Outgoing B.C. Liberal MLA Kash Heed isn’t casting a ballot on May 14. “I’m parking my vote,” Heed told the Straight in a phone interview.
It’s probably his parting shot at what he once described as “this bizarre world of politics”. It’s another tale in a controversial political career that saw him rise from star candidate in 2009 to solicitor general and fall to backbencher.
A voter in Richmond Centre, Heed doesn’t see any of the seven candidates in the traditionally Liberal constituency to have taken any real position on anything.
“They defaulted to what the [party] leaders are saying,” the one-term Vancouver-Fraserview representative said. “So I have no idea what they stand for. The propaganda that I’ve received in the mail is just rhetoric from the party.”
The candidates in Richmond Centre are Teresa Wat of the B.C. Liberal Party; Frank Huang, B.C. NDP; Michael Wolfe, Green Party of B.C.; Lawrence Chen, B.C. Conservative Party; Chanel Donovan, Unparty: the Consensus-Building Party; and independents Gary Law and Richard Lee.
A Vancouver police officer for many years before he became West Vancouver’s chief constable in 2007, Heed is also very disappointed that neither the B.C. Liberal party nor the B.C. NDP placed policing reforms on their agenda.
“If the missing-women [inquiry] recommendations came out right now, they would be jumping on a bandwagon,” Heed said. He was referring to judge Wally Oppal’s proposal for a Metro Vancouver regional police service following a commission of inquiry into the police investigation of the missing and murdered women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Had he remained B.C. solicitor general, Heed would have pushed for the revival of a provincial police force to replace the RCMP. In 2012, the province renewed its contract with the Mounties for another 20 years. “There’s no way I would have signed that contract,” he said. “It does not deliver the most effective, efficient, and accountable police service for British Columbians. It does not do that. There’s a better way.”
It was the RCMP that investigated allegations that Heed’s election camp committed irregularities during the 2009 campaign. He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing but was fined for having overspent.
Heed doesn’t claim that he was targeted but he also noted that “there were certainly a lot of people within the RCMP that were not happy” because of his plans then to overhaul B.C.’s policing system. It’s often described as a patchwork of independent police departments and RCMP detachments, with Greater Vancouver as the only metropolitan area in the country without a single regional police force.
Heed doesn’t see anything much changing under a B.C. Liberal or New Democrat government: “I have no confidence in either of them giving B.C. the police reforms that are needed.”