Surrey-Panorama NDP MLA Jinny Sims. (Hansard TV)

Embattled MLA says BC Liberal accusations are just ‘gotcha politics’

Liberal House Leader Mary Polak, MLA for Langley, asked the RCMP to investigate NDP MLA Jinny Sims

Embattled Surrey NDP MLA Jinny Sims has come out swinging after the Liberal opposition asked the RCMP on Wedneday night to look into claims concerning her alleged conduct as B.C.’s minister of citizens’ services that have dogged her for a few weeks now.

Former office staffer Kate Gillie, fired from Sims’ Surrey constituency office six weeks into the job, alleged she was let go after questioning the way information was exchanged through text messages and the minister’s personal WhatsApp account.

Sims has also come under fire for using her credentials as B.C. Citizens’ Services minister to draft visa reference letters for 10 Pakistani citizens, eight of whom have been denied entry into Canada. It is not known why the applications were denied.

“If they actually had something credible, why didn’t the Opposition do this in the first place?” the MLA for Surrey-Panorama told the Now-Leader in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon.

“Instead, the Opposition spent weeks spreading false allegations filled with exaggerations and fabrications – even though the claims have been discredited. Their allegation that visa applicants were on a so-called ‘watch list’ turned out to be fabricated. There was never any information to suggest that. While the Opposition focuses on gotcha politics, we’ve been delivering results to make life better for people in B.C.”

READ ALSO: B.C information minister accused of secret MLA office dealings

On Wednesday night Liberal House Leader Mary Polak, MLA for Langley, sent a letter to the RCMP asking for an investigation to be opened concerning information the Opposition received “that we believe warrants investigation.”

Polak could not be reached Thursday for comment. Her letter to Peter Juk, assistant deputy attorney general and the RCMP’s “E” Division states: “In our capacity as the Official Opposition, we have received information that relates to alleged conduct of the Minister of Citizens’ Services, Jinny Sims, that we believe warrants investigation. We are sending it to you for your consideration and review.”

It’s been a rough 2019 for Sims.

On May 17, the Liberal opposition called on Premier John Horgan to launch a formal investigation into her “conduct” after the Information and Privacy Commissioner indicated the independent office doesn’t have the authority to do so.

“Unfortunately, the minister responsible for Freedom of Information and government transparency is the very minister who is under scrutiny for blatantly ignoring FOI procedures,” said Steve Thomson, Liberal co-critic for citizens’ services.

Ben Stewart, also co-critic for citizens’ services, said Horgan needs to “step up and call for a proper investigation now” as “Minister Sims cannot investigate herself.”

“So far, the NDP have only blamed the whistleblower for raising the issue. The Premier should do the right thing thing and ensure the commissioner can conduct a thorough review.”

Polak charged in a press release issued May 13 that “after already breaking the rules and apologizing last year – promising to be more diligent in the future – these fresh allegations suggest Jinny Sims continues to avoid her government email or phone and instead uses her private email and WhatsApp to communicate official government business.

“It appears that Sims continues to circumvent the very laws she is charged with overseeing by avoiding the disclosure of her government business to the public,” Polak said.

Asked Thursday if he’s considering a cabinet shuffle, Horgan had this to say.

“I do have confidence in Jinny,” Horgan told reporters in Victoria, at the end of the legislature’s spring session. “I have no plans to make any changes at this time.”

John Aldag, Liberal MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, whose riding boundaries overlap with Sims’, said it’s not uncommon for MLAs to send federal immigration cases to his office, “because that’s our jurisdiction.”

Aldag said he did not receive any reasons for denial of the visa applications.

“We didn’t inquire into the reasons,” he said.

“Eight of them were rejected and two of them were accepted. The files’s closed for us. In this case, like I say, eight were not accepted, two were, and that’s what we communicated and that’s the extent of our involvement.”

“A fairly standard thing.”

Aldag noted that as a former MP, Sims “has a very strong sense of what we are and are not able to do.”

– With a file from Tom Fletcher



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Reports of chaos in Penticton, involving police cruiser and possible shots fired

Residents also reported hearing shots fired at the same time as the crash

Driver held at gunpoint, car-jacked on East Side Road

Penticton RCMP are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the suspect, stolen vehicle

Penticton care aide training centre a first for the Interior

SafeCare BC Satellite Training Centre is now open in Penticton to help continuing care aides

Don’t miss the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers fundraiser

The second annual fundraiser takes place Saturday for the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers

Crime, substance abuse, public safety and housing listed as Penticton priorities

Penticton City Council to bring up priority issues at UBCM

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Fire at Kelowna home sends three to hospital

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read