B.C.’s ex-top cop
doesn’t escape untarnished

Michael Smyth, Vancouver Province, May 4, 2010


Kash Heed may have escaped charges Monday in the election dirty-tricks scandal that cost him his cabinet seat, but the former top cop doesn’t exactly come out of this mess smelling like a rose.

These are serious criminal and campaign-finance allegations against Heed’s most senior and trusted campaign masterminds, who also happen to be Liberal party and government insiders.

Barinder Sall, Heed’s campaign manager, was a ministerial assistant to former attorney-general Wally Oppal. Dinesh Khanna is a Liberal party donor who’s been praised in the legislature by Liberal MLAs. Satpal Johl was entrusted with one of the highest positions of authority in the Heed campaign machine as official financial agent.

It all looks terrible on the province’s former solicitor-general — yet that didn’t prevent Heed from suggesting Monday he was somehow ready for prime time again.

Should Heed return to cabinet? “No way,” said NDP house leader Mike Farnworth. “He shouldn’t be anywhere near the cabinet room until these charges have been fully resolved in a court of law.”

Ah, yes, the courts. Another day, another embarrassing criminal trial for the Liberals to look forward to — with the B.C. Rail corruption trial right around the corner, and charges possibly imminent in the marathon crooked-land-deals investigation of John Les, another former top cop feeling the heat.

Yup, the hits just keep on coming for the battered Libs, though they did their best to put the best spin on the situation, by emphasizing Heed had been exonerated by special prosecutor Terrence Robertson.

But consider this: Robertson said he cleared Heed because the former West Van police chief didn’t know about the allegedly dirty deeds going down — and Heed would not have sussed it out even if he had exercised “reasonable diligence.”

Interestingly, Heed told reporters last month that he didn’t know anything about the smear tactics against the NDP in his riding, even though the campaign uproar over the illegal Chinese-language pamphlets at the centre of the scandal were reported at the time in the media!

What does all that say about Heed’s skill as an investigator, when he would not have been capable of sniffing out alleged wrongdoing? Sherlock Holmes he ain’t.

Meanwhile, could Heed lose his seat in the B.C. legislature if his brain trust is found guilty of running a dirty campaign?

Elections B.C. said no, even though the law states a politician can be kicked out of office if the campaign exceeds its legal spending limit, and the monetary value of the illegal flyer sliming has never been disclosed.

If Heed’s campaign officials are found guilty, and Heed is still allowed to keep his seat in the legislature, that would reveal a serious loophole in our election laws.

Why? Because there’s a strong argument to be made that the Chinese-language brochures — accusing the News Democrats of being the most evil band of thugs this side of the Mongol hordes — turned the tide in a tight election.

If just 375 Vancouver-Fraserview voters rejected the NDP because of the brochures — in a riding of 38,000 voters — that would mean Heed’s “victory” last May was bogus.

If Heed’s brain trust ends up getting busted, the only fair outcome would be a byelection. And this one should be slime-free.

Go to Kash Heed page