Thursday , January 28 2021

Special prosecutor signs off on quick-wins probe into former B.C. government

A special prosecutor says he has not approved charges recommended by the RCMP following the B.C. Liberal government's 2012 leadership election because the evidence fell short of the required standard.

David Butcher said in a statement released Monday that the RCMP found some evidence that alleged new membership fees in the run up to the leadership vote were paid by other people and it recommended charges under the Elections Act as well as obstruction. But, Butcher said, that evidence "fell far short" of what was necessary to approve charges.

Butcher has now signed off the case after looking into three separate allegations involving the leadership campaign, the so-called quick-wins scandal in the 2013 provincial election, and an allegation of the improper use of public resources in a Port Moody byelection.

In 2017, former Liberal government staffer Brian Bonney pleaded guilty of a breach of trust in a scheme to gain ethnic voter support for the Liberals in swing ridings in the 2013 election by improperly using government resources for partisan purposes.

Bonnie was given a nine-month conditional sentence, but Butcher said he was not the architect of the scheme, even though he admitted going well beyond what he was entitled to do as a public servant.

The investigations began after former Opposition leader Adrian Dix asked the RCMP to determine whether criminal offenses were committed in the multicultural outreach plan.

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