Brian Bonney, a former B.C. Liberal political operative, has now been slapped with a criminal charge related to the 2013 election.
It remains to be seen if Bonney will be convicted of the charge of breach of trust, but it’s another reminder that the party as a whole has never really reckoned with the so-called “quick wins” strategy.
That was the incredibly insulting strategy hatched by the Liberals to win over various ethnic communities in B.C. through targeted government activity. The government was essentially put at the service of winning re-election for the party.
Governments always try to use their power to ensure they are re-elected. They can target tax breaks or programs to communities they hope will support them. They can run endless advertising that talks about their successes. They can cut ribbons and build roads and try to make themselves look good.
What they can’t do, ever, is explicitly link a government action to a party re-election strategy.
Neither in the run-up to the election nor in victory afterwards has the scandal affected the Liberals very much.
A few low-level cabinet ministers resigned their posts and some civil servants and party hacks were shuffled off quietly.
Now, however, we’re likely to have a court hearing, maybe even a trial. At some point, Mr. Bonney or his lawyers will have to explain who came up with the plan, and who signed off on it.
British Columbians are getting a second chance to take a look at this scandal, three years after it first appeared out of the murky waters of backroom politics.
We’ll get to decide who was really responsible – a few rogue officials, or senior members of the provincial government.