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Elections BC warned Heed he could lose seat

Faced with losing his seat in the legislature, former Solicitor General Kash Heed has applied to the Supreme Court of B.C. to be excused from filing an updated election financing report.

In a Dec. 23, 2010 petition to the court, which the NDP opposition circulated to reporters today, Heed said he trusted his campaign team including financial agent Satpal Johl to look after his campaign finances.

"Since I am unable to compel Mr. Johl to file a supplementary report and I personally have no information on which to base a supplementary report, nor would I be able to verify such information if it were given to me due to my lack of involvement in the financial aspects of the campaign, I am seeking to be relieved of this responsibility," Heed said in the petition.

Elections B.C., the independent government agency that oversees provincial elections, notified Johl in a June 15, 2010, letter copied to Heed that a supplementary report was needed, according to an affidavit sworn Jan. 6, 2011 by Nola Western, Elections B.C.'s assistant chief electoral officer.

The report became necessary after an RCMP investigation found brochures targeting the NDP that should have been claimed as an election expense had not been. Heed's campaign manager Barinder Sall and two others were charged criminally in May, 2010, but Heed was not.

The file has since been given to a second special prosecutor to consider after the first, Terrence Robertson, resigned citing a conflict of interest as his law firm had donated to Heed's campaign.

The investigation led to an Elections B.C. audit of Heed's campaign expenses that showed "that the total campaign period election expenses for the Kash Heed campaign were $74,135.70, which was in excess of the legislated spending limit of $70,000."

By Dec. 2, 2010 the supplementary report was yet to be filed and acting chief electoral officer Craig James wrote to Heed, "Should you fail to comply with the provisions of the Act or fail to seek to obtain Court relief therefrom, within the extension period, then without further notice I will feel compelled to forthwith present a report to the Speaker informing him that you have ceased to hold office and that your seat has thereby become vacant."

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

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