Fun with sodium pentothal

Public Eye is proud to announce we're helping the provincial Liberals keep their promise to run the most open and accountable administration in Canada - whether they like it or not. Despite the best efforts of party executive director Kelly von Reichert, who seems to be under the mistaken impression that Liberal business is none of our business, we've managed to put together a list of the party's paid staffers. And, according to our research, more than a few of them have strong connections to the meat-eating side of the Liberal coalition. The party has refused to confirm or deny those names because the identities of its field organizers are classified as "strategic information." And those organizers seem to be following the same orders. The following is a copy of that list, with backgrounders on each staffer.

Party nomination director Bruce Strongitharm was previously a ministerial assistant to Stan Hagen and Murray Coell. Mr. Strongitharm also has a close relationship with Solicitor General Rich Coleman, who introduced him in the legislature as "a very good friend of mine."

In 1996, Mr. Strongitharm was a township council candidate for the Langley Leadership Team, a defunct municipal party whose members had strong personal connections to the Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA. During that election, the team, which won a majority on city council and the mayoralty, was accused of raising money via anonymous $99 donations, thereby hiding the identities of campaign contributors.

The team repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. But, in a 2002 judgement relating to those and other accusations, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Bryan Ralph found "The most troubling aspect of the allegations arises out of the manner in which funds were solicited for the LLT. The $99 practice and in particular, the manner in which it was said that cumulatively one could donate indirectly thousands of dollars is unseemly. Although it is not necessary for me to decide in this case, the practice is probably illegal." Mr. Strongitharm, who didn't win a council seat but became the team's chair after the election, was not involved with those fundraising activities.

His wife Cheryl works as Solicitor General Coleman's constituency assistant and is the secretary/treasurer of his constituency association. Mr. Strongitharm also sits as a director on that association.

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Harvey Grigg is working on a special project with the ridings. Mr. Grigg ran as the federal Conservative candidate in Vancouver East during the last election. He made headlines when he told a heckling audience member during an all-candidate debate, "you can go home now, we've cleaned out your cage." Revenue Minister Rick Thorpe introduced him in the legislature as "a good friend."

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Party communication officer Chad Pederson is the former president of the Simon Fraser University Young Liberals. Public Eye enjoys having amusing but usually non-informative conversations with Mr. Pederson.

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Field organizer Joanne Anderson is the former president of the Peace River South constituency association, backbencher Blair Lekstrom's riding.

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Field organizer Brian Bonney was previously investigated by Public Eye.

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Field organizer Dallas Henault is the former president of the University of Victoria Young Liberals. He is also listed as a member of the campus Young Republicans executive. But, in an interview, Mr. Henault denied belonging to that executive, saying a friend had signed him up. He added, "I'm far from being a Republican." In fact, we're told Mr. Henault, who is a dual Canadian/American citizen, voted Democrat in the last presidential election.

He made headlines in February for writing an email promising "booze...and all the good stuff" to Young Liberal attending a party convention in Vancouver. That email was read out in the legislature by Opposition leader Joy MacPhail.

Mr. Henault also ran unsuccessfully to become chair of the University of Victoria Students Society as a member of the centre-right Students for Change. During that campaign, opponents slammed him for sitting behind Gary Collins while the finance minister was delivering his budget speech.

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Field organizer Ed Masters was previously an executive assistant to Children and Family Development Minister Gordon Hogg. While working for Minister Hogg, Developmental Disabilities Association executive director Alanna Hendren sent Mr. Masters an email warning him serious accusations of fraud had been made against Doug Walls, a senior government consultant who eventually went onto become chief executive officer of the interim authority for community living. He was also a special advisor to Manitoba Education Ministers Leonard Derkach when the Conservative Filmon government was in power.

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Field organizer Barb McClarty appears to have worked as Nelson-Creston backbencher Blair Suffredine's constituency assistant before she moved to the Lower Mainland. An individual with the same name is listed as being the women's commission chair for the Fort Langley-Aldergrove constituency association, Solicitor General Coleman's riding. Ms. McClarty hasn't returned repeated phone calls from Public Eye to confirm this information, despite an earlier promise to speak with us.

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Field organizer Linda Reid was previously an executive assistant and later ministerial assistant to Kevin Falcon when he was the minister of state responsible for deregulation.

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Field organizer Ted Skwarok is a former constituency assistant to North Island backbencher Rod Visser. He was previously married to Primrose Carson, who works in the premier's office as the director internal liason.

10 Comments

There are two Linda Reids? Thats an interesting coincidence

Strongitharm - the name speaks volumes.

There's still quite a few names that can be added to that list...

I hear Dallas is a real ladies man...I'm NDP but he can rock my vote.

Mr. Henault,

It's unseemly to post about yourself under an assumed name. :)

I agree with UVic-NDP....

Are you sure Henault is batting for the team you expect UVic-NDP & Rudiger?

I've seen him at the bar with females...ahh...sooo dreamey...unfortunatly for you, Dave, he's not batting on the team that would impress you.

There's a lot more names than that who are working with riding associations and organizing. And he bats for both teams.

Is that what your mom says Adam? Dont ruin it for me.

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