Pubdate: Wed, 30 Nov 2005
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2005, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Rod Mickleburgh


Sullivan, Who'll Be Police Board Chairman, Once Gave Addicts Money To Buy Drugs

Vancouver Police Chief Jamie Graham is defending his decision to ask 
the RCMP to review incidents from mayor-elect Sam Sullivan's past in 
which he gave money to addicts to buy illegal drugs.

Talking to reporters yesterday, Mr. Graham said he was unsure whether 
a conflict might exist between Mr. Sullivan's actions and his future 
role as chairman of the Vancouver Police Board, a post traditionally 
filled by the city's mayor.

After talking it over with the province's conflict commissioner, the 
Vancouver police chief decided to submit the matter to the RCMP to investigate.

During the mayoral campaign, it came to light that, about seven years 
ago, Mr. Sullivan had provided money to a prostitute for several 
weeks to allow her to buy drugs without having to go back on the street.

In another incident years later, Mr. Sullivan gave money to a drug 
addict to purchase crack cocaine and watched him smoke it in his van.

Chief Graham denied that his decision to pass the issue on to the 
RCMP was political, saying he had no choice as head of the Vancouver 
Police Department.

"I thought it would be prudent to have a careful look at this, 
because of the possible conflict with the Vancouver police and Mr. 
Sullivan as the possible future chair of the police board," the 
police chief said.

"I thought that might warrant an outside agency to look at this."

Mr. Sullivan has apologized for both incidents, explaining that he 
was simply trying to understand the street culture of hard-core drug addicts.

The RCMP confirmed on Monday that Chief Graham had asked them to 
probe what spokesman Sergeant John Ward called "the self-allegations 
by Mr. Sullivan."

At this point, however, it is not a formal police investigation, but 
a review to determine the facts of the case and whether further 
action is warranted.

Mr. Sullivan has been a member of city council, representing the 
conservative NPA party, since 1993.

Yesterday, his wheelchair surrounded by reporters, Mr. Sullivan 
lashed out at the sudden controversy over his past, noting that 
voters knew about the incidents when they narrowly elected him mayor.

"I've had a full public review on all these matters. It was called 
the election campaign," he said.

"It's been very difficult and I just want to get on with being mayor. 
I've got a lot of work to do, and this is really an annoyance 
preventing me from doing what I was elected to do."

Mr. Sullivan will be sworn in as the city's new mayor on Monday.

Meanwhile, outgoing mayor Larry Campbell revealed that he wrote 
recently to provincial Solicitor-General John Les, asking whether it 
was appropriate for Mr. Sullivan to sit on the police board, if elected.

Mr. Campbell, now a federal Liberal senator, said he received no reply.

Mr. Campbell, who strongly supported rival mayoral candidate Jim 
Green, also sought a legal opinion on whether Mr. Sullivan's actions 
might have violated the Criminal Code.

Vancouver lawyer Leo McGrady said, "In my opinion, there are 
reasonable grounds for believing that in these circumstances, the 
offence of aiding possession of a narcotic has been committed."

For his part, Mr. Sullivan was outraged by news of Mr. Campbell's 
involvement in the matter.

"He wrote a letter to the Solicitor-General in the middle of an 
election campaign. He brought it up in the media," the mayor-elect said.

"I question whether that was appropriate, when he [Mr. Campbell] was 
so clearly advocating for Jim Green and against me."

Mr. Campbell retorted that his action only looks suspect to Mr. Sullivan.

"From my point of view, I didn't do anything. Sam admitted what he 
did. So the question remains: Is he qualified to sit on the police 
board with that kind of a background?"

Despite his obvious annoyance, Mr. Sullivan wasn't above cracking a joke.

"You've got intrigue, conspiracy theories, cabals, prostitution and 
drugs. And they thought I'd be a boring mayor."
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