Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In defence of Kash Heed on election spending controversy - somewhat that is


Kash Heed before being cast adrift
BC Liberal MLA Kash Heed may be unworthy of public office - but he has every right to appeal his situation to the courts - and BC Liberal Party has a lot to answer for

I am no supporter of embattled BC Liberal MLA Kash Heed.

The former solicitor general and MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview is an embarrassment to BC politics, not just to his own party.  His egotistical comments about his great abilities are too much even for a politician.

But I feel compelled to offer Heed some defence in the current feeding frenzy of columnists, reporters and political commentators over his going to the courts to try and avoid an order from Elections BC to file an updated financial disclosure for his controversial May 2009 election win.

The BC Liberal Party has a lot of tough questions to answer about its role in the May 2009 Kash Heed election campaign - like what the hell have they been doing all this time while the scandal developed? 

And why did longtime BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert suddenly resign last December?  What steps did Reichert take to help resolve this issue?  Did he appoint Heed's campaign team members, including those now facing charges?

Heed could lose his seat according to a letter from Elections BC Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James sent December 2, 2010.

"Should you fail to comply with the provisions of the [Election] Act . . . I will feel compelled to forthwith present a report to the Speaker informing him that you have ceased to hold office and that your seat has thereby become vacant," James wrote.

Heed responded by filing a petition in BC Supreme Court - discovered and released by the BC New Democrats - asking that James' order be dismissed.

"I did not prepare the initial or amended Election Financing Report and at the present time I have no reason to believe the Election Financing Report is inaccurate," Heed states, blaming his former financial agent Satpal Johl for any problems.

Johl and Heed's campaign manager Barinder Sall both face Election Act violations, with Sall also facing criminal charges over allegations they were involved in distributing a vicious and false anti-NDP leaflet in the riding that was paid for but never declared by the Heed campaign in its financial disclosures.

And last week an RCMP search warrant "Information To Obtain" document showed that Heed himself may yet face charges of breach of trust and other offences related to that campaign.

But Heed's argument in the affidavit makes some sense.

"Since I am unable to compel Mr. Johl to file a supplementary report and I personally have no information on which to base a supplementary report ... I am seeking to be relieved of this responsibility," he added.

Let's presume three things for the sake of this argument in defence of Heed: 

1)  When Heed says he had no knowledge of the finances of his campaign he is telling the absolute truth;

2)  The only way Heed could file a supplementary disclosure statement is by obtaining the information from the two campaign officials facing serious charges; and

3)  Heed cannot get the assistance of the BC Liberal Party to file the new disclosure requested by Elections BC.

If the above three points are accurate, then what choice is left to Kash Heed but to appeal to the court?

Should he be contacting two men charged with offences directly related to the impugned campaign and ask them to help him out?

When he himself is under investigation?

Not bloody likely a good plan!

The real issue is why the BC Liberal Party has not stepped in to clean up the mess.

Make no mistake - political parties of every stripe have had past problems with Financial Agents who can't - or won't - do their job during or after an election.  It just happens.

That's when the party has to intervene and resolve any outstanding issues, not the individual candidate.

And don't believe the bravado of some current MLAs saying Heed should have known better - I would be amazed if most MLAs have a thorough understanding of the reporting requirements - thorough enough to be able to step in if their own financial agent disappeared and without considerable party assistance.

Interim NDP Leader Dawn Black did exactly the right thing yesterday in releasing the Kash Heed court documents - call on Heed and the BC Liberals to file the disclosure as demanded by Elections BC.

But Heed has the right to argue in court that he personally can't supply that information.

And if it's true - or at least highly believable to a judge - expect Heed to avoid being thrown out of office.

But that won't solve his other problems - and it certainly won't let the BC Liberal Party off the hook whatsoever.

As I said, Heed is an embarrassment to BC politics - but due process is due process - it should be followed before there's any public hanging.

.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Campbell has pulled worse crap, than Heed has done. I don't see the BC Liberals embarrassed about that. If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, what is? What about, Campbell calling Basi and Virk criminals, and cutting their throats, regarding the corrupt sale of the BCR? Mind you, I don't care if all of the Liberals, cut each others throats. Good riddance to them.

Barry Rueger said...

So Bill, are you saying that no-one is ultimately responsible for this mess? If not Heed, then who?

I have to disagree - if he wants a job like MLA, then he also accepts responsibility for the running of his campaign.

I he honestly doesn't know what happened, then he should be suing his subordinates, not trying to duck his responsibilities.

Of course, I have to assume that a former Chief of Police has had at least a modicum of training in business and budgeting. I doubt that his West Vancouver employers would have accepted such a dodgy excuse for poor performance.

Heed has no integrity whatsoever, and should resign.

James King said...

Sorry Bill, you've lost me on this one.

The law, and the intent of the law is clear - the candidate is the responsible party.

If Heed hasn't handled the details of this campaign properly, if he hasn't taken the time and effort to exercise due diligence over his campaign (something every candidate is legally bound to do) then the responsibility is his and he should be resigning - now.

This attempt to try and place the blame for his own incompetence upon HIS OWN STAFF and his appointees AND the further attempt to avoid responsibility by going to the courts is simply pathetic.

I'm surprised you'd defend him under the current circumstances.

Grant G said...

I think you should have worn a hat in Mexico..Sunstroke?

And if it was an NDP MLA they would have been forced to resign already..

And your little game..Presume this, presume that...

How about Kash Heed walks Satpal Johl into Election`s BC and compels him to tell the truth....Is that out of the realm of impossibility?

If Satpal Johl refuses to submit an accurate(Possibly way over the spending Election limit) accounting..As Kash Heed`s finacial agent Heed pays the price.

We are not talking about an accounting errors, we are probably talking about fraud!

As for your solution Bill Teileman...

Your plan or should I say.... your in agreement with Kash Heed`s defense...

Well than let`s just forget everything until Barinder Sall and Co. exhaust the BC Supreme and appeals courts..

Talk to you in 2014.

SAD Bill

Anonymous said...

Fraud is fraud. If his people were suspected of stuffing the ballot boxes with 1000 votes & he didn't know about it (he only won by about 800 votes) should he fight it because of his innocence? How about over spending by $10,000? $100,000? Where is the line Bill?

Anonymous said...

The Election Act does allow a candidate to ask for relief from filing; Section 225.

Much as I dislike Heed, there seems to be a suggestion by some of the media that the application for relief is somehow over the top; it's his legal right to do this, despite what some have said.

Tony Gramsci said...

Embarrassed?

This is B.C.

Gordon Campbell for 10 years as Premier?
Now that`s embarrassing.
Heed should resign..but then maybe he shouldn`t have been there in the first place.
Shouldn`t they ALL resign?
Christy Clark? Kevin Falcon?...we`re talking embarrassing?

Bill Tieleman said...

Gentlemen - two people are facing serious charges, Heed could be next.

Due process is required, no matter who is charged.

RonS said...

I'm in real estate Bill and what ever I do is a direct reflection of the office I work for. If I do something illegal and the office doesn't catch it, they are as equally responsible as I am. It's Heeds duty to know whether he actually sees the documents or not. I believe he did know what was going on and chose to ignore or didn't ask the question.

For example, if I show a property that is riddled with problems and I don't notice or prefer not to see, that doesn't exempt me from responsibility and neither should Heed be exempt. To point the finger at someone else reminds me of an old saying' "there's one finger pointing at the other person but 3 pointing at you".

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any idea why every former BC Liberal supporter simultaneously dropped Heed and began slandering him?

It is like the day Vaughn's piece came out there was a memo and all the pab's kicked out his chair.

Gary E said...

It will be very interesting to see any results from an I not dotted or a T not crossed on any of the proponents finances for recall.

I still maintain there is a double standard in BC.

Anonymous said...

"Due process is required, no matter who is charged."

So why are you making assumptions about the case and offering up a defence for him? Isn't due process about waiting for the fact's instead of speculating?

DPL said...

It was Craig Jame that told Heed he had the option of going to court, so lets all stop hyperventilating and wait to see what the court has to say. If the judge agrees Heed fess up or lose the seat, great.Then a by election will be the order of the day. Yes, the public will pay for the court appearance if he is found not guilty, but if the payment rules are followed, he pays. But as we saw in the Basi Basi Verk deal this present government doesn't always follow the rules. I was rather saddened to see another columnist, blogger,and radio guest, big NDP supporter) claim Tieleman was defending Heed. The way I see it, Bill was defending Heeds right to go the court route.

cherylb said...

There is no defense for Heed and his going to the courts to try and avoid an order from Elections BC to file an updated financial disclosure. What a waste of valuable court time that could be spent on other, more appropriate cases. And he knows that better than most British Columbians.

Knowing how much money you can spend in a campaign is the first and most basic discussion that takes place with the financial agent, campaign manager and candidate after registering and receiving your package from EBC.

I do not believe for one second that a guy as bright and egotistical as he is would allow one single thing to occur in his campaign without his knowledge.
Regardless, ignorance of the law is no excuse and I would hope that the court would kick it back to EBC, which is where it belongs.

And where is Campbell while this is happening to his star candidate? Falcon? Abbott? Clark? Anyone? Anyone got a defense or something to say? This is crap....

cherylb said...

And how convenient that Craig James granted Heed two extensions to submit his disclosure statement, so he could avoid having to call a byelection during the height of the HST anger.

I wonder if Harry Neufeld would have been so generous?

Anonymous said...

Totally wrong in regards to reporting of campaign finances.

The candidate as leader of the campaign team is ultimately responsible for correct adherence to the rules set forth by Elections BC. THis is no different than the NDP candidates adbiding by these same rules.

The candidate approves the Campaign Manager (not the riding association nor the Party), and he or she also approves the Fianncial Agent (again, not the riding association or the Party).

Heed is responsible for everything that involves his campaign.

BTW: These same reporting rules also apply to riding associations, parties and leadership candidates.

Heed has gone through one or two extensions, and how long do these extensions keep going, Bill??

Harry Neufeld would not have been so generous. I was in a campaign where the Financial Agent didn't file on time, and ultimately there was a huge fine (the candidate was not an incumbent, nor was he or she elected).

Anonymous said...

There's a lesson here for politicians of all political stripes. For too long, background politicos have told candidates to leave the finances to the financial agent and the campaign managers. Some of these backroom boys and girls go so far as to tell candidates that it is better if they don't know what goes on. Palpable deniability! Candidates and sitting politicians should take heed (ha! ha!) and remember the bottom line is that they could lose their seats if there is a problem with how money was raised and spent.

Skookum1 said...

"Due process" in the parliamentary system is supposed to include cabinet ministers stepping down if their office or their election is "tainted", and they're supposed to accept responsibility even if they had no hand in the "taint" themselves (which seems utterly unlikely - it's not like Heed didn't know about those brochures). This is why Harcourt fell on his sword because of Stupich, and why even though he was innocent Premier Clark resigned his post. The Liberals have shown they have utter contempt for parliamentary tradition, over and over, and this is just another example of the same; why should people who do not respect parliament be allowed to occupy seats in it??

Copy-pasting my Facebook post from your posting of this there:

Actually, Bill, here's proper constitutional perspective - a cabinet minister, especially one in a legal-type position - who is merely even under suspicion of wrongdoing, or even if one of their staff is - is supposed to step down. Not ste...p aside, but step down altogether. Not dig in their heels and try and prove their innocence; innocence doesn't matter; propriety does. At least that's how our system is SUPPOSED to work, though there's always been stonewalling by cabinet ministers to resist that, but never so much as under the Liberals. Cabinet seats are not upholstered with glue....in fact, they should have handy little "eject" buttons.

In this case, a tainted election is a tainted election, same as a tainted bidding process is a tainted bidding process. The contract should be null and void, so to speak; the only clear way out of this, politically or constitutionally, is for a byelection should be held for that seat - and everybody stay on a level playing field this time. No fictional slanders, no overspending....let the electorate decide this man's fate....will the people who voted for him last time because they believed the lies spread about his opponent, and who now are mad they've been lied to - will THEY forgive him and vote for him again?

I"m sure if he bussed enough people to polling stations anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

And where is Campbell while this is happening to his star candidate? Falcon? Abbott? Clark? Anyone? Anyone got a defense or something to say? This is crap....

You're right it is crap. Campbell and the other candidates did not have anything to do with the mess that Heed is in. Campbell signed the page which approved Heed as the Fraserview candidate (but the NDP has a similar step). Why would Abbott or the other candidates want to state a defence? So that time wasting whinos can have more free feeds?

James King said...

I've looked at the legislation and, in my view, Bill is correct.

The section(s) in question do permit the intervention of a court.

Heed has clearly had legal advice and is acting on it.

Which says nothing to the moral issue but, all the same, tends to support Tieleman's interpretation.

One may not 'like' that conclusion - but it is unavoidable all the same.

That is, after all, the whole point of the 'rule of law'.

Dave McPherson said...

He should step down regardless of who did it.
It happened and it was illegal (both the overspending and the leaflet)
The voters didnt get a fair process according to the rules. It needs to be done again in a bye-election for the voter's benefit.

They can figure out who the guilty parties were at their leisure.
If it wasnt his fault he can sue the guilty parties.

Anonymous said...

"They can figure out who the guilty parties were at their leisure.
If it wasnt his fault he can sue the guilty parties."

Dave (and others) are absolutely correct. Heed needs to step down. There is no question the election results are invalid and the first priority should be to the voters of that riding.

Heed can assign blame or be blamed on his own damn time.

Darwin said...

This OLD LEFTY says 1) that since the spending rules were broken the seat should be vacated and a byelection called, and
2) there is a vicarious liability issue here. The apparent overspending was done by his agent, on his behalf. He has to weat it.

Anonymous said...

I've looked at the legislation and, in my view, Bill is correct.

The section(s) in question do permit the intervention of a court.

Heed has clearly had legal advice and is acting on it.

Which says nothing to the moral issue but, all the same, tends to support Tieleman's interpretation.

One may not 'like' that conclusion - but it is unavoidable all the same.

That is, after all, the whole point of the 'rule of law'.

Obviously missed the part about election spending limits and reporting of financial statements by a set date is compulsory.

That too is a point of rule of law.

Heed is just wnating the courts to decide he can just get out of it.

SInce this would be precedent setting, I doubt that would happen.

This is the same law that Adrian Dix and the other NDP MLAs lived by during the past and previous elections.

Anonymous said...

Everyone thinks they are a friggin' lawyer!

James King said...

Didn't miss it at all - the point simply is that the Chief Electoral Officer can rule the seat vacant and order a by election except where a court over-rules him.

That's the point about the 'rule' of law' - under our system of governance the rule of law means that the courts decide such issues.

As I wrote earlier - Heed has taken legal advice and the courts will now make the final decision as to whether or not he loses his seat.

Cheers.

Radical Peace said...

Off topic but wanted to point out - No internet, no facebook, no twitter hasn't stopped some people getting their message across. Go Egypt! Now THAT'S how you Recall corrupt politicians. How's your Recall going Bill?

Anonymous said...

So, what happened to the story from Jake?

Anonymous said...

So what exactly is Heed responsible for in his election? If he is not responsible for something that anyone else has done, then can we in the future expect elections to be a one man show? As far as the courts are concerned, after the BC Rail fiasco, I have no confidence that this can be sorted out by them. Fingers are in pies in BC, IMHO. Everywhere.

Heeds' riding stinks and it is so ironic that he is a former topcop. Tell's you what has become of our BC.

Stinky...stinky...stinky

Bill Tieleman said...

The stories from Jake's confidential info will be forthcoming in February in a multi-part series - thanks for asking.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks to James King for taking a second look and reversing his original position to agree with me.

I reiterate - Kash Heed is a political embarrassment - but he is entitled to defend himself as allowed by the law - as are we all.

Anonymous said...

Staged....distractions....FOCUS!

jaydee said...

Staged....Distractions....FOCUS!

kootcoot said...

"Thanks to James King for taking a second look and reversing his original position to agree with me.

I reiterate - Kash Heed is a political embarrassment - but he is entitled to defend himself as allowed by the law - as are we all.
"

All true, but also true is the fact that OVER and OVER the BC liaRs tend to use the court system as a hidey-hole or "time-out" and an excuse to just continue the agenda without the benefit of any accountability ("it's before the courts"). Skookum has a very cogent point about the nowadays quaint idea of ministerial accountability - something that went out with the election of Gordo the Thug.

It is just such a typical Liberal ploy to have underlings to take the blame for any wrongdoing, Basi, Virk, John Les' underlings in Chilliwack, and those Wally Oppal and Liberal party approved alleged criminals who managed to scoff the law while working for Mr. Top Cop himself.

The days of Harcourt resigning over something he had nothing to do with, or Glen Clark over spurious accusations or Harry Truman saying "the buck stops here" are lost in the mists of time with Camelot.

No one is accountable anymore except the little guy - not the bankers who lose other people's money but go hat in hand to the taxpayer to insure the continuation of their obscene bonuses, nor the politicians who never do wrong, only are done wrong by others - like poor Ida Chomp Chomp!

But maybe its a good thing for Kash to hang on as long as possible, it does point out how ridiculous is the Liberal Way!

islandcynic said...

In the good ol days when there was such an outrageous scandal the MLA would step down. Not so with a Liberal MLA. Their modus operandi must be to never, never, ever step down, no matter what. Instead duck, weave, hide, obfuscate and mislead at every opportunity. We have seen it numerous times already and began with the illustrious leader Mr. Himself, Campbell.

I cannot respect anyone who does this or who allows this behaviour. In politics you gotta go when it gets to this and defend your good name afterwards.

Bill, this defence is weak and I would not support it no matter what party name it is under. That is what is wrong with politics today, no f'ing integrity.

Anonymous said...

Warning.
World War 3 could begin in 14 days.

http://www.briankieran.com/2011/01/liberals-post-campbell-goal-of-renewal.html

FYInescu said...

Champagne socialist MacPhail toasts the Red Baron Dix - Brian Kieran

"Joy! Give your head a shake. This is the same guy who – if he ever became premier ... gawd forbid – would hobble the free enterprise economy starting with the extermination of BC’s struggling green power sector. This is the guy who favours state ownership, wants to renew his marriage vows with labour, tax banks and introduce new laws that ensure that “natural resource use is linked to economic justice.” I’m afraid to even ask what that means for resource communities.

This is a cruel joke Joy. You should be ashamed.

Fortunately, MacPhail’s pet project can be put in context by Ipsos Reid polling that shows that the party’s only moderate, consensus-building candidate, Mike Farnworth, is by far the public’s favourite NDP leadership contender. The poll also shows declining impressions of Dix among past NDP voters.

Farnworth received a net score of +28 after negative impressions were subtracted from positive impressions and that placed him well ahead of the competition. Dix received a dismal net score of -6."

"This is a party that has just staged a leadership coup that all but destroyed every remaining shred of its shaky credibility. This is a party that is in such a state of internal angst that most of the people interested in leading it are flakes and dissidents.

It is a day like this that must give even the most pessimistic Liberal pause to smile."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bill Tieleman said:

"Gee Brian - sounds like you have a preference in this contest - and a party preference too!"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gee Bill - sounds like you're opposed to someone having a preference in this contest - and a party preference too!

Anonymous said...

.
Defund NPR ... ???

.

Anonymous said...

Warning.
World War 3 could begin in 14 days.

http://www.briankieran.com/2011/01/liberals-post-campbell-goal-of-renewal.html

Warning - someone is going to check in at a psychiatric ward in 14 days.

Anonymous said...

Warning - In BC, dozens of people check into psych wards every day!

Anonymous said...

And now, for something completely ridiculous.
http://www.sfu.ca/criminology/ugrad/courseinfo/documents/CRIM131Skh1111.pdf

Anonymous said...

Actually, the link didn't come through. Kash will be instructing at SFU this spring - "Introduction to the Criminal Justice System". http://tinyurl.com/4gc4dg7

Skookum1 said...

Due process is required, no matter who is charged.

Bill, "due process" in British Columbia has failed us miserably cf the BC Rail trial for starters....

But more to the point, "due process" in the British-derived parliamentary system means that when an elected official, particularly a cabinet minister, is tainted by scandal, either by himself or one of his underlings, he is supposed to resign immediately and not drag things into the court....much less expect the public purse to pick up the tab for same.

This man was Solicitor-General, for pity's sake, not just a backbencher. And his election was won, it seems, by slander and by electoral fraud....."due process" means he should just resign his seat, rather than wait for the Chief Electoral Officer to take it from him.

In the UK, he'd have to face the Queen and be shamed by her into resigning, if he hadn't already....

Anonymous said...

It appears that the east Indian
Candidate and the Basi Virk bunch are as corrupt as the Liberals.That's 5 of them ,how many more at the next election?