MLA Jinny Sims has resigned from cabinet following the appointment of a special prosecutor, B.C.’s premier announced Friday.
Sims is the subject of an RCMP investigation and has left her post as the minister of citizens’ services, according to a statement from Premier John Horgan.
“I accepted her resignation as appropriate under the circumstances. We take any such investigation very seriously,” Horgan said.
“While we await the conclusion of the matter, I have asked Minister Selina Robinson to temporarily assume responsibility as minister of citizens’ services.”
In a written statement, Sims said she does not have any details against the allegations against her, “but there was no credibility to previous public allegations. I am confident that my name will be cleared but do not want to distract from the important work of government in the meantime.”
Sims was first elected as MLA for Surrey-Panorama in the 2017 provincial election.
‘British Columbians should be appalled’
The subject of the probe has yet to be confirmed. The B.C. Prosecution Service isn’t releasing any details about the investigation, but a spokesperson said prominent Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck has been named as special prosecutor.
But Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson wrote in a statement that “British Columbians should be appalled” by the news.
“The fault lies at the feet of John Horgan and he needs to immediately explain to British Columbians why a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate an NDP minister,” Wilkinson said.
Watch: B.C. Liberal leader says Sims resignation should have happened months ago
“The BC Liberals have raised countless questions for months about Jinny Sims’ conduct in government and in her community. This ranges from breaking [Freedom of Information] rules as the minister responsible, to her decision to write letters of immigration support for people on terrorist watch lists”.
Earlier this year, the B.C. Liberals requested a police investigation into a series of allegations made by a former constituency assistant in Sims’ office.
Kate Gillie — who was fired after working for Sims for six weeks — claimed the minister had inappropriately mixed her constituency and ministerial duties in a number of ways. That includes allegations that Sims wrote visa reference letters for foreign nationals on a security watch list.
This spring, B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong alleged in question period that Sims wrote the letters “in exchange for money.”
Sims has denied money was ever discussed or that the individuals donated to her campaign. Sources told CBC News that Sims didn’t see the letter before it was sent and an auto signature was used, but that she was making sure the error would not be repeated.