Ten days before the provincial election was called (March 15, 2019), I predicted that Wade MacLauchlan would set the election for Tuesday, April 23rd, despite the PEI Election Act stipulating that elections are normally held on a Monday.
A lot of people have since asked me how I was able to guess the election date. It wasn’t hard: there really wasn’t any other way the Premier could avoid having very damaging information against the former Ghiz government – and his cover-up of the e-gaming scandal – become public on a grand scale before Islanders go to the polls.
Local media and political reporters such as Stu Neatby and Kerry Campbell are pretty much obligated to do stories on actual court proceedings like the CMT lawsuit once “court is in session,” and I’m certain a number of revelations will become public during the four days of hearings on the original defendant’s “Motions to Dismiss” – scheduled to be heard April 23-27, 2019. But what have we heard from the media on e-gaming since the writ was dropped? Nothing.
I was especially surprised that on the impromptu CBC political panel segment on Compass the day after the election was called, neither Rick MacLean nor Paul MacNeil so much as mentioned the upcoming e-gaming court dates when asked why the Premier would set such an early election date. Both stated they expected him to wait until the scheduled opening of the house on April 2nd, so he could present a budget and gain a significant advantage and head-start in the election campaign for his Party. Both agreed that the April 23rd date for an election made no political sense, but they just couldn’t bring themselves to utter the words “e-gaming scandal.”
But here’s the thing: the lion’s share of the new information and arguments that will be presented to the judge on election day and the following three days – after we’ve already chosen a new government will be available to the public before the actual court hearing takes place. The problem is, without the local media reporting on that information, Islanders won’t know what that information will be.
In my article, PEI Election April 23rd as I predicted: I Would Have Preferred to have been Wrong! I noted the following:
I will be checking daily for the cross-examination transcripts and factums likely to be filed with the court in advance of the court hearing in early April – making them public documents and giving me (and hopefully all media political reporters) a couple of weeks to report on what those documents contain.
What I have since discovered is that all factums and related material were due to be filed yesterday (Friday, April 5, 2019) and will be available to the public early next week.
Given the amount of Liberal ads presently flowing into local media outlets on a daily basis, I suppose it was predictable that Liberal scandals like e-gaming would take a back seat, with the torrent of advertising revenue that comes only once every four years. And there’s certainly no shortage of other election and campaign news to report. But not reporting on e-gaming at this critical juncture represents a significant journalistic failure in my opinion, and can only be characterized as a massive disservice to Islanders.
I will be publishing the remaining two segments of my four-part e-gaming series “A Conspiracy to Commit Fraud,” before election day, as well as additional articles from new information contained in the Factums and Cross-examination transcripts (when they’re finally filed and available). But to be honest, what I publish on my blog is unlikely to reach more than a few thousand Islanders, and all voting Islanders should have access to important information and news about the past actions of the Ghiz and MacLauchlan Liberal governments that may affect how they vote on election day.
Hopefully, revelations contained in my articles will finally break the spell that’s keeping reporters with local media from publicly uttering the words “e-gaming scandal” during the election campaign.
The full truth about e-gaming is destined to eventually come out and become a national media story…of that I’m certain: it would only be fitting that Islanders heard it first from our local media.
To sum up: These upcoming court dates are not the “trial”: they are dealing with several motions which aim to throw out the CMT lawsuit as a “slanderous, frivolous and vexatious” legal action. Such a claim is ludicrous, and to me these motions were filed nearly a year ago for one and only one reason: to delay the real case – the trial – from happening until the Liberal government could take another shot at getting re-elected and securing another four years of governance.
If you want to hear a different opinion about the PEI e-gaming story than the dismissive one the Liberals have been telling, listen to the following award-winning podcast out of Ottawa from a few months ago, featuring Canada’s top investigative reporter, Robyn Doolittle, and the Guardian’s own Stu Neatby. It’s especially fascinating to hear Neatby speak candidly about e-gaming corruption and fraud in this podcast; comments I have yet to read in Guardian articles.
[Head’s up: There are a couple of annoying advertisements in this podcast, so be patient – the rest of the material is worth it! If you move the cursor to start at 3:05 you’ll skip the biggest ad at the beginning]