The B.C. Liberals’ politicization of the public service started more than a decade ago when the new government fired communications staff, a political scientist said Thursday.
Much of the blame in the report released Thursday into the Liberal government’s use of government time and money for party purposes blamed former communications director Brian Bonney.
Bonney spent as much as half his time, covering his tracks by use of private email, for political business, the report found.
“The role of the communications director is to put on favourable spin,” said Norman Ruff. “There’s confusion between the political party and the party in government.”
Shortly after the B.C. Liberal government first won election in 2001 it fired all government communications staff. Some were rehired, augmented with new hires, as non-union appointees of cabinet rather than as independent staff.
“It’s a politicization of the public service,” said Ruff, adding the government has become “less about policy making then about policy selling.”
Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger said communications staff “are hired to give communications advice to government, not do partisan work.
“It was a very flawed plan, prepared by staff without caucus' knowledge,” Krueger said in an email message.
“People have paid the price for their errors -- loss of jobs without severance.”
Ruff said he believes this affair will emphasize to voters devious moves by government, including introduction of the HST.