The first day of a new session of the legislature is usually a pretty low-key affair, but two major bombshells landed Monday that will rock the province for quite some time.
Scandal hit Premier John Horgan and the NDP like a brick wall when it was revealed that cabinet minister Jinny Sims was being forced to resign because she was now the focus of an RCMP investigation. Up until now, no member of Horgan’s cabinet had been shuffled out or walked the plank due to suspicious circumstances. But late Friday, a special prosecutor had been appointed to look into Sim’s activities as Minister of Citizens Services.
The RCMP is not revealing any details, but the Surrey MLA has been steeped in controversy for a number of questionable practices. In 2018, Sims had to apologize for using her personal email to circumvent B.C.’s Freedom of Information laws, even though she was the minister responsible for upholding those very same rules.
We will probably have to wait months before learning what charges Sims is now facing, but this is a major blow to a minority government.
The other shoe dropped when Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver suddenly announced he intends to step down as head of the party this summer, just two years after signing an agreement with Premier Horgan that put the NDP in charge of the province.
Although it’s a bit of an underwhelming announcement, as it’s like saying “I’m not running two years from now,” it was still news in a fragile legislature.
Although Weaver’s resignation was not completely unexpected since becoming the first Green MLA elected way back in 2013, you can bet Premier Horgan is feeling a little less secure knowing his trusty political sidekick is riding off into the sunset.
For now, Horgan’s fragile hold on power could stand until next fixed election date scheduled for October 16, 2021.
That is, of course, unless we have any more unexpected surprises coming out of the woodwork.
Just remember though, two years is a very long time in politics and anything can happen in the blink of an eye.
Dan Davies is the BC Liberal MLA for Peace River North.