It’s Miller time in Monday Question Period

B.C. A-G gets political over party scandal

Face-to-Faist: Miller (left) and Faist. (Twitter)
Face-to-Faist: Miller (left) and Faist. (Twitter)

The Ontario Liberal Party’s gas plant cancellation scandal flared up again on March 27 when a search warrant was unsealed, offering new insight into the Ontario Provincial Police investigation.

Laura Miller, who was a key communications aide to ex-Premier Dalton McGuinty, was named. Her boyfriend, IT expert Peter Faist, is alleged to have been hired by Miller’s boss, chief of staff David Livingston, to erase hard drives in the Premier’s office. The hard drives, police believe, contained evidence that would have shed more light on the Liberals’ power play that will end up costing taxpayers $1 billion.

Miller was paid $154,000 for two months work in the Ontario government last year, then came west and joined Premier Christy Clark’s BC Liberal campaign last winter. She was named the party’s executive director last fall. Read more about it here.

Clark told B.C. reporters that Miller has “utmost integrity,” but it was up to Miller whether to speak to OPP detectives. Ontario NDP critic Peter Tabuns, a member of the committee investigating the gas plant scandal, wrote to Clark, asking for Miller to be freed up so she can testify again, because new evidence came to the fore.

Miller testified last August, the same month as Don Guy, who was a key strategist on the BC Liberal campaign. Ben Chin, another import from the Ontario Liberals, testified via closed-circuit TV last fall.

None of the allegations has been proven in court and Miller has not responded to my requests for comment.

In Question Period on April 7, NDP critic Bruce Ralston quizzed Attorney General Suzanne Anton about the role of Miller in the Ontario breach of trust investigation. He didn’t get very far.

Bruce Ralston: My question is to the Justice Minister. As B.C.’s top law enforcement officer, will she advise the Premier to ask B.C. Liberal Party executive director Laura Miller to cooperate fully with those police officers investigating the Ontario Liberal Party breach of trust scandal?

Hon. Suzanne Anton: This question relates to an Ontario investigation. As the Attorney General of British Columbia, I’m not going to be answering questions about an Ontario investigation. In fact, I’m even dubious that the question has any relevance to this House at all.

Attorney-Gen Anton: Miller/Faist "no relevance"
Attorney-Gen Anton: Miller/Faist “no relevance”

This side of the House was elected to balance our budget, grow our economy, create jobs in British Columbia. The other side of the House has so few questions that they wish to draw an Ontario political debate into the chamber of this House to which it has no relevance whatsoever.

Speaker: Members, questions are not part of the ministerial responsibility, and I would caution you as you go forward.

Ralston: In that case, then, I’ll defer my question.

Speaker: Members, questions are not part of ministerial responsibility, and I would caution you as you go forward.

Ralston: In that case, then, I’ll defer my question.

Ralston was testing Anton, who has the unique job of being B.C.’s chief legal officer. Unlike others in cabinet, Anton must be semi-detached from politics. Section 2(b) of the Attorney General Act says the Attorney General “must see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law.”

Anton’s answer included political rhetoric left over from the May 2013 election and then she brushed off Ralston’s question by claiming Miller’s situation “has no relevance whatsoever” to B.C.

As long as Miller retains her post as executive director of the party in power in Victoria, her alleged connections to the under-investigation gas plant scandal in Ontario are extremely relevant in B.C.

Laura Miller while Mike de Jong delivers budget.
Laura Miller while Mike de Jong delivers budget.

During the Feb. 18 budget speech, Miller was a special guest of the Liberal government, sitting in the chairs behind Liberal MLAs in the B.C. Legislature.

In this photograph, Miller is seen over Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s right shoulder. On the left side of the photograph is Colin Hansen, former Finance Minister. On the other side of the photo is Peter Brown, the longtime Liberal bagman.

The Toronto Star’s latest look at the evolving gas plant scandal is at this link here.


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