British Columbia

Ethnic outreach scandal: RCMP investigation sparked by NDP

The RCMP has launched an investigation into alleged violations of the B.C. Elections Act linked to the government's ethnic outreach scandal, following a complaint from Opposition Leader Adrian Dix.

Complaint by NDP Leader Adrian Dix launched police probe in August

The RCMP has launched an investigation into alleged violations of the B.C. Elections Act linked to the government's ethnic outreach scandal, following a complaint from Opposition Leader Adrian Dix.

"This investigation relates to concerns the opposition raised repeatedly in the legislature, as well as other serious issues," said a short statement released by Dix on Thursday afternoon.

"In order to ensure the integrity of the work of the special prosecutor and the RCMP, I will not provide any further details at this point…At this stage, it is important to let the investigation run its course," he said.

In a terse statement, Premier Christy Clark's office also said it would be "inappropriate to comment" on the investigation at the moment.

Special prosecutor appointed

Vancouver criminal lawyer David Butcher has been appointed by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch to act as an independent special prosecutor in the case. He will oversee the RCMP investigation and determine if criminal charges should be laid.

Butcher was appointed at the end of August, after the RCMP received a complaint and launched an investigation into the scandal the same month, according to a statement issued by the Criminal Justice Branch.

But the announcement of the appointment of Butcher and the RCMP investigation was delayed until today in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, according to the statement.

The ethnic outreach scandal broke during last spring when the NDP released emails showing government employees were organizing a B.C. Liberal pre-election strategy to direct government resources to give the party "quick wins" in ethnic communities.

Several top B.C. Liberal staff members were forced to resign because of their role in the scandal.

Previously, Clark has said that the issue was dealt with by an internal government investigation conducted by deputy minister John Dyble, which was completed in March.

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