Former solicitor general still mulling over re-election decision
Last Updated: Friday, April 3, 2009 | 9:09 PM PT
The Canadian Press
Former solicitor general John Les says he's days away from deciding if he will run in the May provincial election despite being named in an RCMP investigation into land development deals.
Les appeared Friday to be leaning firmly toward seeking re-election, saying constituents are telling him he would send the wrong message about the investigation if he decided not to run.
"If I were to withdraw, a lot of people have advised me that [it] would look an awful lot like I was anticipating some adverse findings or something like that in the investigation," he said.
"In no way do I want to leave that impression. I've been consistent that I've done nothing wrong."
Les is circulating a letter in his Fraser Valley Chilliwack-Sumas riding that asks constituents whether he should run or drop out of the race due to the investigation.
Les's letter tells voters he thought about withdrawing but the Liberal riding executive insisted he continue.
"As you know, the May 12 election is just weeks away. If we work hard, I believe we will win again, both across the province and in Chilliwack," Les said in the letter.
"I was nominated by acclamation to run again, the campaign funds are in place, the signs are ready to be erected and we have a great campaign team. I am ready to run.
"However, there is the matter of an ongoing investigation into issues at Chilliwack City Hall during the time I was mayor."
Resigned in March 2008
Les resigned from cabinet a year ago after it was revealed police were looking into land deals during his tenure as Chilliwack mayor in the 1990s.
The allegations involve removal of tracts of land from the Agricultural Land Commission.
Les and his brother, Larry, a Chilliwack developer, got approval in May 2000 to rezone property Les owned from agricultural land to single residential lots.
Les was not the mayor at the time and he later sold most of the property. He has said he always excused himself from city hall deliberations when situations arose that involved himself or family members.
In the letter, Les repeats what he has said from the beginning: that he expects to be cleared once the investigation is done.
"Unbelievably, the investigation has not yet concluded," he said.
The Criminal Justice Branch, which appointed a special prosecutor in June 2007, said the investigation continues.
A special prosecutor was appointed to conduct the investigation because of Les's position as solicitor general at the time.