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Liberals question former minister’s access to government electronics
VICTORIA - For a second day, the opposition fired away at the government as police continue to investigate former NDP minister Jinny Sims.
Sims resigned from cabinet Friday, and the BC Liberals want to know why it took several days to get her electronic devices.
The issue dominated Question Period Tuesday.
“The member for Surrey-Panorama is a serial offender when it comes to breaking the laws she was sworn to uphold,” said Jas Johal, the MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. The Liberal politician continued, “In what world does the premier think it's OK for the suspect to have access to evidence for almost four days?”
It was the province’s Attorney General who responded.
“Her access to her government email and her devices through her log-in was terminated on the Friday,” said David Eby.
In response to allegations from the opposition that Sims had used apps like WhatsApp and others to communicate government business and so should not have had any access to electronics, Eby again provided an answer.
“The member listed three or four private apps that we don't have access to shut down. I'm glad he's not the critic for technology,” he said to applause from his colleagues.
Through the back-and-forth we also learned a ministerial staffer in Sims’ constituency office is now on paid leave because there is no minister to work for.
The Liberals also demanded to know what happened to the concerns they raised about Sims breaking the very rules she was supposed to uphold. Previously in the house, the party also dove into an issue about visa letters written for those the Liberals say were actually on a terror watch list.
The premier says an internal investigation was conducted.
“Issues were raised last spring. A letter came to the secretary to cabinet that made reference to allegations from a former employee. That was transmitted to my chief of staff. He conducted a review of the information that was available in that correspondence. He translated that to the deputy to the premier. That was the end of the story, because there was no basis in the allegations that had come to government at that time,” he explained.
The Liberals want written documentation of what happened.
At this point, it’s not known why the RCMP are investigating Sims – just that there is alleged criminal misconduct of some kind.
A special prosecutor is assigned to the case. Whether the public hears anything depends on whether charges are ever laid – and that could take years. In the meantime, the Liberals have found something to use to hammer away at the government.