Dyble report: B.C. Liberals misused government resources and breached public service standards
The B.C. Liberal government has released a summary of its report on an internal investigation into the draft Multicultural Strategic Outreach plan, which was leaked to the NDP and media last month.
According to a government release, “Partisan activity among some [Liberal] officials breached the public service standards of conduct and some government resources were misused."
The investigation was led by Premier Christy Clark's deputy minister, John Dyble.
The release states that the review found:
- Some officials did not draw a boundary between their partisan and government roles.
- Inappropriate activity occurred around the procurement of community liaison contractors.
- Community liaison contractors were given work before contracts were approved and signed, resulting in payment for work done when the contract process was cancelled.
- Confidential information—such as contact lists from government events—was inappropriately sent to personal email accounts.
- There were two serious instances of government resources being misused.
Media have reported on a number of specific points in the report where senior members of the B.C. Liberal Party committed questionable conduct.
John Yap, B.C. Liberal MLA for Richmond-Steveston, was aware that government officials were in the practice of using private email accounts in an attempt to avoid the public's access to information via the Freedom of Information law.
The use of personal emails for government business was widespread.
Yap’s former executive assistant, Mike Lee, wrote in an email to Yap that it was, “absolutely critical that we do not leave any evidence,” regarding the hiring of three liaisons. To which Yap responded, "Great job. Let’s now hope for the best.”
Fiera Lo, an executive assistant in government, forwarded confidential information to private email accounts.
During an 18-month period for which former government communications director Brian Bonney was paid $124,000, he may hav used as much of half his conducting partisan work for the Liberals.
Dyble's investigation was spurred by the release of an internal memo which outlined a plan to use government funds for partisan purposes and win the support of non-white voters with apologies for historical wrongs.
A number of high-level party members have parted ways with the B.C. Liberals since that email was made public. The premier’s deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, resigned on March 1. And March 4, Yap, then-B.C. minister responsible for multiculturalism, removed himself from Clark’s cabinet pending the completion of Dyble's investigation.
It's now speculated that Yap will not return to cabinet. Lee will also likely have to resign.
The Dyble report includes a number of recommendations. Those include:
- Consider the involvement and culpability of each of the political staff involved in the events discussed in the report and take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
- Ensure that senior staff set expectations among political staff that all existing financial and administrative policies on procurement and supervision of contract staff be followed without exception.
- Give direction particularly to political and communications staff to ensure they understand their obligations with respect to the use of government email and the appropriate use of personal computers for government purposes, as outlined in Government Core Policy.
- Direct Legal Services Branch to secure any government records in the possession of former employees named in this report and seek an undertaking these records have not been used for inappropriate purposes.
- Improve the standards of conduct for political staff.
- Direct the Comptroller General to determine if any recovery of expenditure or payment is necessary.
Premier Christy Clark is expected to speak on the Dyble investigation's findings today.