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Liberal ethnic-outreach scandal claims key player

B.C. Premier Christy Clark speaks to reporters following the release of a report by her deputy, John Dyble, in Victoria on March 14, 2013.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press

The scandal around ethnic outreach by the B.C. Liberals has cost a key player his job even though he has left the provincial government.

Brian Bonney announced this week that he is leaving his post as chief executive officer of the Canadian Home Builders' Association of British Columbia after less than a month in the job.

"Mr. Bonney tendered his resignation in light of the Dyble Report, which he felt compromised his ability to work in the best interests of the residential construction industry," said a statement issued by the organization.

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Mr. Bonney was hired effective Feb. 25. At the time, he was touted for his business experience and work with all levels of government. But in a report this month on the B.C. Liberal strategy to target ethnic voters, John Dyble, the deputy minister to the Premier, suggested that Mr. Bonney, as a government communications director, took actions that violated public-service standards in advancing the outreach plan.

Mr. Dyble said Mr. Bonney meshed his work as a government employee with his volunteer work for the B.C. Liberals. Mr. Bonney spent 16 months in government before leaving in February.

Mr. Bonney declined further comment on Wednesday.

In an interview, association president Nathan Stone refused to say whether the organization sought Mr. Bonney's departure, citing confidentiality issues.

"He just felt that, obviously, it's a major issue in his own personal life, having these things come out. I know that Mr. Bonney believes that some of these – for lack of a better term – allegations are not entirely factual. But he felt he needed the time to focus on these issues and didn't want it to create a lot of negative effect for the Home Builders," he said.

Mr. Stone added: "I'm not going to, for one second, try to claim to understand the inner workings of his thought process."

He acknowledged Mr. Bonney would be missed, but the organization will rally to further the interests of its members. Mr. Bonney is being replaced by M.J. Whitemarsh, a former CEO who had left the organization.

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Others have also lost their jobs because of the scandal. John Yap resigned as multiculturalism minister, Kim Haakstad quit as Ms. Clark's deputy chief of staff and government staffer Mike Lee quit.

After the report's release, Ms. Clark also announced the B.C. Liberals were repaying $70,000 to the provincial treasury for public funds spent on activities to benefit the party.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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