The BC Prosecution Service says it has named a special prosecutor in a case involving a New Westminster school board candidate who was later appointed a government adviser at the beginning of May.
The service says Vancouver lawyer John Gordon will give legal advice to investigators and handle the potential prosecution of Gurveen Dhaliwal, who was elected to the New Westminster school board as chair before being named a ministerial adviser to Health Minister Adrian Dix on May 1.
Dhaliwal is being investigated for possibly breaking election rules by being present at a voting place as a scrutineer, which the Local Government Act prohibits, as candidates are only allowed at polling stations to vote on election day.
The prosecution service says Gordon was appointed on May 4, three days after Dhaliwal was appointed a ministerial adviser to B.C.’s health minister.
Dhaliwal’s appointment to the Health Ministry was rescinded May 15, and she was made a ministerial adviser to the labour minister that same day.
In a statement issued Friday, the prosecution service says special prosecutors are appointed to avoid any appearance of “improper influence” over the administration of justice in cases involving elected officials or government appointees.
Opposition BC United MLA Peter Milobar said Friday that the party welcomes Gordon’s appointment, calling it “deeply troubling” that Dhaliwal was given a government appointment after the allegations came to light. He called on Premier David Eby to put Dhaliwal on administrative leave.
The premier’s office said in a statement that Dhaliwal has been placed on leave from her position as ministerial adviser.
“We take any such investigation very seriously,” the statement said.