Charges laid against former B.C. Liberal staffers

Brian Bonney and Mark Robertson accused of arranging undeclared election expense on Port Moody byelection in 2012

Brian Bonney resigned as communications director for B.C.'s then-multiculturalism minister John Yap just before a leaked memo revealed a plan to misuse government resources.

Former B.C. government communications director Brian Bonney and a former B.C. Liberal Party employee have been charged under the Elections Act for providing undeclared help to the party in its unsuccessful by-election campaign in Port Moody-Coquitlam in 2012.

B.C.’s criminal justice branch confirmed Monday that the charges against Bonney, Mark Robertson and a company called Mainland Communications relate to assigning a staff member to work on the by-election campaign for Dennis Marsden, who was defeated by former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini in the by-election.

Charges were approved by special prosecutor David Butcher, appointed in August 2013 to investigate the government’s multicultural outreach plan that resulted in Bonney and Premier Christy Clark’s deputy chief of staff resigning when it was leaked to the opposition.

The charges are not connected to the outreach plan, which was revealed to have attempted to use government resources to bolster the party’s popularity with ethnic voters in the 2013 general election. Butcher expects that investigation to continue until early 2015.

The three charges relate to former government caucus employee Sepideh Sarrafpour being assigned to work on Marsden’s by-election campaign, without declaring the work as an election expense.

Sarrafpour’s role in the ethnic outreach plan was as a contractor to work on events such as a formal apology by the B.C. government for the head tax on Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. A leaked memo detailed a plan to compile lists of ethnic community members from such events for use by the party in the 2013 election.