J529 Posted July 19, 2013 Share Posted July 19, 2013 http://www.timescolo...e-vote-1.542418 New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix made it clear Wednesday what’s driving the Opposition’s zealous pursuit of details about the ethnic-outreach scandal that B.C. Liberals insist is over and done with. New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix made it clear Wednesday what’s driving the Opposition’s zealous pursuit of details about the ethnic-outreach scandal that B.C. Liberals insist is over and done with. The motivation stems from his belief the Liberals cheated in the run-up to the May election. “They were cheating, that’s plain. They were cheating,” he told reporters. And the nature of the emails — most of them from personal, not government accounts — shows “they know they were cheating.” It would be a small comfort for Dix at this point to cling to the belief that the Liberals beat him by cheating. Because it would counter the view that he blew the election. It’s impossible to weigh all the reasons for the election outcome, but it didn’t look at the time as if ethnic-outreach was a big factor. The effort was revealed in a draft strategy that was leaked to the NDP in February. Premier Christy Clark responded with a profuse apology and ordered a quick investigation by top deputies, including deputy to the premier John Dyble. They condemned the “offensive” plan, found misconduct and misuse of public funds and named a few names of staffers who departed government post haste. But another one of Dyble’s conclusions was hotly disputed in the legislature Wednesday. It was his finding that no action was taken on executing the dubious ideas outlined in the draft strategy. The NDP said evidence that eventually came to light this week in the thousands of pages released after the election raises questions about that. The strategy called for creation of lists of names in targeted ethnic communities, but Dyble concluded there was no evidence of a database. A buried e-mail, written months after the strategy was drafted, refers to database management. Dix went out of his way not to attack Dyble directly, but it’s clear they believe the report didn’t get to the bottom of the scandal. There’s also the email written months later about a staffer — Sepideh Sarrafpour — who was apparently fretting about something. It referred to offering her a job or money, and explaining how if she did something it would damage the premier. Sarrafpour told Global TV she did get a job offer from former cabinet minister Harry Bloy. Dix said that contradicts Premier Christy Clark’s assertion that nothing came of the emailed suggestion. He insists that Dyble did not talk to Sarrafpour, and should have. Various NDP critics played tag team over the issue. MLA Bruce Ralston said: “The premier’s claim that this scheme was never implemented simply isn’t believable.” He said Sarrafpour collected lists according to the strategy and when a damaging release became a possibility “they planned to offer her a job or money to shut her up.” Cabinet ministers Teresa Wat and Andrew Wilkinson defended the government during a half-hour joust, but deflected a lot more questions than they answered. There’s a skeptical view on the part of many that everybody plays the ethnic-outreach game these days, with distinctly mixed results. And there’s always been a murky grey area between working for the public and working on efforts that cross over to partisan politics. Finance Minister Mike de Jong sounded that note by producing a 19-year-old memo from then-NDP cabinet minister Moe Sihota, urging colleagues to get a team together to “get government off our backs ... to focus on politics ...” Still stung by the election loss, the Opposition certainly has the motivation to pursue this for the remaining few days of the session. But they’ll probably need to break down the brick walls at the doors of the Liberal caucus and the party to make much more headway. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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