[Note: B.C. has actually changed its solicitor general nine times since Rich Coleman left the post in 2008. As of March 2011, his successors have been John Les, John van Dongen, Rich Coleman again, Kash Heed, Mike de Jong, Kash Heed again, Mike de Jong again, Rich Coleman again and Shirley Bond.]

Heed is B.C.’s third top cop
to step aside

Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun, April 10, 2010


As he announced his resignation Friday, Kash Heed became the third consecutive solicitor-general in almost two years to step aside amid controversy.

Heed’s predecessor, John van Dongen, resigned during the provincial election campaign last April because of multiple driving infractions.

John Les, who was solicitor general before that, stepped down March 28, 2008, shortly after news broke that a special prosecutor was investigating his actions while he was mayor of Chilliwack.

“I think this is really disturbing, the fact this is now the third solicitor-general that’s had to resign,” said New Democratic Party critic for the solicitor-general, Mike Farnworth.

“You have to wonder how it is possible,” added Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA for Delta South.

“I just think it does nothing but further undermine the confidence that people have in their government, and I don’t know what this government can do about it, and how they can return that confidence,” she said.

Van Dongen stepped down amid revelations he had nine speeding tickets — two for “excessive” speeding, defined as driving more than 40 km/h over the posted limit — and a four-month driving suspension. He initially moved to have the Insurance Corp. of B.C. and the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles removed from his ministry, but only three days later announced he was stepping down.

“Over the weekend I have reflected on my actions,” van Dongen said in a statement released Monday April 27, 2009.

“I have heard from those who have rightly criticized my driving record that has undermined their confidence in my role as solicitor-general,” he added.

“I do understand how my conduct in this respect has reflected poorly on the credibility of the office.”

Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman oversaw the portfolio until after the election, when Heed was named to the post.

Les announced he was stepping down late in the day on March 28, 2008.

In an interview at the time, Les said he was stepping aside, but that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I know at the end of this that I’ll be completely exonerated,” Les said, adding he nonetheless believed stepping aside was the right thing.

“I think I have a special obligation in the circumstances to step aside because the solicitor-general is the individual who superintends policing in the province, so it’s important therefore that there not be any shadow of a doubt that an investigation is being properly done,” he said.

Robin McFee, the special prosecutor looking into John Les’s actions, has yet to publicly issue a report in the case.

Neither van Dongen nor Les have returned to cabinet since they stepped down, though both won re-election last May.

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