New evidence shows Liberals misled British Columbians on hush money scandal

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VICTORIA — New statements from a former government staffer show that the B.C. Liberals have not given British Columbians the true story on the hush money scandal, say New Democrats.

Responding to an email detailing a plan to offer jobs and financial inducements to someone who had information that “would damage the Premier and the party,” Premier Christy Clark claimed that there was “no evidence that it was ever acted on.” Yet the subject of the email, Sepideh Sarrafpour, said she was in fact offered a job, confirming that the plan outlined in the email was followed.

“How much more stonewalling and distraction will British Columbians have to endure before the B.C. Liberals tell the truth about what happened?” asked New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

Sarrafpour also said she attended a meeting in August 2012 in the premier’s Vancouver office, at which then–Multiculturalism Minister John Yap instructed her and others to generate contact lists that were to be used in the upcoming election.

“Did John Yap tell Mr. Dyble about the work Ms. Sarrafpour was doing during the internal investigation, or did he maintain he didn’t know anything?” asked Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan.

“Before the election, the premier said the ‘quick wins’ document was just a draft, but now we know it was much more than that. She said the plan in the hush money email was never implemented, but now we know it was. The minister responsible at the time, John Yap, said he had nothing to do with any of it, and here we have a witness saying that in fact he was running meetings about it,” said Kwan.

“This government has a profound credibility problem on these issues,” added Dix.

The internal investigation into the scandal was run out of the premier’s office and was limited in scope. It could not look at wrongdoing by the Liberal caucus or the Liberal Party, and the 10,000 pages of documentation gathered when creating the report were only released after the election.

“New Democrats have been calling for an independent, external investigation of this scandal since day one. This government has refused, and they want British Columbians to believe them when they claim that their internal investigation was thorough,” said New Democrat multiculturalism critic Bruce Ralston.

“But we know that this investigation was far from thorough. Its scope was extremely limited, and key figures like Sepideh Sarrafpour were never interviewed.”

New Democrats are calling for an independent, external investigation of the Quick Wins scandal.