Guilty plea entered in B.C. Liberals’ ‘quick wins’ scandal
VANCOUVER — A former B.C. Liberal government communications director quietly entered a guilty plea to one count of breach of trust on Thursday in the socalled “quick wins” scandal from the Christy Clark era.
Brian Bonney, who once worked on Clark’s Liberal leadership campaign, entered the plea to the criminal charge before provincial court Judge David St. Pierre in Vancouver.
Bonney’s trial in provincial court had been scheduled to begin on Monday. A two-day sentencing hearing for Bonney is expected to start on Dec. 6.
David Butcher, the special prosecutor in the case, said in an email that his comments, which will include a thorough review of the case, will be made during the sentencing proceedings.
“I think there’s lots to say, but I’m going to say it when we get there in December,” Ian Donaldson, Bonney’s lawyer, said when he was asked for comment late Thursday.
The charge of breach of trust by a public officer, which was laid in May 2016, relates to an offence that occurred between Oct. 16, 2011, and Dec. 21, 2012.
The charge came nearly three years after the RCMP, following a complaint by the then-Opposition NDP, opened an investigation into the B.C. Liberals’ controversial draft multicultural outreach plan — more commonly called the quick wins scandal.
It sought, among other things, to use taxpayer-funded resources to drum up votes in targeted ethnic communities in the 2013 general election.
The plan, which was leaked to the media, dogged the Clark government in the months leading up to the 2013 election, and resulted in several resignations, including Kim Haakstad, Clark’s close friend and deputy chief of staff.
Election Act charges arising from the same RCMP investigation were laid in 2014 against Bonney, co-accused Mark Robertson and a numbered company.
Those charges related to allegations stemming from a byelection in 2012. The charges were dealt with in May 2016 after the numbered company entered a guilty plea to one count of making/accepting a political donation.
The company, which did business as Mainland Communications, was fined $5,000 and the remaining charges were stayed. Bonney was the president of the company.