The secret lives of scoutmasters

Brian Bonney, a backroom boy and failed municipal politician who has history of playing hardball politics, has been working for the past year as a provincial Liberal field organizer, Public Eye has learned. During a brief phone conservation, Mr. Bonney confirmed he was receiving a honorarium from the party to advise riding associations on a part-time basis. But he refused to answer further questions about his background or his involvement with the Liberals. But that's okay, because the newspapers and party insiders have more than enough to say about him.

According to those sources, Mr. Bonney first made headlines in July 1995 as the media liaison to one of the women who accused New Democrat cabinet minister Robin Blencoe of sexual harassment. At the time, Mr. Bonney, who had made an unsuccessful bid for the Liberal nomination in Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain one month earlier, admitted he was politically involved but refused to name which party or organization he belonged to. Minister Blencoe later resigned over those and other allegations.

Mr. Bonney did some more mudslinging seven years later when he ran as TEAM Burnaby's mayoral candidate against Derek Corrigan, who belongs to the New Democrat-connected Burnaby Citizens Coalition. During that campaign, Mr. Bonney claimed the coalition-dominated city council rejected a contract bid from Brinkman and Associates Reforestation Ltd. because the company's owner, Dirk Brinkman, is married to Management Services Minister Joyce Murray.

Mr. Corrigan responded to those allegations by accusing Mr. Bonney of using negative publicity to promote his election bid. He added councillors were "just not involved in the (bid selection) process like what's been suggested here." But that wasn't the only trick Mr. Bonney had up his sleeve.

He also partially paid for a half-page advertisement in Burnaby Now claiming Mr. Corrigan lost his job as chairman of British Columbia Transit for mishandling the agency's finances. Mr. Bonney was later forced to apologize for making that claim, which the advertisement identified as coming from "concerned residents," to avoid a libel suit in British Columbia Supreme Court.

And, to make matters worse for Mr. Bonney, the ad didn't seem to have much effect on the election result. Mr. Corrigan defeated him by 5,230 votes - adding another loss to his 0-3 election record. In 1993, Mr. Bonney ran unsuccessfully for city council as a candidate for the Burnaby Voters Association, TEAM Burnaby's predecessor.

Mr. Bonney is also friends with Burquitlam backbencher Harry Bloy, having managed his 2001 election campaign. Two years ago, Mr. Bloy introduced him in the legislature as one of Burnaby's "local heroes." And, in 2003, he presented Mr. Bonney the Queens Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for his volunteer service with Scouts Canada, the Rotary Club and the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education. Mr. Bonney, an advocate for traditional schools, is known for showing up at Burnaby council meetings wearing his scoutmaster uniform.

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