News / Vancouver

Former B.C. government staffer admits breach of trust in ethnic outreach scheme

'A lot to say when the time comes,' Brian Bonney's lawyer tells Metro, as client pleads guilty to one count related to 'quick wins' scandal.

Ex-Premier Christy Clark in 2012 with then-multiculturalism minister John Yap, who later resigned over the ethnic outreach scandal.

DARRYL DYCK / The Canadian Press

Ex-Premier Christy Clark in 2012 with then-multiculturalism minister John Yap, who later resigned over the ethnic outreach scandal.

Brian Bonney, a top government communications staffer under ex-Premier Christy Clark, pleaded guilty to one count of breach of trust last week over a scandal that already brought down one of her administration's ministers and sparked a special prosecutor's criminal investigation.

Exposed in 2013, the so-called "quick wins" scandal saw taxpayer resources — meant only for government, not partisan, business — put to B.C. Liberal efforts to woo various immigrant communities for instance by apologizing for historical wrongs, which were labeled ethnic "quick wins" in the ballot box, such as the Chinese Head Tax and Komagata Maru incident.

The scheme was outlined in the party's Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan. However it is forbidden to use public money for partisan gain, and at least six government staffers were alleged to have been involved. Then-multiculturalism minister John Yap resigned from Clark's cabinet after the B.C. NDP and media raised alarms over the arrangement, and several staffers resigned.

Bonney's defence lawyer, however, said he couldn't discuss any specifics of one criminal count Bonney faces over the affair, but said it will all become public during sentencing hearings scheduled for Dec. 6 and 7.

"There will be a lot to say when the time comes," Ian Donaldson told Metro in an email declining an interview at this time. "But I feel obliged to save my comments for December when we are back before the Court.

"I do not feel it would be appropriate to preview my submissions in the media."

Special prosecutor David Butcher did not respond to interview requests Sunday.

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