Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

BC Conservative smear letter writers remain unknown, lawsuit considered

The authors of two anonymous letters sent to members to smear leadership contestant Rick Peterson ahead of the April vote remain unknown, said British Columbia Conservative Party president Tom Birch ahead of a board meeting this weekend.

"We're looking into it to see if there's anything that can be determined or anything we can do," said Birch. "It's unfortunate it happened. It's the worst kind of politics."

The letters wrongly accused Peterson, who placed second to Dan Brooks in the two-person race, of investment regulatory violations, The Tyee reported in April. Accusations from the Peterson camp led to resignations from his team in the days before the leadership vote.

A complaint was made to the Vancouver Police Department about an allegedly stolen membership list that may have been used to distribute the letters.

The police investigation was inconclusive, Birch said. "There just wasn't any evidence they could see."

The matter will be on the agenda at this weekend's board meeting in Kamloops, among many other things, but the party's investigation hasn't been able to discover who wrote the letters either, he said. "[Peterson] was wrongly attacked for no reason," he said. "The question is if you can find the guilty person."

Peterson confirmed his lawyer sent a letter to the BC Conservative Party board detailing how he was allegedly damaged, but said he couldn't share it with The Tyee.

After the leadership vote Peterson joined the board, but quit in the last few weeks. Asked via email if he quit because he's considering suing the party, he responded, "Good for you -- you're good."

Birch said the membership chair of the party would have had access to the mailing list, as would have the two candidates and their teams. There were also people who left the party in a September 2012 spat that had the list, he said. "We are fully aware some of them took the mailing list with them."

The letters may have been part of a strategy to attack the party while it was weak, said Birch. "To me there's a lot of sense in it coming from outside, but I don't have proof of that either."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus