In the interest of full disclosure

Last week, Public Eye reported "in a frank and admirably honest interview" provincial New Democrat Vancouver-Kensington nomination candidate Kelly Quinn disclosed she was convicted of assaulting a police officer 23 years ago. Rumours about Ms. Quinn's criminal record have been circulating as part of what appears to be a whisper campaign against the labour organizer, who is running in a tightly-contested race. But Public Eye has since learned, via an anonymous posting on this site and party insiders, that Ms. Quinn failed to mention she was convincted of another offense.

Speaking to us today, Ms. Quinn confirmed, when she was 19, she served 30 days in jail after being found guilty on a theft charge. Ms. Quinn said she was charged after being caught shoplifting a leather jacket worth over $500.

"It's clearly obvious that I had several rough years in my mid-teens and early twenties, as the criminal record demonstrates. And this incident was part of it. And, of course, I regret it. It was stupid. And it was 24 years ago," said Ms. Quinn, 43.

When asked why she didn't disclose the convinction during her first interview with Public Eye, an emotional Ms. Quinn said, "I'm really uncomfortable with all of this. Because, for one, I've applied for a pardon. And once that's through, the record is sealed. So I'm really feeling like this is unfair on a lot of levels."

"But I was scared. I figured we could put it to rest - the fact that I had a criminal record - by divulging what you asked. And I thought that would get rid of it. But clearly I made a mistake on that one as well."

"I've worked hard for 20 something years now. And all of that is being put aside for a couple things I did as a teenager in my early twenties. And I guess that's what really bothers me. Because I've done a lot for my community and a lot more for people than what happened in those young years. So I'm really hurt by this."

Ms. Quinn added there was nothing else to disclose. The Vancouver-Kensington constituency association holds its nomination meeting tomorrow.

8 Comments

This thread had so motivated me to want to take up politics, just for others alone to remind me of exactly what went on in my life some 20 years ago. It would be a trip down memory lane.

Quote of the day: And all of that is being put aside for a couple things I did as a teenager in my early twenties.

Me thinks Ms. Quinn would fit in better with the Liberals.

No, I don't think Ms. Quinn would fit in better with the libs. They have been up to all sorts of bad business inside the statutes of limitations. I have no idea of who Ms. Quinn is, but I don't like seeing anyone having their name dragged through the mud for their youth, (and believe me, many people in their twenties are teenagers). Even GW Bush's youthful cocaine indiscretions really have little to do with why people should have voted against that maniac. I'm not at all naive about the Machevalian elements in politics, and I love good gossip too, but this kind of thing is why many good people are discouraged from getting involved in politics at all, to all of our loss. As the man said, "let he who has not sinned...."

Youthful cocaine indiscretions are far different from assaulting police officers and or shoplifting. You can clearly differentiate between those criminal offences that cause personal harm (cocaine) from those that cause public harm (assaulting the police and theft): a fairly clean line between personal weakness or indulgence and callous disregard for others. BTW, the Premier's drunk driving skirts very close to the line, falling, in the end, to evidencing disregard for others' safety.

What bullshit, the woman had a couple of bad years. She broke the law and paid her time. 20 odd years later, she has dedicated her life to progressive politics and since 2001 has been one of the few who stayed true to the NDP and worked hard to rebuild it. So she chooses to run for a nomination and discloses to all the right people her mistakes 20 years old. In the last week of the campaign (against other NDPers) it is too close to call, and suddenly Sean Hollman gets postings and "whispers" about a dark past for Kelly Quinn. I say again, bullshit. The only one with anything to be ashamed of is whichever of her opponents is trying to burry Kelly in the last week cause they can't win on their own merrit.

At the end of the say this is a very simple matter. She should have disclosed all up front and few would have cared. Instead she tried to cherry pick what she told the public and got her hand slapped for it.

MLA is not a great position to run for if there are things in your past you don't wish to talk about.

I don't know anything about Quinn personally one way or another, but her political judgement and that of her associates would appear to be fairly poor.

In today's world, with Premier Campbell's drunk driving convicition still on people's minds, plus the Dave Basi-Bob Virk-BC Rail-drugs-bribery-BC Liberals-Canada Liberals Scandal still unfolding, it was a bit naive to think that she could have avoided a full disclosure.

If her chances are harmed it's not by a twenty year old mistake, for which she has paid the penalty. Its for very recent poor judgement in the game of politics, a clear indication that she isn't mentally prepared for the adversarial environment of elective politics.

The difference between Kelly Quinn and my adolescence - and dare I say lots and lots of other people - is that she was caught for an indiscretion. I would also suggest that those critics who scream the loudest have probably got a skeleton or two in their closet.
On the other hand she didn't come clean quickly
when publicly confronted, and this shows a lack of good judgement. I want my nominee to be upfront at all times.

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