B.C. Liberals on Monday said that Premier John Horgan needs to be honest with British Columbians about what he and his office knew regarding the active police investigation into criminal wrongdoing by his former minister, Jinny Sims, and if anyone else in his office, or government, is involved.
“John Horgan was more than happy to tell British Columbians there was absolutely no wrong-doing by his minister back in May, yet here we are five months later; a special prosecutor has been appointed and an active RCMP investigation into criminal wrong-doing has begun,” said BC Liberal Opposition House Leader Mary Polak. “Horgan needs to confirm whether anyone else in his office or government is involved and if so, have they been removed from their role?”
In March, allegations against Sims were investigated by Horgan’s Chief of Staff, Geoff Meggs, who produced a report that swiftly came to the conclusion the former minister had done nothing wrong, said the BC Liberals and called on Horgan to release the Meggs Report in full to the public and reveal who else is under investigation.
“Meggs’ so-called investigation, coupled with the intimidation letter he had drafted by an NDP lawyer that threatened legal action against the whistleblower appears to be nothing short of a coverup,” added Polak. “Enough is enough. The Premier must now answer for his complete failure of leadership and explain why a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate the minister after he assured British Columbians she had done nothing wrong.”
Jinny Sims Timeline, according to B.C. Liberals:
* May 2018 – Jinny Sims apologies for using private email to flout Freedom of Information laws, and answers for the mass deletion of records by staff in the Premier’s Office and across ministries. Evidence later shows she continued to use messaging services to avoid FOI requests.
* October 23 / December 18, 2018 – Jinny Sims writes letters of recommendation for visa applicants she does not personally know, including individuals on US security watchlists.
* January 8, 2019 – Whistleblower starts employment with Jinny Sims in her Surrey-Panorama constituency office in the position of Constituency Assistant
* February 15, 2019 – Whistleblower raises concerns with both BCGEU and the Executive Director of the New Democrat BC Government Caucus, Roseanne Moran.
* February 22, 2019 – Whistleblower employment terminated by Jinny Sims
* March 4, 2019 – Whistleblower sends email detailing concerns about Jinny Sims to the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Assistant Deputy Minister of Cabinet Operations and Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Alex MacLennan, and Ethics Advisor of Intergovernmental Relations.
* March 7, 2019 – Geoff Meggs email to Don Wright
“Dear Don, I am writing with regard to the email sent to Alex MacLennan on March 4 by Kate Gillie. After reviewing the email, I have followed up with Rosanne Moran, executive director of the NDP caucus, and Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. [ s.22 ]
* March 7 / March 8 2019 – Alex MacLennan writes Memorandums of Receipt/Actions for Email Correspondence:
“The email was not relevant to BC Public Service staff. It was printed and delivered to the Office of the Deputy Premier on Tuesday March 5, 2019. After delivery, the email was deleted from my inbox and not further distributed or shared.”
* May 12, 2019 – Lawyer Donald J. Sorochan, QC writes on behalf of whistleblower to Attorney General David Eby, and others, asking that concerns be appropriately addressed.
* May 13, 2019 – Official Opposition first raises concerns in Question Period. John Horgan responds:
“I’m not aware of any investigation underway. …I’ll consult with the Attorney. We’ll take a look at the information, and we’ll proceed from there.”
* May 13, 2019 – Attorney General claims the Privacy Commissioner is the only one who could investigate concerns, a statement later refuted by the Privacy Commissioner.
* May 17, 2019 – Michael McEvoy, Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, writes to the whistleblower’s lawyer that he has concerns but cannot investigate.
* May 27, 2019 – B.C. NDP caucus lawyer writes a letter to the whistleblower threatening legal action
* May 29, 2019 – John Horgan finally addresses questions in Question Period:
“I am well aware of the allegations that the member raises. My chief of staff received a letter from the secretary to cabinet in March. He reviewed the allegations to the extent that he could.”
“An appropriate investigation was done at that time.”
“I’m confident, based on the work that my chief of staff did, that any of the substantive allegations that have been made are not founded, and I’m comfortable with where we are on that.”
“[The Oppositions] continues to come into this House with some trumped-up charges…”
“My chief of staff did what I directed him to do…”
“The chief of staff reviewed it. We discussed it.”
“We found the allegations to be unfounded, and we carried on.”
* May 29, 2019 – House Leader Mary Polak writes to Peter Juk, QC, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, BC Prosecution Service and RCMP”E” Division with information for consideration and review.
* May 31, 2019 – Peter Juk responds, confirming receipt of May 29th letter and that it is up to the RCMP to decide if they will investigate.
* September 11, 2019 – Mary Polak writes again to Peter Juk asking for confirmation of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor given an active and ongoing RCMP investigation.
* September 18, 2019 – Peter Juk responds that no Special Prosecutor has been appointed.
* September 30, 2019 – Peter Juk receives a formal request from the RCMP that he consider the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.
* October 4, 2019
• 2:30 PM:
– David Eby informs John Horgan of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, which leads to NDP MLA conference call.
• 4:30 PM:
– Meeting held of all DMs and ADMs across government.
– All-staff meeting held of NDP political staffers.
• 5:15 PM:
– John Horgan issues statement announcing the appointment of a Special Prosecutor but not what the allegations relate to.
– BC Prosecution Service tells reporters that Richard Peck, QC, has been named the Special Prosecutor.
– BC Prosecution Service confirms Special Prosecutor assigned, “…to provide legal advice in relation to an investigation into criminal wrongdoing involving the Minister of Citizens’ Services, Jinny Sims, and others.”