Breaking news - BC Liberal Solicitor General Kash Heed has suddenly resigned this afternoon from cabinet because of a police investigation into possible Election Act violations in his 2009 campaign in Vancouver-Fraserview.
And a Special Prosecutor has been appointed to decide if BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite should be charged with drunk driving after the North Vancouver-Seymour MLA was pulled over and found to be intoxicated at the wheel February 23. Vancouver criminal lawyer Mark Jette has been named as Special Prosecutor.
Photos - above left former NDP MLA Bernie Simpson and Kash Heed, who he endorsed in the 2009 election; above right, BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite
Public Eye Online's Sean Holman is reporting exclusively this afternoon that police are investigating "negative stuff" that was out during the 2009 provincial election in Vancouver-Fraserview - that according to an election volunteer interviewed by Holman.
Heed's "Campaign Coordinator" in the election was Barinder Sall, who describes himself as having "built a reputation as one of Canada's top strategic advisors by navigating the careers of several of the country's highest profile personalities."
Sall says he having worked "with dynamic leaders in the realms of politics, business, law enforcement, and community development, he is widely recognized as a highly effective people connector whose collaborations have an impressive record of success."
Sall says he has worked "closely" with Kash Heed, Liberal Member of Parliament and former NDP Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, former federal Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal and former Attorney General Wally Oppal. Sall says he attended the Harvard JFK School of Government with former U.S. Secretary of State General Colin Powell.
Sall has worked previously as Oppal's Ministerial Assistant and as former constituency assistant to ex-Vancouver-Fraserview Liberal backbencher Ken Johnston.
During the campaign Heed's election opponent, New Democratic Party candidate Gabriel Yiu, complained publicly that Heed was featured in photos wearing his West Vancouver Police Chief's uniform. Yiu said that was a violation of the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation for police officers, a criticism brushed off by Sall, acting as Heed's spokesperson.
RCMP Inspector Tim Shields said late today that RCMP are investigating an Elections Act of BC offence allegedly involving Kash Heed's campaign office and that "more than one person [is] potentially involved".
The investigation came after a complaint was originally made to Elections BC, Shields said.
"I am confident that I have done nothing wrong," Heed said today. "It is my sincere hope that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible." Heed says he is cooperating fully with the investigation.
Lawyer Terry Robertson has been appointed as independent Special Prosecutor in the Heed case. Premier Gordon Campbell has appointed Attorney General Mike de Jong to replace Heed at least temporarily.
Two former BC Liberal Solicitor Generals have previously been forced to resign also - John Les remains under investigation over allegations regarding his former role as Mayor of Chilliwack while John van Dongen resigned after it was disclosed he had a lengthy record of speeding tickets and a four-month driving suspension.
UPDATE - All attention is now focused on the distribution of an allegedly unauthorized flyer severely and slanderously attacking the NDP during the final days of the campaign to households in the riding.
Dwaine Martin, campaign manager to NDP candidate Gabriel Yiu, tells the Province's Mike Smyth that they were "precision slimed" with a leaflet saying the NDP would impose a death tax, legalize heroin, cocaine and prostitution and force seniors to live in slums - with photo illustrations and written in both Chinese and English.
MORE AS IT BECOME AVAILABLE
Here is Heed's resignation statement released today:
For Immediate Release
April 9, 2010
STATEMENT FROM SOLICITOR GENERAL KASH HEED
Solicitor General issued the following statement today:
VICTORIA - "On March 24 I was informed by the RCMP that they were investigating alleged Elections Act violations pertaining to a 2009 Vancouver-Fraserview provincial election campaign. At that time I was informed that I was not a subject of that investigation and that I may be interviewed as a witness. I understand that the deputy to the Premier, informed the Premier of this fact on March 26.
On late Tuesday evening, April 6, while I was out of the country, I was informed that the investigation was evolving and the RCMP would want to interview me to determine if I had any role in the allegations. On Wednesday, I informed the Premier of that development.
Upon returning to Vancouver on Wednesday, out of an abundance of caution, I immediately obtained a lawyer to engage the RCMP on my behalf and to establish the facts that were appropriate for me to know and to ascertain what was expected of me to help me make the appropriate decision for my office.
On Wednesday, my lawyer called the criminal justice branch to determine if a special prosecutor had been appointed and he subsequently advised me that a special prosecutor has been appointed in this investigation.
Today I have concluded, out of the respect and regard for the office of Solicitor General of British Columbia and to ensure the continued integrity of that office, that the appropriate action is to step aside pending the outcome of this investigation. I have spoken with the Premier and he has accepted my decision.
Over my 30-year career in law enforcement and public service I have prided myself on putting the public interest first and acting with the utmost integrity. It is with that in mind that I have chosen to step aside.
I am confident that I have done nothing wrong. I fully support the RCMP's efforts and will be co-operating fully with the investigation.
It is my sincere hope that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible. I will continue to represent my constituents as the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview.
Until all aspects of this ongoing matter are complete, I will not be commenting further on the substance of the investigation as that would be inappropriate."
Kash Heed will be available to speak to media this afternoon:
Time: 3:45 p.m.
MLA Kash Heed's constituency office
3158 East 54th Avenue
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Public Affairs Bureau