BC Liberals rehire staffer facing charges

Laura Miller's breach of trust and mischief charges still not dealt with in Ontario, Premier Christy Clark supports decision

B.C. Liberal Party executive director Laura Miller

The B.C. Liberal Party has rehired party executive director Laura Miller, who resigned in December and still faces charges related to deleting records while working in former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty.

Party president Sharon White issued a statement Thursday saying its board has agreed unanimously to bring Miller back to her job.

“I support the decision reached by Sharon and the executive,” Premier Christy Clark said in the statement. “It’s the fair and right approach – one that respects the court process, including the fundamental principle that every person is innocent until proven otherwise.”

Miller and former chief of staff David Livingstone are charged with one count each of breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and “misuse of a computer system to commit the offence of mischief,” the Ontario Provincial Police announced Dec. 17.

The charges relate to email records that were sought by opposition parties after the Ontario government abruptly cancelled two planned gas-fired power plants that were facing strong local opposition. Miller and Livingstone were accused of bringing in Miller’s partner, computer technician Peter Faist, to erase hard drives in McGuinty’s office that contained the records.

NDP leader John Horgan said he wouldn’t expect his party to welcome someone back while still facing charges.

“It is not a minor issue to be found scrubbing computers in the premier’s office,” Horgan said.

Deputy Premier Rich Coleman, the B.C. Liberals’ election readiness chair, said Miller quit to return to Ontario and prepare her defence, and she has a right to work while awaiting court proceedings.

“We really wanted her to come back because she’s actually very good at what she does,” Coleman said.

Miller left the Ontario government when McGuinty retired and came to B.C. to work for the B.C. Liberal Party.