British Columbia

NDP wants Heed to stay out of B.C. cabinet

B.C.'s NDP Opposition says former solicitor general Kash Heed should not return to cabinet until charges against two of his top campaign workers have made their way through the courts.

B.C.'s NDP Opposition says former solicitor general Kash Heed should not return to cabinet until charges against two of his top campaign workers have made their way through the courts.

Heed said on Monday he was glad to be cleared of any election campaign wrongdoing by a special investigation into the charges, and said he hopes to return to the B.C. Liberal cabinet in his former position.

But New Democrat MLA Mike Farnworth says Heed should not return to cabinet until after the case against his campaign workers has been through the courts.

"These charges relate to the two most senior members in an MLA's campaign, the campaign manager, and the financial agent, the people who are responsible for making decisions, the people who know what the rules and the law are governing election expenses," said Farnworth. 

Ultimately that decision will likely be made by Premier Gordon Campbell, who is currently in Europe on government business.

Stepped down during investigation

Heed was forced to step down as solicitor general last month when it was revealed the RCMP was conducting an investigation into his May 2009 election campaign for the Vancouver Fraserview riding.

Then on Monday, a special prosecutor approved a variety of charges against two of Heed's campaign workers relating to an unregistered election brochure that was distributed during the election.

The Crown made it clear Heed himself was not under suspicion and the former solicitor general said he could see no reason that would prevent him from returning to the cabinet post.

But among the charges laid on Monday, Heed's financial officer was accused of failing to properly record election expenses, raising speculation Heed's seat could be declared vacant.

Farnworth noted B.C.'s election act caps campaign spending, and violating that cap, as Heed's campaign workers are now accused of doing, can overturn a seat.

"If you violate the expenses limit in your election campaign, your seat is declared vacant," said Farnworth.

But Don Main of Elections B.C. said that because Heed himself was not charged, there's no way his election will be overturned, noting the law does give the courts some leeway on the issue.

Campaign workers facing charges

Heed's campaign co-ordinator Barinder Sall and his financial officer Satpal Johl both face charges related to an unregistered election flyer.

The Chinese-language mail-outs accused the New Democrats of planning to legalize heroin and cocaine and said the party would also consider bringing in an inheritance tax. The flyer did not list a registered sponsor, as required under B.C. law.

Sall and a third man, Dinesh Kanna, who published the flyer, are also facing criminal charges for allegedly giving police false information and trying to obstruct justice.

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