Under a Cloud

John Nicol August 30 1999

Under a Cloud

John Nicol August 30 1999

Under a Cloud

In February, 1956, Robert Sommers resigned as British Columbia’s lands and forests minister, and two years later became the first cabinet minister in the British Commonwealth to be jailed for corruption in office after he was convicted of accepting bribes.

A brief chronology of more recent B. C. provincial scandals :

March, 1987—Premier Bill Vander Zalm fires Forests Minister Jack Kempf over alleged misuse of office expenses.

September, 1989—Tourism Minister Bill Reid resigns after it was learned he tried to divert more than $250,000 to a company owned by his campaign manager.

March 29, 1991— Vander Zalm steps down as leader because of a conflict I of interest in the ^ $ 16-million sale of S' his Fantasy Gardens theme park in Vancouver. He is alleged to have accepted $20,000

from Taiwanese billionaire Tan Yu. (In September, 1991, he is charged with criminal breach of trust, but is cleared of those charges.)

May, 1992—An investigation begins into the NDP-linked Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society. Nicknamed Bingogate, the issue dogs Premier Mike Harcourt, and later Premier Glen Clark for the next seven years.

April, 1995—Harcourt fires government services commissioner Robin Blencoe over allegations of sexual harassment.

May, 1995—Environment Minister Moe Sihota resigns from the cabinet when the Law Society of British Columbia suspends him for 18 months for allowing clients to invest with his father, a developer mired in a money-losing venture. November, 1995—Harcourt announces he will resign after the so-called Bingogate scandal in which charity funds were improperly diverted to NDP coffers. In February,

1996, Glen Clark becomes premier. August, 1996—Former premier Bill Bennett (1975-1986) and his brother Russell are found guilty of

ä insider trading in the 1988 sale of shares in Doman Industries, a I forest products firm, o The B.C. Securities S' Commission bans the former premier from trading in securities for 10 years.

December, 1996—Sihota resigns from cabinet again, this time as education minister, after revelations that he lobbied for an airport limousine licence on behalf of federal B.C. Liberal Herb Dhaliwal. Sihota subsequently returned to cabinet for a third time.

March, 1999—The RCMP raid Clark’s home, searching for evidence that the premier accepted a bribe in return for helping a neighbour, Dimitrios Piladnos, in his efforts to obtain a casino licence.

June, 1999—Former B.C. finance minister and NDP party president Dave Stupich pleads guilty to fraud for diverting Bingogate money to the NDP

August 21,1999—Clark resigns as premier.

John Nicol