British Columbia

NDP and B.C. Liberals continue war of words over allegations from fired constituency assistant

Controversy over allegations made by a B.C. minister's fired constituency assistant continued this week through legal letters and RCMP requests. 

Lawyer for the NDP says claims against Jinny Sims are unfounded; Liberals request further investigation

A lawyer for the B.C. NDP says the claims made against Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims in a letter by a former constituency assistant are unfounded. (CBC)

Controversy over allegations made by a B.C. minister's fired constituency assistant continued this week through legal letters and RCMP requests.

Citizens' Services Minister Jinny Sims has been criticized by the B.C. Liberals over two letters written by Kate Gillie — who worked for Sims for six weeks — that claimed Sims inappropriately mixed her constituency and ministerial duties in a number of ways.

On Monday, a lawyer for the BC NDP sent a letter to Gillie's lawyer, calling a number of the allegations false and warning her about repeating them.

"I trust the above will assist you in advising your client that repeating these false claims constitutes defamation," ends the letter from Joanna Gislason, legal counsel to the NDP caucus. 

One of the claims by Gillie was that Sims wrote visa reference letters for foreign nationals on a security watch list, which the minister seemed to confirm to reporters two weeks ago

However, the NDP's lawyer says Gillie erroneously made that claim to Sims while she was still her assistant.

"A review of correspondence and consultation ... confirm there is no information to suggest that any of the participants were on a a security watch list." 

Liberals request RCMP investigation

While Gillie has not made a public comment since her letters, the B.C. Liberals are continuing to discuss them in question period. 

"Every single day — and the premier is well aware of this — we've heard a different story, different details and different answers," said MLA Shirley Bond on Wednesday. 

The Liberals have called on the Information and Privacy Commissioner to be given permission to investigate the allegations and this week sent a letter to the RCMP, requesting it begin an investigation.

The RCMP has not yet responded. In the legislature, Premier John Horgan seemed to consider the matter closed.

"When the letter [by Gillie] was received by government, we reviewed the information. We found the allegations to be unfounded and we carried on," he said.

"Now, I appreciate that the official opposition has had a bad patch for at least two years ... but to come into this House, day after day, conflating stories by a disgruntled employee that have been unfounded, proven to be unfounded, that, I guess, is their right."

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