B.C. New Democratic Party MLA Jinny Sims has resigned her cabinet post as minister of citizens’ services after it was revealed she is under investigation by the RCMP.
A special prosecutor has been appointed, Premier John Horgan said in a statement issued late Friday afternoon.
Ms. Sims, in a statement, said she does not know the nature of the allegations against her, “but there was no credibility to previous public allegations,” she said. “I am confident that my name will be cleared but do not want to distract from the important work of government in the meantime.”
It is not clear what allegations Ms. Sims is referring to, although she has been in political hot water in recent months.
The Liberal opposition, in May, questioned Ms. Sims in the legislature about allegations made by her former constituency assistant, Kate Gillie, regarding the minister’s use of her office to provide reference letters for Pakistani citizens seeking visas to Canada. Three of those individuals ended up on a U.S. security watch list. Ms. Sims acknowledged writing the letters but denied Ms. Gillie’s contention that there was any financial incentive.
In addition, Ms. Sims, whose portfolio included the administration of the province’s freedom of information law, apologized in the spring for using her personal e-mail to conduct work business – a tactic that can be used to circumvent the freedom-of-information process.
Mr. Horgan said he was told by Attorney-General David Eby on Friday afternoon that a special prosecutor had been appointed to assist the RCMP in their investigation. Special prosecutors are appointed when there is a significant potential for a perceived, or real, improper influence in a criminal justice case.
“We take any such investigation very seriously,” he said.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, in a statement, noted the premier defended Ms. Sims’ conduct for months.
“The BC Liberals have raised countless questions for months about Jinny Sims’ conduct in government and in her community. This ranges from breaking FOI rules as the minister responsible, to her decision to write letters of immigration support for people on terrorist watch lists,” he said in a statement.
“John Horgan continued to dismiss legitimate concerns and now he must answer for this complete failure of leadership on his part.”
Selina Robinson will take on the additional cabinet portfolio while Ms. Sims is under investigation.
Ms. Sims was first elected as the legislature member for Surrey-Panorama in the 2017 provincial election. Before getting into provincial politics, Ms. Sims was a New Democrat MP for the Metro Vancouver riding of Newton-North Delta.
With files from The Canadian Press