ETHNIC VOTE BUYING SCANDAL BACK! Police, Special Prosecutor Appointed To Probe New Information Uncovered By NDP

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By R. Paul Dhillon With News Files

VICTORIA – The BC Liberals’ ethnic vote buying scandal where they were found to have committed a number of wrongs, including one payment of $6,800 to a community contractor for work approved by the multiculturalism minister without a signed contract, is back for a second helping thanks to new damning information uncovered by the NDP.

Authorities moved quickly to appoint a special prosecutor as RCMP probe to assess possible charges related to the B.C. Liberal Party’s ethnic voter outreach efforts last year.

Sources from the BC Liberal party told the LINK that it could have to do with the money and tickets handed out in the much hyped pre-election Bollywood bash – The Times of India Awards (TOIFA), which were held in early April at the insistence of Premier Christy Clark.

At the time, there were many in the community talking quietly that free tickets to the main TOIFA awards function were given out to insiders to be given away free to select ridings across the province in an attempt to buy votes. But these, we should point out, were just rumours as nothing substantial or concrete emerged from these allegations.

But it should be noted that Indo-Canadian voters did play a significant part in the BC Liberal win with their strategic voting, including NDP losing what was considered a safe seat in Surrey-Fleetwood, which was held by NDP’s Jagrup Brar.

But this may all be only conjecture or wild rumours as police and NDP leader Adrian Dix, who made the complaint to the RCMP in a letter this week, are not revealing much.

“In order to ensure the integrity of the work of the special prosecutor and the RCMP, I will not provide any further details at this point,” he wrote. “For the same reasons, I chose not to draw public attention to these concerns after I had written to the RCMP. At this stage, it is important to let the investigation run its course. ”

Dix said Friday that the information his party obtained after the election was so serious that it had to be forwarded to police.

Dix says he wrote a letter to the RCMP outlining the new information related to the Liberal government’s misuse of resources for so-called quick wins.

However, Dix did say in a statement the complaint related to allegations the NDP made in the legislature in July.

In July, Dix called the B.C. Liberals “cheats” , reported CTV news.

“If you look at the operation of this premier’s office from leadership campaign to premier’s office to election, they spent a lot of attention on this,” Dix told reporters following question period where the ethnic-vote issue was hotly debated.

“Huge money was involved in government advertising, which is part of the plan. Huge efforts were made and significant efforts were made to use government resources it appears to develop lists.

“They diverted $1 million from the jobs’ plan.”

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.

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, reported Surrey Leader.

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.

One misuse involved the payment of $6,800 to a community contractor for work approved by the multiculturalism minister without a signed contract and another concerned a government aide who was employed by the government caucus and but doing work for the Liberal party.

The Liberal party later reimbursed the government $70,000 as part of Brian Bonney’s salary amid allegations that a former Liberal worker was offered a job to keep quiet about the ethnic vote strategy.

The B.C. Liberals’ ethnic voters strategy was leaked by the NDP in March and it detailed an internal government plan to appeal to multicultural communities ahead of the May election, reported CTV news.

The scandal forced the resignation of a minister and top Liberal bureaucrats.

The premier’s deputy minister, John Dyble, concluded in the review that government resources were misused.

The review, which made six recommendations, found two serious instances of misuse, including the payment of $6,800 to a community contractor for work approved by former multiculturalism minister John Yap without a signed contract.

Dyble’s review caused Clark’s popularity ratings to plunge, forced Yap out of cabinet and cost two Liberal insiders, Kim Haakstad and Mike Lee, their jobs.

Bonney left government for a private-sector job.

Dyble’s report included 10,000 pages of supporting documents, but the documentation wasn’t released until after the May 14 election.

Dix said in July that emails contained in the documents indicate at least one person with the potential to damage the Liberals was not interviewed as part of the review.

The email in question involves communications suggesting a disgruntled former Liberal worker should be offered money to do non-public work before May’s provincial election, reported CTV news.