B.C. MLA Jinny Sims has resigned from cabinet amid news of an RCMP investigation and the appointment of a special prosecutor.
In a statement posted on the B.C. government news site at 5:15 p.m. on Friday (October 4), Premier John Horgan wrote:
“This afternoon, I was advised by the Attorney General of the appointment of a special prosecutor for an RCMP investigation related to MLA Jinny Sims.
“Jinny Sims has resigned from cabinet during the investigation. I accepted her resignation as appropriate under the circumstances. We take any such investigation very seriously.
“While we await the conclusion of the matter, I have asked Minister Selina Robinson to temporarily assume responsibility as Minister of Citizens’ Services.”
Sims, the NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama after winning election in 2017, previously held federal office for a single term as the NDP MP for Newton-North Delta. Prior to that, Sims was president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation from 2004 to 2007.
In an emailed statement released at 5:24 p.m. today, Sims wrote:
“This afternoon I offered my resignation as Minister of Citizens’ Services upon learning of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. I have not been given details of any allegations but there was no credibility to previous public allegations. I am confident that my name will be cleared but do not want to distract from the important work of government in the meantime.
“For that reason, I have decided to step away from my duties while the matter is resolved.
“On the advice of counsel, I will not be making any further statements.”
No information has been released detailing the nature of the RCMP investigation. CBC News has identified Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck as the special prosecutor.
Earlier this year, information surfaced about Sims's 2018 endorsements of visa applications for 10 Pakistani citizens, three of whom turned out to be considered security concerns by the U.S. government.
A former constituency assistant, Kate Gillie—who was fired by Sims's office in February this year after about six weeks on the job—sent an email of complaint in March to the premier's office and the office of the conflict of interest commissioner regarding the visa endorsements.
Gillie's email was released by the B.C. Liberals in May of this year. The email allegedly said that Sims's fundraising coordinator told Gillie that one of the visa applicants would be donating $10,000 to Sims's campaign and would be discussing a "big investment" with Sims.
Sims denied any wrongdoing and said no money was donated to her campaign.