Man behind 'quick wins' vote strategy to be sentenced today

Man behind 'quick wins' vote strategy to be sentenced today

A former communications director for the B.C. Liberal party could face a community sentence of up to 23 months if a provincial court judge accepts the recommendations of a special prosecutor.

Sentencing for Brian Bonney is underway in Vancouver after he pleaded guilty last October to one count of breach of trust for his involvement in a strategy to win multicultural votes for then-premier Christy Clark's Liberals in the 2013 election.

The so-called "quick wins" strategy allegedly used government resources to help attract multicultural voters. Clark, who stepped down last year after losing power to the New Democrats, apologized for the scheme.

A 2013 report looked into allegations that Clark's Liberal administration blurred the lines between government and partisan activity in drawing up plans to win the multicultural vote ahead of the 2013 election.

The report, authored by deputy minister John Dyble, concluded Bonney breached public service standards of conduct by not distinguishing between his role as a public servant and as a volunteer for the Liberals. It concluded Bonney spent as much as half of his time on partisan activities while being paid by taxpayers.

Dyble's report also concluded that as much as $70,000 of government resources were inappropriately used by government workers on the ethnic outreach strategy designed to boost the B.C. Liberals' 2013 election prospects.

A special prosecutor involved in today's proceedings says the court should send a strong message that breach of trust will not be tolerated, but Bonney's lawyer says the information Bonney shared with staffers "could be called confidential but was available to others." 

With files from Canadian Press