Former B.C. solicitor-general
Kash Heed ‘thought he was Batman,’
says ex-aide

“I was his right-hand man. Now I’m taking the fall”

Michael Smyth, Vancouver Province, Nov. 3, 2011


Kash Heed’s former campaign manager says the ex-solicitor general
saw himself as a modern-day Caped Crusader, even having a
“bat phone” installed in his office. Photo: Jon Murray, PNG files.


By day, he’s known as Kash Heed, less-than-mild-mannered Liberal MLA and former top cop of British Columbia.

But to his once-loyal sidekick, Heed will be forever known as the Caped Crusader of the legislature.

“Kash thought he was Batman — and I was his Robin,” said Heed’s former campaign manager Barinder Sall, who was rung up on electoral-finance charges on Friday.

Sall pleaded guilty to financing the notorious dirty-tricks campaign against Heed’s NDP opponent in the last election, and was fined $15,000. Heed was cleared of criminal wrongdoing — though he was fined, too, for exceeding campaign spending limits — and remains the Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview.

At least, that’s his public title. In his own mind, Sall says, Heed was a modern-day superhero, battling his way through the cutthroat world of politics and policing.

“Back when he was police chief in West Vancouver, Kash had a secret phone line in his office that he called ‘the bat phone,’” said Sall, who seems determined to drag the ex-solicitor-general down with him.

“I don’t know if it was red like the real Batphone, but that’s what he always called it, and I was one of the few people who knew the secret number. In Kash’s world, he was Batman.”

Sall opens up a thick binder of documents, and starts showing me a series of private email exchanges between himself and Heed.

In one email, Sall alerts Heed to the appointment of a new provincial gang-war commissioner.

“Call bat phone,” Heed replies. In another, Sall updates Heed on a seniors’ housing project. “Call bat line,” Heed fires back.

Why is Sall showing me this?

“Because it proves how close I was to him,” says Sall, who’s angry Heed has distanced himself from him. “He was like my big brother. I was his right-hand man. Now I’m taking the fall.”

The pair were so close, Sall says, that Heed shared his private thoughts on other Liberal MLAs.

More emails spill out from the binder. They show “Batman” Heed firing plenty of batarangs at his colleagues.

Former solicitor-general John Les was “a goof,” says one. Liberal MLA John van Dongen “doesn’t have a clue” about street crime. Cabinet minister Mary McNeil was a “loser” and “dense.”

When Sall informs him that the Liberals recruited McNeil as a “star candidate,” Heed fires back: “I could run for the Marijuana Party and beat her.”

Heed talks in the emails about joining the B.C. Green Party, too. And there are several mentions of Heed wanting to run for the NDP.

“I think I’m going to jump ship and move to the NDP,” Heed writes to Sall. “I think I should be able to be their leader after the next election.”

Many of the emails were written when Heed was West Vancouver police chief and reveal a burning ambition in politics or to become the police chief in Vancouver, a job that eventually went to Jim Chu.

Once, Heed spotted Sall and another strategist chatting to Chu at an event, triggering a nasty email.

“Boy, do you guys know how to destroy your credibility,” Heed wrote.

Kash Heed declined to be interviewed for this column. He issued a public statement that said: “The matter is over and it is time to move forward. The prior decision by the special prosecutor and the court re-affirmed my integrity and I will not be commenting further.”

But Sall alleged earlier this week that he did not disclose $40,000 in campaign spending in Heed’s riding, which has triggered a new review by Elections B.C.

Meanwhile, Premier Christy Clark said Liberal MLAs will decide whether Heed should remain in the government caucus.

But a Liberal source says it’s unlikely Heed will be kicked out. Why? Because Clark does not want to risk losing Heed’s seat to the NDP in a byelection.

For now, it looks like “Batman” will remain in the Liberal Batcave, while his erstwhile “Robin” tries to rebuild his life.

“I admit that I financed the flyer,” Sall said of the sleazy anti-NDP election pamphlet at the centre of the dirty-tricks scandal.

“At the time, my gut told me not to do it. I should have listened to my gut. I hurt a lot of people, and Kash Heed hurt me badly.”

Now, he’s doing his best to hurt Heed back.

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