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. last September as senior vice-president of policy and stakeholder engagement. He registered Jan. 22 as one of three ICBA lobbyists. 

Ex-Deputy Minister Tim McEwan (LinkedIn)

At the end of November, the NDP government amended the Lobbyists’ Registration Act to ban former public office holders from lobbying for two years after departing government. That would have prevented McEwan from registering. However, the cooling-off period clause isn’t effective until Premier John Horgan’s cabinet says so. 

Liam Butler, a spokesman for Attorney General David Eby, said the amendments will “come into force by regulation, anticipated in spring 2018.” 

Even then, McEwan could be allowed to continue. 

“Once the amendments are in force, former public office holders that are captured in the two-year period will need to terminate their registration and apply for an exemption with the [Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists],” said Michelle Mitchell, spokeswoman for the registry. “They will be required to cease lobbying immediately.”

McEwan had three stints in the B.C. government, most recently five years under Clark. He was assistant deputy minister in the major investments office for three-and-a half years and then spent two years as deputy minister of small business, red tape reduction and liquor distribution.

Dermod Travis of government watchdog IntegrityBC said McEwan would have potentially better access to information than others, putting his employer in an unfair advantage. Travis said the NDP footdragging means it is not fulfilling lofty democratic reform promises it made while in opposition. 

“I suspect the public thought the NDP was going to represent more of a change than how the previous government operated, and less of government operating behind closed doors with party pals,” Travis said. “What we’re beginning to see is something like a line change in an NHL game.” 

Ex-NDP corporate fundraiser Rob Nagai with John Horgan. (Twitter)

Travis said B.C. ultimately needs the same type of transparency in lobbying as exists in Washington, D.C., where lobbyists are required to make public financial disclosures. 

McEwan listed his lobbying target as Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena, intending to discuss “project labour agreements.” Trevena’s ministry is reviewing TransLink’s business case for capital funding to build a new Pattullo Bridge, Broadway Subway and Surrey light rail transit. The megaprojects were estimated at $5.1 billion, combined, in 2014. The Mayors’ Council received a secret update on the skyrocketing costs in 2016, theBreaker exclusively reported.  

The ORL fined ICBA president Chris Gardner $1,000 last year for failing to update the organization’s registration. 

The $7 million guy 

Meanwhile, the B.C. NDP’s major gifts fundraiser, Rob Nagai, left the party in December after corporate and union donations to parties were banned. He joined BC Liberal lobbyist Mark Jiles’s Bluestone Group in January and has registered to lobby for six clients: Motion Picture Industry Association, Society of Notaries Public of B.C., Vitalus Nutrition, New Car Dealers of B.C., B.C. Salmon Farmers Association and B.C. Chiropractic Association. 

Nagai’s partner on the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association account is former BC Liberal cabinet minister Don McRae. McRae sat as a back-bencher during his last two years in office and would not be subject to the two-year lobbying ban because MLAs are exempt. 

Nagai boasted raising more than $7 million over seven years as the NDP’s corporate fundraiser. Jiles, a former business partner of BC Liberal powerbroker Patrick Kinsella, was the subject of an early 2017 Globe and Mail report about indirect donations by lobbyists to the BC Liberals. An RCMP investigation and appointment of special prosecutor David Butcher ensued.

Despite his rapid registrations, Nagai pales in comparison to NDP insider Bill Tieleman, who also appears as a pundit on CBC and is co-ordinating a multiparty campaign to defeat the proportional representation referendum. 

Tieleman registered his 17th client on Jan. 22, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade-backed Better Transit and Transportation Coalition that is lobbying for the TransLink megaprojects.

NDP lobbyist Bill Tieleman and ex-BC Liberal Attorney General Suzanne Anton (Twitter)

His other 16 active clients are: B.C. Insulation Contractors Association, B.C. Naturopathic Association, Crumb Rubber Manufacturers Association of Canada Processing, Canadian Football League Players’ Association, Construction and Specialized Workers’ Union Local 1611, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 118, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 115 and 963, Ironworkers Union Shop Local 712, Landcor Data Corp., Unifor Locals 111, 333 and 2200, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, and Vancouver Native Housing Society. 

Several of Tieleman’s industrial union clients succeeded in convincing Horgan to carry-on with the Site C dam, now estimated at $10.7 billion. Tieleman joined ex-BC Liberal Attorney General Suzanne Anton and former longtime bureaucrat Bob Plecas in the anti-proportional representation campaign. 

“Sometimes three different types of hats — which is what he is currently wearing — is going to inevitably lead you into a conflict and that conflict will not look good on government,” Travis said. “It won’t look good on democratic institutions in B.C., and it raises concerns over the transparency and legitimacy of the upcoming referendum.” 

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Bob Mackin A deputy minister in the Christy

Bob Mackin

In a quest for more revenue, B.C.’s NDP government is planning to change the way you buy liquor and how you gamble — despite launching a new ministry to battle addictions.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation has a tentative $250,000 no-bid contract through 2019 with a Vancouver studio to develop new virtual reality games.

NDP technology minister Bruce Ralston at Archiact’s studio last August (Facebook)

A notice of intent says that Archiact Interactive Ltd. is the only supplier capable of the assignment “because of their specific focus developing game applications for VR delivery in gaming contexts for an assortment of retail and hospitality networks.”

Competitors have until Jan. 26 to formally challenge the contract. 

Archiact was founded by Frank Shen and Derek Chen. In 2016, they sold a 10% stake in the company for $4.2 million to China-based 37 Interactive Entertainment. 

BCLC is searching for a way to reach millennials amid an aging gambling market. A Sept. 25, 2017 briefing note to Attorney General David Eby, who is responsible for gambling promotion and regulation, said that BCLC’s online gambling portal, PlayNow.com, “has continued to grow year over year while land-based gambling is flat lining.”

Meanwhile, the Liquor Distribution Branch wants to sell booze online like Ontario. 

The Crown alcohol wholesaler and retailer is accepting bids through Feb. 6 for acquisition, implementation, design and ongoing enhancement of an e-commerce software as a service or cloud application solution. LDB’s web store would include the option for home delivery or online reservations and in-store pick-up.

The tender document doesn’t say how soon the public could be clicking and sipping, but it wants phase one of the three-phase program to be up and running this summer.

LDB consultants Forrester Research and Gartner Canada Co., the tender document said, “concluded that an all-in-one [business to business] and [business to consumer] e-commerce software solution is the best approach for the LDB in the beginning stages of developing a digital commerce business. Moreover, an all-in-one e-commerce software solution will ensure that the selected e-commerce software solution will include all major pillars of digital commerce management, experience management, order management, transaction management and product management.” 

Ontario’s Crown liquor giant launched online sales in July 2016 (LCBO).

In B.C., individual stores, like Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village, are allowed to offer online plonk purchasing and beer buying. 

Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn sell online to Albertans via LiquorDirect.ca. The Seattle, Calgary and Edmonton markets are targeted by Drizly.com, which wants to become the Amazon of liquor.  

“Coast to coast, we work with local stores to make the biggest selection and best prices available to you,” says the Boston company’s online sales spiel. “Drizly gives you a better option for shopping beer, wine and liquor in your area. Choose to have it delivered immediately, schedule it for later or pick it up in-store to skip the line. It’s up to you.”

In July 2016, after a three-month internal soft launch, Liquor Control Board of Ontario began selling 5,000 products online, giving customers the option of shipping free to one of the 654 LCBO stores or paying a $12 service charge for home delivery within one-to-three days by Canada Post for orders $50 and up.

Online sales brought-in $7 million in the first year, but LCBO forecasts it to become a $1 billion bonanza within five-to-seven years. 

In November, Advertising Age reported that only 0.2% of beer sales were online last year, but Heineken USA CEO Ronald den Elzen forecast it would grow to 2.4% by 2021 and become “a total system shakeup.” 

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Bob Mackin In a quest for more revenue,

Provincial Court Judge David St. Pierre heard four days of arguments over sentencing of  BC Liberal operative Brian Bonney.

Hear about it on this week’s edition of theBreaker.news Podcast.

Bonney pleaded guilty in October to breach of public trust, cancelling a trial that would have overshadowed the BC Liberal leadership election. He will learn his fate Jan. 31. 

Court heard that Christy Clark won the party leadership in 2011 with a block voting-by-proxy scheme run by her only caucus supporter, Burnaby MLA Harry Bloy.

Special Prosecutor David Butcher and the RCMP also learned that Clark’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Kim Haakstad, informed Clark about the Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan in 2012. Clark claimed she knew nothing about the secret plan to pander to ethnic voters in swing ridings until late February 2013, when the NDP tabled a leaked copy of the memo in the Legislature. 

This week’s edition includes regular features Around the Rim and Cascadia Calling, a commentary about a taxpayer-funded court management convention at a controversial casino, and a special nod to the only Canadian city shortlisted for Amazon’s second headquarters. 

Listen to theBreaker.news Podcast. It’s free. 

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Quick Wins gets to court
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Provincial Court Judge David St. Pierre heard

Bob Mackin 

Christy Clark was told about the BC Liberal Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan more than a year before the NDP released a leaked copy. 

That is according to email read in B.C. Provincial Court by Special Prosecutor David Butcher during the sentencing of an ex-government worker who pleaded guilty to breach of public trust. 

Premier Christy Clark’s WeChat account. She uses the name Jane Hui Zhi for her Chinese followers.

During a four-day hearing, which ended Jan. 19, Butcher asked Judge David St. Pierre to sentence Brian Bonney to 12 to 23-months house arrest. BC Liberal operative Bonney was hired to be communications director for the government’s multiculturalism branch and tasked to carry out the party plan to target ethnic voters in swing ridings for the 2013 election. 

St. Pierre will deliver his verdict Jan. 31.

The plan, which became known as Quick Wins, was authored in late 2011 by Clark’s Deputy Chief of Staff Kim Haakstad. Butcher said an update of the plan was sent to Clark on Feb. 22, 2012. A status update email from Haakstad to Gabe Garfinkel, Clark’s executive assistant, read: “I told PCC [Premier Christy Clark] I’d give her an update on this. Put it in her briefing folder.”

Haakstad resigned without severance on March 1, 2013, the same day that Clark told reporters in Prince George: “I was never involved in it, I didn’t know about it until Wednesday, until it was brought forward in the house.” 

During the March 4, 2013 Question Period, Clark said: “Had I known that this document existed, I would have put a stop to it immediately.” Haakstad quitely reunited with Clark on her failed Vancouver-Point Grey campaign team in the 2013 election. 

Bonney pleaded guilty on Oct. 12, 2017. A trial had been scheduled to run Oct. 16, 2017 to Feb. 22, 2018 and would likely have overshadowed the election of a new BC Liberal leader on Feb. 3. 

Clark resigned last summer after the party lost a confidence vote to the Green-supported NDP. 

Brian Bonney

Butcher said that while employed as a public servant, Bonney directed and supervised contractors to work on partisan activities to recruit support from ethnic communities “that were critical to [BC Liberal] electoral success.” Bonney was engaged in promoting the free enterprise, anti-union position of his party, while working as a public servant, Butcher said. “He carried out his tasks with gusto and enthusiasm.”

Butcher cited the nine-month sentence given to Michael Sona for the Conservative robocalls scandal in 2011 in a Guelph, Ont. federal riding as a leading case. Butcher said Bonney’s offence was worse, because he was part of a plan to affect the democratic system across an entire province. Unlike Sona, Bonney was experienced. 

Bonney’s defence lawyer Ian Donaldson asked St. Pierre for a discharge or conditional sentence and said there was no similar breach of public trust case, because there was no bribery or theft. Butcher said Bonney did receive personal benefit from the $140,000-a-year job. When the scandal broke, the BC Liberals repaid $70,000 to the public treasury. 

“Unfortunately, in the work he was doing, some of that work crossed the line between public and political or partisan,” Donaldson said. “He accepts that he was wrong in straying across that boundary, but the circumstances demonstrate, the emails and documents, that this wasn’t Mr. Bonney on a lark. This was Mr. Bonney doing his work and doing his job and being instructed and directed and guided by others to do things and him not putting on the brakes.”

David Butcher

Butcher said “the RCMP conducted a lengthy and challenging investigation into the case.” Most of the significant evidence came from email, mainly Gmail. 

“Most of the key witnesses from the Liberal party caucus and ministerial staff lawyered up,” he said. “Two former cabinet ministers, Harry Bloy and John Yap, did not, under the advice of counsel, ever provide statements to the RCMP.”

Bloy, a lifelong friend of Bonney, was rewarded by Clark as multiculturalism minister after she became premier in 2011. Bloy was the only member of caucus to support Clark’s successful campaign to become party leader. 

Butcher confirmed that the investigation found voting irregularities in the leadership contest that resulted in Clark defeating Kevin Falcon by 340 points on a regionally-weighted preferential ballot. 

“The election rules did not prohibit proxy voting. Bloy used his connections to [contractor Sepideh] Sarrafpour and his connections’ connections,” Butcher said. 

“Those connections gathered blocks of PINs which were supplied to Mr. Bloy, who provided them to other Clark supporters, who entered them online — block voting in a proxy process. The Liberal Party has acknowledged difficulties with this process and it has adopted a different system… and prudently they sought advice from the RCMP about how to improve the integrity of the process.”

Butcher said it was still a mystery why the BC Liberals paid Bonney-hired ethnic outreach worker Sarrafpour through Bonney’s numbered company and he agreed with St. Pierre that it was ironic for Bonney to work in a ministry that included the words “open government” on its shingle. 

“There are some things about this case that are really quite strange,” Butcher conceded.

Bonney quit his government job for health reasons and had been hired as CEO of the B.C. Homebuilders Association just two days before the scandal broke. He lost that job and has only worked on a commission basis since then, including a contract with the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. 

Donaldson said this experience “incinerated Bonney’s existence.”

At the end of the hearing on Jan. 19, St. Pierre gave Bonney the opportunity to address court. Bonney issued a short apology. 

“I think it is important that I say I do apologize to you, I apologize to the Crown, I apologize to the RCMP, and the people in the courtroom,” Bonney said. “But, most importantly, I apologize to everyone in Victoria and the people of British Columbia for what’s happened here.”

Bonney declined to comment outside the courtroom. 

It was not the first case involving a BC Liberal operative for St. Pierre, a 2009-appointed  judge. He was on the prosecution team for the trial of former ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk. They maintained their innocence in the BC Rail privatization trial until  they copped a plea bargain in October 2010 when the government agreed to pay their $6 million legal bill. 

Observers for the sentencing included BC Liberal communications director David Wasyluk, NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon and party worker Heather Libby.  Wasyluk, a former caucus researcher, was reporting back to party executive director Emile Scheffel by text message. Kahlon is a former aide to Adrian Dix, who filed a complaint with the RCMP about the Quick Wins scandal when the BC Liberals released 10,000 pages of email after the 2013 election. 

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Bob Mackin  Christy Clark was told about the