News / Vancouver

Former B.C. Liberal exec director Laura Miller crowdfunds to fight criminal charges

Laura Miller, former B.C. Liberal executive director and former Ontario premier’s deputy chief of staff, started a campaign to raise cash for a legal defense.

A screenshot of Laura Miller's legal defense crowdsourcing campaign.

A screenshot of Laura Miller's legal defense crowdsourcing campaign.

A number of heavy-hitting B.C. Liberals are throwing their money behind the party’s former executive director Laura Miller, who is attempting to crowdsource $100,000 to cover legal fees as she faces criminal charges for allegedly destroying thousands of government emails in Ontario.

Miller, 36, resigned from her B.C. position in December after the Ontario Provincial Police charged her with breach of trust and mischief in connection to the deletion of documents regarding the Ontario Liberals’ decision to cancel two gas plant contracts in 2011, a move that could cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

At the time, Miller was then Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s deputy chief of staff. McGuinty’s chief of staff David Livingston is also facing charges, with both denying any wrongdoing.

Miller, who hired high-profile Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby to defend her, has already raised more than $29,000 from 38 donors through the campaign launched just before Christmas.

It was supposed to be a private campaign, Miller told The Canadian Press in an email, but the link made its way to the media.

“I am deeply grateful for the kind notes of encouragement, the generous contributions in support, and everything in-between,” Miller wrote.

Most donations are anonymous – including a single $10,000 donation – but others appear to come from high-profile B.C. Liberal party members. The party’s spokeswoman confirmed that any donations are “personal in nature.”

The donor list appears to include party president Sharon White (she gave $2,500, the party confirmed), former MLA and solicitor general John Les ($500) and Premier Christy Clark’s former chief of staff Ken Boessenkool ($1,000).

Richmond-Steveston MLA Jon Yap appears to have donated $500 along with the message, ““Sending you my very best wishes for success Laura! Hang In There!! Happy New Year!!!” (He’s out of the country, so his office could not verify if he made the donation.)

Miller also received $500 from Ontario’s former deputy premier Dwight Duncan. “Please accept this contribution to your legal defence as reaffirmation of my view that you have been wrongly accused,” Duncan wrote. “I have always known you to be a person of great integrity who has committed her life to public service.”

Miller and Livingston are scheduled to make their first court appearances in Toronto on Jan. 27.

With files from The Canadian Press and Matt Kieltyka

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