B.C. Liberal MLA to keep seat in election scandal
Kash Heed did not act in bad faith, Elections BC says
B.C. Liberal MLA Kash Heed will keep his seat at the provincial legislature, despite election spending irregularities, but he may have to pay a fine of several thousand dollars.
Elections BC threatened to declare the Vancouver-Fraserview MLA's seat vacant because his campaign financial reports didn't show he had overspent during the 2009 election by about $5,000.
Heed admitted in an expense report filed with Elections BC on Friday that he exceeded the spending limit.
But in his petition to the B.C. Supreme Court, the former solicitor general argued he had no knowledge of any unreported expenses that were handled by his staff and that he should therefore be allowed to retain his seat in the legislature.
'Did not act in bad faith'
On Tuesday, lawyers representing Elections BC told the court it appears Heed "did not act in bad faith" and knew nothing of the overspending, so it wouldn't be right to strip him of his seat.
Instead Elections BC is asking the court to fine Heed for breaking the spending limit. That fine could be up to twice what his campaign overspent. The justice has reserved his decision in the case.
Heed has run into a series of political setbacks since his election, most of which stemmed from alleged illegalities by campaign staff during the election.
He stepped down from his post in cabinet last April when it was revealed the RCMP was investigating unregistered campaign brochures distributed in his Vancouver-Fairview riding during the 2009 election campaign.
The ensuing scandal forced his resignation as solicitor general in April 2010.
Heed was cleared by a special prosecutor of criminal allegations last spring, but his former campaign manager, Barinder Sall, is facing charges of illegal election advertising.
Heed, a former Vancouver police officer and West Vancouver police chief, represents Vancouver-Fraserview. He won the riding in 2009 with 49 per cent of the vote, compared to 45 per cent for NDP canadidate Gabriel Yiu.
The arguments about Heed retaining his seat were heard in Kelowna only because a Supreme Court judge happened to be available there Tuesday.