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Heed staying in cabinet despite tainted process

Solicitor General Kash Heed is staying in cabinet, even though the special prosecutor who yesterday exonerated him today withdrew from the case saying his law firm donated to Heed's campaign.

“My reaction is the same as my reaction earlier,” said Heed, speaking with reporters in his Solicitor General's office this evening. “It was reviewed by an independent special prosecutor. The findings exonerated me and I'm living by that right now and we are ready to move forward.”

A few hours earlier Premier Gordon Campbell had reappointed him saying he had been cleared in a report by special prosecutor Terrence Robertson.

Robertson has since withdrawn from the case, saying his firm Harper Grey LLP donated $1,000 to Heed's campaign.

Heed declined to comment on whether the process that exonerated him was tainted.

“We have a tainted investigation, in terms of the special prosecutor and the revelations that came up today, and we have a tainted exoneration,” said NDP critic Mike Farnworth. “As far as I'm concerned the premier has no choice but to reverse his decision and Mr. Heed must be out of cabinet immediately.”

Once a special prosecutor is appointed, the new person will have to review the entire process from the beginning, he said. “The fact of the matter is the special prosecutor who exonerated him is a donor to the B.C. Liberal Party.”

“It's frustrating you know,” said Attorney General and Liberal house leader, Mike de Jong. “I'm angry. We have an independent process everyone relies on.”

He said he had spoken with premier Campbell, who is disappointed but keeping Heed in cabinet. “We're going to rely on that report, we have relied on that report,” he said.

Still, de Jong criticized the process that reinstated him. “I have no hesitation telling you that you don't appoint someone to investigate a matter when a firm they're associated with has made a donation to a campaign that is the very subject of the investigation.”

Harper Grey and Harper Grey Easton have given $24,170 to the B.C. Liberal Party and its candidates since 2005, according to Elections B.C.'s donations database.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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