Clark says new 'ethnic outreach' allegations dealt with
Four Liberal staffers have stepped down because of the scandal
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says a Liberal staffer was never paid to keep quiet about the "ethnic outreach" scandal, and the issue was dealt with when deputy minister John Dyble conducted a review before the May provincial election.
Yesterday, the B.C. NDP released an e-mail alleging it shows former Liberal communications director Brian Bonney suggesting a financial inducement be offered to the unidentified government staffer in an attempt to keep her from going public with her concerns.
CBC News has learned the staffer is a North Vancouver woman named Sepideh Sarrafpour, who was hired on contract with the B.C. government caucus to do multicultural outreach work. She left government in September 2012.
Today, Clark admitted the offer crossed the line, but says Bonney is no longer with her government and the inducement was never actually handed out.
"There's no evidence that any of that, any of his suggestions, were acted upon," she said.
"It was totally inappropriate. It was why I ordered the review, and they did consider this document as part of the review, the results of which you saw before we went to the polls."
The same claim was made by Multiculturalism Minister Teresa Wat on Monday, but Wat couldn't identify where in Dyble's report he specifically addressed the latest allegations.
B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix said he wasn’t satisfied with Clark’s explanation.
"What it says plainly here is disturbing," he said. "I think those are reasonable questions to ask the government. Why was this person being offered financial inducements to avoid that eventuality?"
The "ethnic outreach" scandal broke during last spring when the NDP released emails showing government employees were organizing a pre-election strategy for "quick wins" in ethnic communities.
It suggested government staffers co-ordinate their activities with the Liberal party to help them woo voters in key ethnic communities.
Clark has apologized several times to the province's ethnic communities for the document and four Liberal staffers, including Bonney, eventually resigned because of the scandal.
But then in May, CBC News learned Bonney was volunteering on the Liberal election campaign in Burnaby-Lougheed.