The Incredible E-gaming Records Disappearing Act
Bush Dumville: Do you feel confident that you know exactly what happened from the information that you did glean?
Jane MacAdam: No, I’m not confident that I received all relevant government records.
[Public Accounts Transcript, January 11, 2017, p. 2]
So everyone knows that the Auditor General (AG) couldn’t really do a proper and full investigation of e-gaming because the e-gaming records of at least three of the key players had been destroyed. There may have been more, but no one has investigated that issue.
When asked at a Standing Committee on Public Accounts meeting about how all those e-gaming records for those three people [Rory Beck; Melissa MacEachern; and Chris LeClair] could have happened, the AG explained that it was normal procedure for both the email accounts and electronic network files of employees to be deleted at some point after their departure from their positions, but she also explained that the real problem (and illegal activity) wasn’t the deletion of those accounts, it had to do with the fact that the electronic records were destroyed without “government records” first being copied and saved for archiving. As she put it:
“The issue is not so much that the accounts were removed. The issue is that when the accounts were removed there were records– government records– that were not retained.” [Public Accounts, January 11, 2017, p. 1]
Each of the three individuals (whose e-gaming records were destroyed) had left their government position, so government officials – including Premier MacLauchlan – claimed that normal procedures had been followed, but that somehow, through no malice or bad intent by anyone, the “ball got dropped” so-to-speak, and records were inadvertently and unfortunately deleted.
Of course that’s not true, but it has been difficult to explain to the public why, and it has also been difficult to find a clear-cut case of e-gaming records being destroyed without this confusing backstory about how accounts get deleted and files overwritten, blah, blah, blah, when employees leave their positions and all those confusing, complicated procedures to remove accounts aren’t perhaps followed correctly.
Enter Brad Mix.
Brad Mix is still working in his job and was a key e-gaming player from the get-go; yet his e-gaming records – which I’ve requested in an Access to Information Request – have mysteriously gone missing.
What happened to them? Well, I’ve asked the Information Commissioner to investigate this matter so hopefully we’ll eventually get an answer.
You may recall that I wrote a short article back on January 7, 2019 titled, “MacLauchlan Government Refuses to Produce Records in Access Request,” reporting how Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism – Mr. David Keedwell – provided me with only four (4) calendar entries as a response to my request for e-gaming documents from or to Brad Mix, despite my having subsequently obtained a significant number of e-gaming records that had been filed in the CMT lawsuit that should have been produced. That article contained a copy of a letter I submitted to the Information Commissioner, Karen Rose, which she acted upon immediately (as in, the very same day) by writing a detailed letter to Mr. Keedwell obliging him to respond to a series of pointed questions:
The Information Commissioner is great to keep all parties in the loop, and whatever one party submits to her gets copied and shared with the other party. As you can well imagine, I was eagerly awaiting a copy of Mr. Keedwell’s responses to the Commissioner’s questions due on February 4, 2019 (a Monday), so I was a bit surprised that I hadn’t heard anything from the Commissioner by February 8, 2018 (a Friday), so I called her office.
I was told that Mr. Keedwell had called the Commissioner on February 4 saying that he’d need a few more days. So I called again on the following Tuesday (February 12th) only to learn that Mr. Keedwell had again informed the Commissioner that he’d need a few more days. It was suggested that I call back on Friday (February 15th) which I did, but still nothing. I was assured it should be coming in from Keedwell anytime, probably that same day, so I said I’d call back at the beginning of this week, which I did, but still no response.
When I asked the Administrative Assistant what could be delaying a response to a few simple questions, all of which only had one simple, truthful answer (e.g., whatever happened, happened; whoever searched, searced; where they searched didn’t change, etc.) I was told that Mr. Keedwald apparently just wanted to be sure “dates” were correct, or something. Hmmm….. I see.
But not to worry: the response was coming within a day or two for sure (Monday or Tuesday of this week).
When I called earlier this afternoon I learned that Ms. Rose had contacted the Head of the Department today about the delay, and that it was expected there would be something arrive by 5pm today. And I just now got a call (3:24 pm) informing me that a response from has finally came in; however, the Commissioner’s has to review it Monday, so I’m not going to get a copy until end-of-day Monday. Stay tuned….I”ll share it with you next Tuesday.
Here’s my prediction: It will likely be a confusing, garbled attempt to circumvent the truth (which I trust the Information Commissioner won’t buy for a minute!) because there really are only two possible explanations as far as I can see, and they both involve breaking the law:
(1) They destroyed the records [remember, David Livingston did 4 months in jail for doing that in the Ontario government]; or
(2) they illegally withheld the records from me, pretending they didn’t exist, and hoping I wouldn’t find out they did.
Either way, it should be an interesting read.