News / Vancouver

Special prosecutor appointed as RCMP probe ‘quick wins’ scandal

The Criminal Justice Branch has appointed lawyer David Butcher as a special prosecutor as Mounties investigate the fall-out of the “quick wins” scandal.

Police have been investigating a complaint launched by outgoing NDP leader Adrian Dix into the Liberals’ Draft Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan and alleged Election Act irregularities since August, but asked the Branch to delay publicly naming a prosecutor until now “to safeguard the integrity of the investigation in its early stages.”

The exact nature of the complaints has not been revealed, but it could lead to criminal charges and the investigation “could include member of government and/or government employees.”

Premier Christy Clark was not available to comment, but her director of communications Ben Chin issued a statement.

“It is inappropriate to comment during any ongoing investigation. The Government of British Columbia respects this process, and will cooperate fully,” he wrote. “Any citizen, including Mr. Dix, is free to file a complaint with the authorities.”

The so-called “Ethnicgate” scandal sparked outrage before this year’s provincial election when an insider document was leaked outlining “quick wins” the Liberals could use to win back ethnic votes (such as orchestrating a timely government apology for turning away refugees on the Komagata Maru in 1914).

Allegations that government employees were involved in partisan political work on the taxpayer dime led to Premier Christy Clark ordering an internal investigation into her own office.

The Premier’s chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, resigned shortly after the plan was leaked.

Haakstad resurfaced during the election campaign as a volunteer on Clark’s campaign in Vancouver-Point Grey.

In March 2013, Deputy Minister to the Premier John Dyble released his Review of the Draft Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan, finding that some officials had indeed breached the public service standard of conduct and that some government resources were misused for political purposes.

Dix will not publicly comment on the nature of his complaint, but confirmed he contacted RCMP and initiated the investigation.

“I raised these concerns in early August in a confidential letter to the RCMP, which laid out the grounds for our concerns,” he said in a media statement. “At this stage, it is important to let the investigation run its course.”

The investigation continues.

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