Heed still has time
to do the honourable thing

But don’t count on gov’t to think honourably

Michael Smyth, Vancouver Province, May 6, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell moved with unseemly haste to reappoint Kash Heed to his cabinet. In fact, he raced like the wind to put his tarnished top cop back into his old job, despite the rising stench of scandal around him.

But there’s an old proverb: those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

Now there’s a whole lot of reapin’ going on. It all stinks to high heaven. And it potentially threatens the case against the Liberal insiders who allegedly orchestrated the dirty tricks and smear tactics against Heed’s political enemies during last May’s slime-filled election.

Kash Heed should not have been reappointed to cabinet in the first place. It was the height of the premier’s hubris that he rushed Heed back to the front benches, even while the investigation into the dirty tricks in Vancouver-Fraserview was continuing.

That investigation could still overturn the results of a tainted election, and Heed could still be thrown out of office, yet Campbell put him back into cabinet anyway. The folly of that reckless, arrogant decision has come back to haunt them both.

On Wednesday, a humiliated Heed was forced to resign again. He had little choice, as his position was hopelessly untenable. But they have no one but themselves to blame.

Consider the timeline: Campbell announced Heed was returning to cabinet at 4 p.m., after special prosecutor Terrence Robertson absolved Heed of personal wrongdoing in the dirty-tricks scandal. Then Robertson resigned an hour later, revealing his law firm had donated money to Heed’s tainted election campaign.

Campbell should have pulled the choke chain right then and cancelled Heed’s reappointment. Instead, Heed was sworn back into cabinet at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

It’s astonishing that Heed and Campbell were prepared to carry on with the cabinet reappointment in defiance of such an appalling set of facts. Ditto for Attorney-General Mike de Jong, who also defended reappointing Heed to cabinet on the strength of a report from a discredited special prosecutor, now under investigation by the B.C. Law Society.

I wonder if they would still be trying to defend the reappointment today, if Heed had not come to his senses? The former solicitor-general said it was his decision to resign again, not the premier’s.

The fallout from this debacle could be serious. A new special prosecutor must be appointed, hopefully one who hasn’t given money to Kash Heed.

What if that new special prosecutor disagrees with Robertson? What about the lawyers representing the Liberal insiders facing criminal charges? Have they been handed a gift-wrapped breach-of-process defence by this stumbling, bumbling government?

What about the statute of limitations? Hopefully, the bungling won’t deny the voters of Vancouver-Fraserview justice, after being denied a fair-and-square election.

But something tells me we’ll be going down this same, sorry road again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Campbell pull another arrogant stunt to try to get Heed back into cabinet.

So here’s a little advice for Heed. If he wants to do the honourable thing, he should resign his seat right now. Seek the Liberal nomination in Vancouver-Fraserview. And if local Libs trust him as much as Campbell does, he’ll have a chance to win a fair, slime-free election. Then he would have a fresh mandate from the voters who feel they were cheated last time.

Don’t bet on this happening. With the way this government is operating now, the right thing to do seems to be the last thing on their minds.