Why I Keep Researching and Writing about E-gaming & the CMT Lawsuit
I receive a lot of private facebook messages and emails about the research I’m doing on e-gaming and the CMT lawsuit, and I really appreciate all the comments and feedback. A frequent question I get is: “Why are you still beating a dead horse?”
I’ve pondered how to respond to that question a lot, and I have given different answers to different people – there are many reasons. Bottom line: I don’t believe the horse is dead.
Before proceeding any further with my 25-part investigative series “Truth and No Consequences,” I thought I’d publish an essay with some of the information I’ve given to various people. I’ll discuss just two reasons here, which should be enough to explain why I feel compelled to keep punishing myself with this work.
Reason #1: E-gaming is not “Old News”
It’s easy to think of e-gaming as “old news”. Who doesn’t want it all to just go away? For example, CBC did a “yeah!….it’s over” news story on all platforms when Campbell issued his ruling dismissing the CMT law suit, but never reported when CMT filed a Notice of Appeal.
Islanders have been hearing about e-gaming for years now without getting much insight. It’s complicated and confusing, and Islanders are left not knowing who or what to believe so it’s easier to just forget about it – it’s “old news” – that point of view is valid and totally understandable. But here’s the thing: although what is going on today does indeed involve the past, the events and issues of real interest are happening in “real time” as the entire e-gaming scandal starts to unravel. As it does, the revelations will be more than “newsworthy.”
When was the last time a PEI resident had to get four Court Orders to force a new PEI Minority Government to release public documents being withheld for no legitimate legal reason? Never. Those Orders went into effect a couple of weeks ago. Paul Maines submitted several Access Requests because he knew there were documents in government files (or should be – many were destroyed) that should have been produced in Court by government’s Counsel, Jonathan Coady, and were not.
If the full truth doesn’t come out about what happened, and for some reason CMT is denied the Appeal and goes away; then no one will understandably ever want to think or speak of e-gaming again outside of a lecture in a PEI history course at UPEI. Things will carry on as usual; and therein lies the problem.
The many wrongdoings with this ongoing scandal and coverup need to be fully understood, and there has to be some consequences for those wrongdoings, some repair of the damage done to those wronged, and some changes to ensure this kind of thing can never happen in PEI again.
I don’t have the full story yet, but I have most of it, and it is shocking from start to finish. Keep in mind I have 17 more episodes. There’s also more Access documents that will be released soon.
It’s not that I’m obsessed with e-gaming and don’t have things I’d rather do with my time; but quite honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone else in a position to tell this story at the depth needed to expose the lies and reveal the truth – that is, as far as it can be revealed with well-organized facts from sworn documents or official government records – so I believe I have a moral obligation to keep doing this research and writing regardless of whether it ends up doing any good.
I put no importance on how many people read or like or share what I write, although I’d love to see as many Islanders as possible come to know what really happened . For that to eventually happen, it’s really only important that a core group of people with a legitimate interest (ethical lawyers, for example) or those with direct involvement (Islanders who chose to remain CMT Investors, for example) get to see a version of the facts in my investigative series other than the completely skewed one presented by Judge Campbell dismissing the case.
Reason # 2: Allowing the Destruction of Gov’t Records Subverts Democracy
In Ontario, the Chief-of Staff destroyed records and was sentenced to six months in jail – it’s a criminal offence, not just in Ontario, in Canada.
In PEI, the Premier destroys all his Chief-of-Staff’s records in a “scorched earth” approach and Judge Campbell calls it “standard practice”. Well it’s not standard practice, it’s criminal.
To get to that conclusion Campbell had to totally ignore every law, regulation, and policy within government that clearly and consistently declares that no one can destroy government records “legally” but the Provincial Archivist.
Procedures demand that electronic records are copied in accordance with the Archives and Records Act and Treasury Board Directives before ordering ITSS to delete all electronic records, which Ghiz did. I know this well because I charged Ghiz with a criminal offence last year (“mischief to data”) and prepared an extensive 60 page legal brief, which Judge Nancy Orr unfortunately – but not surprisingly – refused to allow to proceed.
Ghiz said in cross-examination that he didn’t read what he signed when he directed ITSS to destroy all those records, and that he had no idea what happened at ITSS after the form was sent from his office. Such sworn statements from a Premier are ridiculous and not believable.
Ghiz ordered his Chief-of-Staff’s email accounts and electronic files destroyed without first copying them having no idea what he was doing? Well, that sworn testimony was good enough for Judge Campbell. He referred to what Ghiz did as “Standard Practice,” cherry-picking a quotation from the Auditor General’s report and misinterpreting what she intended by the word “remove” (i.e., Access can be removed when accounts are “disabled,” but the emails and documents remain intact; whereas ordering an account to be “deleted” – what Ghiz did – before ensuring the records are first copied was most definitely illegal.
In contrast to Campbell’s opinion on destroying government records, read what Judge Lipson said in his ruling regarding how public officials destroying government records subverts democracy, which was, in his mind, “the most serious aggravating factor in the case” leading to his 6-month jail sentence:
It can’t be allowed that such enmasse destruction of government records by a Premier is dismissed as insignificant and accepted as “standard practice” with government record-management and carries no consequences. As Lipson states so eloquently, the public have a right to expect the “court’s protection” to establish confidence that our government and judicial institutions are operating independently and democratically. That’s another reason I continue the work.
Like I said at the outset, there are many reasons to continue with this research, but my essay is already getting too long. But know this: the e-gaming story is really only beginning to be told. Things are unravelling. More and more of the truth is coming out. And the story is not pretty. Like a cancer diagnosis, it’s not easy or fun to hear, but if things are ever to change, Islanders need to step up and swallow that pill.
Regarding the seemingly perennial problem of secret deals and insider circles abusing power for personal gain in PEI, I’m convinced that if this e-gaming scandal is allowed to somehow just “go away,” then the hope that PEI will ever put an end to this embarrassing legacy of corruption and cover-up will die on the same hill as e-gaming.
Let’s be clear, there’s proven false sworn claims in affidavits; insider trading; countless lies in cross-examination transcripts; and an ongoing investigation into the missing e-gaming records of Brad Mix by the Information Commissioner; not to mention an imminent filing at the PEI Court of Appeal by CMT that will include all of the new “Court-Ordered” documents not made public before.
No, I am most definitely not beating a dead horse – the most explosive information is yet to come out. What was Government hiding? Who ordered the “code red”?
Trust me, we will find out soon!