Two major political moves mark the start of the B.C. legislature fall session
Days after suddenly shedding her ministerial duties, Jinny Sims entered a caucus meeting as the MLA for Surrey-Panorama, and with no other responsibilities.
"My focus is going to be as it always has been to be the very best MLA," she told reporters in Victoria.
Late Friday, the attorney general's office told the premier Sims and unknown others were the subject of an RCMP investigation. A special prosecutor had also been assigned to the case. Premier John Horgan said in a conversation with Sims she offered her resignation and hours later she announced she was out of cabinet.
"I have every confidence in Jinny. I've watched her as the leader of the BC Teachers' Federation, I've watched her as a member of parliament and I've watched her as a colleague," said Horgan. "I'm confident she'll be able to clear the air."
The reason for the RCMP investigation remains unknown, even to Sims.
"I have no idea about the allegations. I have not been told anything and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate," was the response when she was asked about why police would look into her actions.
The premier also said he didn't know why the former minister was being looked at for possible criminal wrongdoing. During Question Period, the Liberals demanded to know how Horgan could be certain Sims would be able to "clear the air."
"The premier in the house who says I don't want to talk about it, out in the hall tells reporters he has complete confidence in this minister. Well, no one else in British Columbia does," said Liberal MLA Michael de Jong in the chamber.
The Liberals also wanted to know if issues they previously raised in the house are part of the probe. They've asked for the results of an internal investigation they say was ordered by the premier and overseen by his chief of staff.
The government didn't budge.
"What will clear the air, is the conclusion of a police investigation and the findings of a special prosecutor, and that process is underway," said Attorney General David Eby.
The exit from cabinet was accompanied by another more permanent one – announced earlier in the day.
Andrew Weaver said he wouldn't run again in his riding, and that he'd asked the party to find a new leader to be in place during the summer of 2020. He said that would give his successor about a year to get up to speed before the next provincial election.
"I have no intentions of actually doing anything that would create instability of the present government," he added.