Jinny Sims should be reappointed minister after having been vindicated

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PREMIER John Horgan should immediately reappoint MLA Jinny Sims as a minister as the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) confirmed on Friday that she has been cleared of all allegations of criminal wrongdoing,

On April 2, special prosecutor Richard Peck was informed by the RCMP that their investigation into the matter revealed no evidence to support any of the allegations made against Sims and that they had closed their investigation. As a result, Peck concluded that there was no further action to take with respect to the matter and concluded his involvement.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk appointed Peck as special prosecutor in the matter on October 4, 2019.

“As the matter concluded without recommendation of charges there will be no further comment or specific information released regarding the allegations by Mr. Peck or the BCPS,” the BCPS said.

ON October 4, 2019, Horgan announced that Sims had resigned as Citizen’s Services Minister after he had been advised by the Attorney General of the appointment of a special prosecutor for an RCMP investigation related to her.

Sims said in a statement at the time: “I offered my resignation as Minister of Citizens’ Services upon learning of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. I have not been given details of any allegations but there was no credibility to previous public allegations. I am confident that my name will be cleared but do not want to distract form the important work of government in the meantime.”

Indeed, it was a relentlessly vicious campaign that was launched against Sims by B.C. Liberal MLAs.

Even B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson joined that attack and stated at the time of Sims’ resignation: “The BC Liberals have raised countless questions for months about Jinny Sims’ conduct in government and in her community. This ranges from breaking FOI rules as the minister responsible, to her decision to write letters of immigration support for people on terrorist watch lists.”

He had added: “John Horgan continued to dismiss legitimate concerns and now he must answer for this complete failure of leadership on his part.”

Now the Wilkinson and his MLAs are looking pathetic. Expect them to find excuses to keep slamming Sims!

LAST year in May, The VOICE wrote: “Not making any headway in their sustained attack on Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims in regards to the allegations made against her by a former staffer who worked in her Surrey-Panorama constituency office for a couple of months, the BC Liberals on Wednesday forwarded those allegations to the RCMP.

“Liberal House Leader Mary Polak had alleged that Sims had been circumventing the Freedom of Information Act by avoiding her government email or phone and instead using her private email and WhatsApp to communicate official government business. She had also alleged that Sims wrote sponsorship letters for Pakistani citizens that were reportedly on a security watch list.”

Polak wrote to the RCMP: “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.”

Sims in a statement emailed to The VOICE at the time said: “If they actually had something credible, why didn’t the Opposition do this in the first place? 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.”

Earlier that month, Sims had said that allegations made against her by the former staffer were “completely untrue.”

In a statement, Sims said: “I follow the rules and best practices on records management and advise my staff to as well. I help people in our community because it is my job as a representative. I do not take money for it and I’m offended that anyone would suggest otherwise.

“This matter is related to a challenging HR situation regarding a former employee and due to privacy I can’t get into further details. When the letter was received in March after her employment had ended, the claims she made were reviewed and there was no evidence to support them. The issue was dealt with by Caucus as she was not a government employee.

“Ministers use their government account for government business and legislative account for legislative or constituency business. That is how the system is meant to work and that is what I explained to staff. That’s appropriate. I use my government email for government business and I do not use Whatsapp for government work.”

SIMS on Friday released the following statement:

“I’d like to thank the RCMP and Special Prosecutor for their fair and thorough investigation into these baseless accusations.

“Unfortunately, Andrew Wilkinson’s decision to promote these fabricated claims resulted in the unnecessary diversion of police time and resources.

“Every day, my focus remained on serving my constituents. I’m pleased that the RCMP has confirmed there is no evidence to support any of these claims.”