At the february 1, 2017 meeting of the Public Accounts Committee PC Opposition MLA Steven Myers noted with some surprise:
“The last committee meeting, the last time this committee met, the auditor told us that Robert Ghiz had ordered the deletion of Chris LeClair’s email account and he [Scott Cudmore] might not have heard about it because the media didn’t cover it. It was a pretty significant find on our part that the Premier of Prince Edward Island ordered the email account deleted which meant that the records could no longer be found. When the auditor went looking she couldn’t find the emails because actually the account had been deleted at the hands of the Premier” (p. 88, My emphasis).
And neither the Guardian nor the CBC have ever reported this important information. In fact, as I outlined with considerable detail in What’s really behind the Guardian’s refusal to publish my e-gaming guest opinion, and A Guardian – Ghiz – E-gaming – Guest Opinion Update, all indications are that the Guardian remains committed to not reporting this information and making sure their readers don’t learn about it in any submitted Guest Opinions from people like me.
The official story concerning the missing e-gaming records from Premier MacLauchlan – since the time it was first learned that e-gaming records were not made available to the Auditor General investigating this matter – is that email accounts and e-gaming records were disposed of following normal government procedures. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have carefully explained in my more substantive Investigative Report on the Destruction of E-gaming Records.
I have since obtained a copy of the Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) “Employee Removal Request Form” which was completed by Robert Ghiz authorizing ITSS to delete Ghiz’s Chief-of-Staff’s Groupwise email account.
I believe this document proves unequivocally that Ghiz knew that the records were supposed to be kept but decided to destroy those records. Why do I believe that? Because Ghiz was provided with the option on that form to have the ITSS staff save and transfer documents within the Groupwise email account to a secure location, but consciously “opted” not to have them saved by putting an X in the “Yes” box in response to the Question: “Do you want the user’s Network Files deleted?” [see the first question on the top section] knowing they would be “deleted”.
Given Ghiz’s selection of that option on the form, the ITSS staff-person handling the request would clearly have assumed that any records that were legally-required to be kept – in accordance with the Records and Archives Act; Treasury Board Directives and government’s Record Information Management Policy – would have already been copied and “archived,” and that the records remaining in the email account would therefore not need to be retained. This was, in fact, the case – according to Scott Cudmore [Director of Enterprise Architecture, Information Technology Shared Services, ITSS] who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on February 1, 2017. In Mr. Cudmore’s own words:
“The actual process of deletion is mostly automatic and the assumption on the part of IT Shared Services at the time was that records had been retained according to records management policy” (Public Accounts Committee, February 1, 2017, p. 106)
Even though ITSS technicians were not directly responsible for record management per se, they were nonetheless aware of the legal requirement to retain important records, and ITSS had provided an option on the form offering to assist in the retention of records if required.
Even more shocking is the signed admission by Robert Ghiz near the bottom of the form that the only service he required from ITSS was the deletion of Chris LeClair’s email account, given that…
“Chris LeClair’s desktop has already been wiped…the only thing we want removed is his Groupwise Account. Thank you.”
It remains baffling to me and many others how neither Premier MacLauchlan, the Attorney General (Hon. Jordan Brown), nor the RCMP can’t see how this evidence constitutes reasonable grounds to lay a charge of “Attempt to Commit Mischief to Data,” contrary to s. 430(5)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
David Livingston, the Chief-of-Staff of the former Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, is currently serving a four (4) month sentence in jail for deleting select government records that should have been retained; Ghiz, on the other hand, employed a total “scorched earth” wipe-everything policy (he kept no hard copy e-gaming records of any kind for either Rory Beck or Chris LeClair as well) and there have been absolutely no consequences.
Little wonder why Islanders are losing faith in both the integrity of government officials and our policing system. I wonder what our justice system would say about this if someone was to initiate a private prosecution?
The PNP ladies tried to lay charges, no go, they to get an injunction to stop the shredding of documents, no go
Feels futile trying to get law enforcement and judges to act on crooked government and politicians, onus On complainant to prove the case not law enforcement
I am sure there is ample evidence to proceed with a full investigation of the activities of the Ghiz and the present day government ,in several areas . We know them all too well. Reports of the Auditor General and the Privacy Commissioner have left several issues hanging in the air. What is lacking is the bollocks by the media and opposition parties to pursue this matters with conviction.
Examples of what you have outlined here only lend more credibility and urgency , to the notion of having the office of Attorney General become an independent body of the legislative assembly, elected by the assembly and accountable to the assembly.
There seems to be a general lack of trustworthiness in the provincial Liberals whether they are in PEI or Ontario or, for that matter, any province. There’s this sense of entitlement and a dictatorial attitude toward the people that voted them in. What happened in Ontario with the Gas Plant scandal was nothing short of thievery of the taxpayers money and trust. Many more Ontario politicians from the time should be in jail. That situation has continued there (until recently) with Wynne’s cabinet and the sale (read theft) of Ontario Hydro (a publicly owned corporation). The public was given no vote nor asked their opinion regarding the sale. The Liberal parties in Canada, both Federal and Provincial, have been treating Canada like it is a third world country with a population that is easily hoodwinked with smoke and mirrors or cowed by expressions of political power. This needs to stop.
Here in PEI I see the same attitudes and the same general disrespect for the law and parliamentary rules. There absolutely has to be a consequence imposed on those politicians who blatantly break the law. To deny the voting public their ability to bring criminal politicians to justice is the beginning of a slippery slope towards what amounts to dictatorship.
Well said Warren!
Kevin, keep up the good work. I imagine Government wishes you would just go away, but you are holding them and the media to the fire. Good for you!
The fact the desktop was not ‘wiped’ by ITSS is suspect in itself as they are the group responsible for recycling hardware. Coming from the ranks of IT, myself, and having worked for both the Province and the Feds, this action does NOT pass the smell test and i’m quite surprised there has been no legal consequences. I suppose, in typical PEI fashion, everyone is waiting for the other guy to initiate the process with the result that no one will, and the politicos will continue to get away with these abuses. Justice, what justice?
The RCMP has no jurisdiction over crime committed entirely within the city limits of Charlottetown unless invited to participate a criminal investigation by Charlottetown Police Services. To the best of my knowledge C.P.S. has never launched a criminal investigation against any past or present provincial politician,
Furthermore, the Attorney General can refuse to prosecute a case, which essentially makes provincial politicians immune from prosecution, unless a citizen takes the matter into his/her own hands.
You are correct in suggesting that someone could initiate a private prosecution. This can be done by anybody who files a sworn Private Information with a Justice of the Peace in Provincial Court. I did exactly that in April 2015 by filing a sworn complaint that I had been defrauded of my property in Clearspring, Kings County by former Minister Ron MacKinley under false pretenses that my property was bisected by a “designated Non Essential Highway” called “Old Queens Road”, a road which literally does not exist, and a dummy provincial highway classification which does not exist in the Schedules of the Roads Act because a Non Essential Highway is a devious synonym for a private road on private land. http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/unmarked-road-scuttles-development-plans-94942/
However, Crown Attorney Cyndria L. Wedge then filed a court motion to cancel the hearing of my complaint by a provincial judge “to stop the prosecution of R.W.MacKinley.”, which was essentially a Crown v Crown Proxy prosecution since the crime was committed on behalf of the government of PEI.
When I persisted by filing a second sworn Private Information Ms. Wedge had a private consultation with Chief Judge John Douglas to inform him that it was the government’s ;position that my case was a civil “Land Dispute”. When the hearing commenced, Crown Attorney Wedge then filed a motion with the judge to clear the courtroom of all spectators and security personnel to prevent my case from becoming public knowledge. Crown Attorney Wedge then interrupted my testimony and misled the Judge with a falsified version of “alternative facts”.
The key to filing a sworn Private Information and getting a legitimate court hearing lies in taking along witnesses to attend the court hearing, and preventing the Crown Attorney from filing a motion to hold the hearing in camera and then interfering in your testimony to squelch your case.
This requires that the Judge recognizes the fact that the Crown Attorney is acting in violation of conflict of interest regulations which require the Crown Attorney to recuse himself/herself from a criminal case which involves a minister or former minister of the Crown. To the best of my knowledge no provincial judge in PEI has ever exercised his/her authority to recuse a Crown Attorney from interfering in a Crown v Crown Proxy prosecution.
The main problem for a citizen who files a sworn Private Information of this type is how easily it can be squelched by the government, and how willing the news media such as CBC or The Guardian is to suppress accusations of criminal misconduct against government officials.