BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Liberals Will Not Release 2nd Ethnic Outreach Probe

03/15/2013 03:21 EDT | Updated 05/15/2013 05:12 EDT
Flickr: BC Gov
The chair of the B.C. Liberal caucus says he can't release the results of a second investigation into the role Liberal caucus staff played in the ethnic outreach scandal because lawyers have told him it would violate people's privacy.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg looked into the role played by seven Liberal staff members named in the report released yesterday by Christy Clark's deputy minister John Dyble.

Yesterday Dyble released a scathing report that found several instances of serious breaches of public policy by government employees doing partisan political work for the B.C. Liberals while on the public payroll.

Dyble's report placed the majority of the blame on Christy Clark's deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, and former government communications director Brian Bonney, both of whom have since quit.

Hogg said he found Dyble's report troubling but his own investigation found no evidence that information from within caucus was moved to the B.C. Liberal Party.

"Certainly, there were parts of that report that turned my stomach and made me feel that some of the actions being taken were terribly opportunistic and certainly could have been deemed to be racist and not very respectful of the multicultural nature of our province and our country," Hogg said.

But Hogg said it was credible to believe that Premier Clark knew nothing of the ethnic outreach strategy that was being developed by government staffers on behalf of the B.C. Liberal Party.

"Certainly, one of our concerns was that some of our caucus staff was working directly with direction from outside of caucus," he said.

Furthermore, Hogg says he can't release his report because lawyers have told him it would breach privacy rights.

"We submitted it to legal counsel and had them review it and they came back and said to us, particularly based on the [Personal] Information [Protection] Act, we would be breaking the act if we released that information."

Hogg says he supports an external review of both the Liberal and NDP caucuses.

"With respect to tightening of the roles and the actions that were taken, we certainly would welcome a review, which is what some the opposition have called for."

Yesterday Premier Christy Clark said her government will adopt all of the recommendations from Dyble's report and her party will repay $70,000 in misspent public funds.

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