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B.C. Liberals ‎Bending The Ethical Bar For Their Friends

By John Horgan – NDP Leader

VICTORIA – Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal Party will do whatever it takes to win. They’ll “triple-delete” public information to hide it from British Columbians.

They’ll spend half a million dollars flying the premier and her personal videographer around in private jets.  And they’ll hand out a billion-dollar tax break to the rich in their budget – even while clawing back an affordable bus pass program for people with disabilities.

Last week, Christy Clark welcomed back Laura Miller, who faces criminal charges in Ontario related to that province’s gas plant scandal, to the top job at the B.C. Liberal Party.

Miller stepped down from her job as executive director here in B.C. after being charged in Ontario last December, but last week she stepped right back into her role, despite the serious charges still hanging over her head.

Christy Clark said it was “fair” and “right” that Miller should get her job back, charges or no charges. But what she really meant was that the rules don’t apply to people like Laura Miller – people who are friends and allies of Christy Clark.

I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most British Columbians do either.

Elected officials and the people who work for them are held to high standards, and for good reason. Welcoming Laura Miller back into the fold tells the people of this province that the B.C. Liberals are only too willing to lower the ethical bar when it suits them.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

After the Quick Wins scandal showed B.C. Liberals doing campaign work on the public’s dime, Brian Bonney, former government communications director, and Mark Robertson, director of field operations at the B.C. Liberal Party, were charged under the Elections Act for failing to report campaign expenses to the financial agent in the 2012 Port Moody by-election.

And what happened to Bonney and Robertson? Bonney moved on and remains involved in the B.C. Liberal Party. Robertson actually got to keep his job.

But if you’re not a friend of the premier, then don’t think you’re going to get the benefit of Christy Clark’s golden parachute service.

Whistleblower Tim Duncan bravely came forward to tell his story about witnessing his supervisor intentionally deleting emails related to the Highway of Tears. While Duncan endured attacks from B.C. Liberal staffers, his superior, George Gretes, was placed on leave, and didn’t resign until the matter was referred to the RCMP.

On March 8, Gretes was charged under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The same goes for the eight Health Ministry workers who were wrongfully dismissed and defamed by Christy Clark’s government. While those who had a hand in cooking up the scandal continue to be protected, innocent workers whose lives were turned upside down by the government’s false allegations had to fight for years for even an apology from the premier. For a full three years, Christy Clark’s government failed to even admit that the RCMP investigation they said was ongoing never existed.

One of those workers took his own life before he could see his name cleared.

Christy Clark and her government may lack integrity, but they have no shortage of arrogance. There is one set of rules for their friends and allies, and another for everyone else in this province.

Laura Miller – criminal charges.

Brian Bonney – charged under the Elections Act.

Mark Robertson – charged under the Elections Act.

George Gretes – charged under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Not to mention the fact that a Special Prosecutor continues to investigate the Quick Wins scandal, which may yet lead to more charges.

British Columbians expect better from the people they elected. And they deserve better.

John Horgan is the Leader of the New Democrats

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