Paul Maines shared a letter with me that he recently received from the Premier’s Office as a final response to his FOIPP request for records from former Premier Robert Ghiz. The response he received now answers a question I unsuccessfully tried to answer over a year ago:

Did someone delete former Premier Robert Ghiz’s most sensitive emails and government records?

The answer is “Yes” – however, nothing much else is known at this point beyond the confirmation that a request for what should have returned hundreds – if not thousands -of documents came back “No Records Found.”

I’ll provide the details on Maines’ recent request for Ghiz documents, but first I want to tell the story of how my own efforts to answer this same question a year ago were ultimately frustrated by Paul Ledwell in the Premier’s office, who failed to undertake the search I had requested, which is explained below.

I did learn one important thing from that largely fruitless effort though: Premier Wade MacLauchlan had authorized the deletion of all of Ghiz’s electronic files and emails just days after being elected Premier in May 2015.

Ghiz gave sworn testimony in cross-examination about his decision to authorize the deletion of all of Chris LeClair’s files and emails, claiming that he never made that decision, despite signing the form.

This is a good time to remind ourselves that ONLY the Provincial Archivist and her staff at the Provincial Archives and Records Office (PARO) have the legal authority to destroy government records. As Premier, Robert Ghiz must surely have known that it was the responsibility of the Record Management Liason Officer (RMLO) in his office to manage the disposition of all documents in the Premier’s Office, which was all clearly mapped out in Treasury Board Directives and Departmental policy.

As LeClair’s supervisor, Robert Ghiz was the ONLY person authorized to make the decision to send instructions to Information Technology and Shared Services (ITSS) to remove and/or delete LeClair’s electronic records and accounts – hence Robert Ghiz’s signature on LeClair’s Employee Removal Form. Yet Ghiz swore that he didn’t “tick” the boxes on that form that told ITSS staff to delete all the files, emails and accounts. How did Ghiz explain his actions?

Ghiz’s story was that his assistant apparently decided to destroy all of Chris LeClair’s files and email documents on her own, without first copying them in accordance with the law. When she executed this strategy, she used Ghiz’s computer (so he says) but apparently failed to inform Premier Ghiz what she was doing when she asked Premier Ghiz to sign that one-page form. Ghiz said he signed that form without reading it, because he trusted his employees, and that he didn’t know that his signing that form would result in the destruction of all of his Chief of Staff’s electronic emails and Network files.

Ghiz has never answered for how all of LeClair’s “paper” documents also went missing and how could he swear in his Cross-examination that he had no idea who “wiped” LeClair’s desktop computer when that very statement was the only note in the Comments field on LeClair’s Employee Removal Form that Ghiz signed, about an inch above his signature.

Ghiz’s elimination of LeClair’s files would prove useless in the coverup strategy in the long run if Ghiz’s own electronic and paper files on those same secret projects remained intact. My suspicion that my search for egaming and FMT-related files in Ghiz’s records would ultimately prove fruitless was not without grounds.

When I filed a FOIPP, I was contacted and told there were “18 boxes” of paper records, but no electronic records, so FOIPPs would need to be done manually. Section 3 below deals with my subsequent attempt to get paper Ghiz records on egaming and CMT/FMT-related matters.

What we now know for sure is that for the 6 month period leading up to his abrupt exit from the PEI Government:

  1. LeClair had engaged in “insider trading” with an egaming investment, which he first denied in Court filings, then later admitted;
  2. LeClair was a “Contact person” on the Innovation PEI “Virgin Gaming/FMT” Project team at Innovation PEI, the same project which LeClair had invested in; and
  3. LeClair was not only a member of the Virgin Gaming/FMT project team but also the conduit of communication between the team members and Premier Ghiz on the FMT/Simplex initiative.

There is not a SINGLE document exchanged between Chris LeClair and Robert Ghiz [the Chief of Staff and his Premier] for at least the entire 6 month period prior to LeClair’s exit from government, or any document that even mentions LeClair.

That’s essentially the punchline for this article. The rest provides background detail and documentary evidence showing: (1) how former Premier Maclauchlan destroyed all Ghiz’s electronic records, and (2) how it is now confirmed that untold numbers of official Government Ghiz records were either never copied for archiving, or were destroyed after they were copied.

I’ve broken the material into the following four sections:

  1. A Chronology Leading to the Destruction of Ghiz’s Electronic Records
  2. Considerations on the Deletion of Ghiz’s Electronic Records
  3. My failed FOIPP attempt to obtain Ghiz Paper Records
  4. Maines’ Successful FOIPP Proving Missing Paper Records


1. A Chronology Leading to the Destruction of Ghiz’s Electronic Records

It’s important to situate MacLauchlan’s destruction of Ghiz’s electronic records within the proper historical and chronological context. There were lots of key events happening in late 2014 – 2015 that I’m sure most Islanders would remember being in the news, including:

  1. The surprise resignation of Ghiz in late 2014;
  2. The equally surprising coronation of MacLauchlan as the Liberal leader;
  3. The release of the CMT investigative report exonerating Maines and CMT;
  4. The publication of the Globe and Mail exposé on the e-gaming scandal,
  5. The election of MacLauchlan as Premier;
  6. The abrupt resignation of Wes Sheridan from the new MacLauchlan Liberal government, and;
  7. The immediate request by Premier MacLauchlan to the Auditor General to undertake an investigative audit of e-gaming, including the relationship the government had with CMT and Simplex, resulting in an “it’s before the Auditor General” non-response from the government to all e-gaming questions for the following year and a half.

Putting events in a timeline helps to grasp “what” likely contributed to “what” in the dynamic sequence of events, so let’s start at the beginning:

October 24, 2014 – Former RCMP officer and Private Investigator, Bruce MacDonald, sends a letter to Wes Sheridan, then Minister of Finance under Robert Ghiz, along with an executive summary of his completed Investigative Report (over 2,000 pages with the attachments) which revealed that Minister Sheridan…

“…was in possession of sufficient knowledge to inform either Mr. Hasmi, Mr. Curran or Mr. Dowling of the legitimate business dealings of CMT and their representatives. Such information could and should have prevented the needless investigation by the PEI Securities Commission.”

November 13, 2014 –– Robert Ghiz abruptly announces his resignation as Premier of PEI;

November 14, 2014 – Bruce MacDonald releases his Investigative Report to the media and general public, exonerating CMT and completely refuting any grounds or factual basis for the pernicious rumour that Paul Maines had bilked an old woman dying of cancer out of her life’s savings;

February 21, 2015 – Wade MacLauchlan is appointed Leader of the Liberal Party and Premier of Prince Edward Island. Robert Ghiz officially resigns.

February 21 – March 3, 2015 – Within 10 days of becoming Premier, Wade MacLauchlan “… had a meeting with the public archivist, Jill MacMicken-Wilson…and was given a complete briefing on the regime and the protocols regarding official records.”

February 24, 2015 – Wade MacLauchlan removes Wes Sheridan as Cabinet Minister and Sheridan resigns as an MLA the same day;

February 27, 2015 – The Globe and Mail published the results of its extensive investigation into the e-gaming scandal in PEI: “Small island, big bet: How PEI lost its online gambling gamble.”

March 4, 2015 – Premier Maclauchlan sends the controversial e-gaming file to the Auditor General for review;

Early March 2015 – Then PC Leader Rob Lantz sends a letter to Premier MacLauchlan demanding that he release all “e-gaming records.” He receives no response;

April 6, 2015 – Premier MacLauchlan launches an election campaign. The e-gaming scandal, concerns about government corruption, and a lack of openness, transparency, and accountability are prominent issues in the election campaign;

April 9, 2015 – CMT files a $25-Million lawsuit against government officials, including Chris LeClair, Robert Ghiz’s Chief of Staff. Jonathan Coady, legal counsel for the PEI government, files the government’s “Statement of Defense” just hours later, denying virtually all allegations.

April 13, 2015 – PC Leader Rob Lantz goes public about the letter he sent to Premier Wade MacLauchlan more than a month earlier demanding that he now release all “e-gaming records,” including thousands of e-gaming documents that had been “sealed” by the PEI Securities Commission;

May 24, 2015 – Wade MacLauchlan appoints Brian Douglas (Deputy Minister of Agriculture at the time) as Clerk of Executive Council;

May 29, 2015Brian Douglas signs the Employee Removal Form instructing ITSS to delete all Robert Ghiz’s files in his Network Drives and emails in his GroupWise email account.

2. Considerations on the Deletion of Ghiz’s Electronic Records

Normally, an “Employee Removal Form” is completed immediately after individuals cease to be employees of the PEI government. This is because it is necessary to ensure that they no longer have access to network drives and email accounts. However, record management laws and policies strictly forbid the “deletion” of these files and government records until such time as they are copied and/or otherwise protected and preserved.

Premier MacLauchlan had been thoroughly briefed on this matter. He informed the Legislative Assembly (November 30, 2016, p. 1933) that he was made fully aware of the laws and procedures governing record management and retention by the Provincial Archivist, Jill MacMicken-Wilson:

Premier acknowledges knowledge fo record management briefing

The normal “procedure” that is followed when ITSS is initially contacted and asked to ensure that employees who have left their jobs can no longer access their accounts is for them to simply “disable” the accounts, leaving the files of those employees (especially more senior-level bureaucrats and elected officials ) fully intact. In this way, new employees filling those positions can be given “proxy” access to those accounts so they can then access all the files and emails they’ll need to carry on with projects, discover what has already been done on files, etc.

This normal process was explained to members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts by Scott Cudmore, head of Information Technology Shared Services (ITSS) on February 15, 2017, as follows:

Scott Cudmore: “When we disable an account, what that means technically, is that no one in the email system will have access to that account except for a system administrator of GroupWise themselves, or we have another special type of access called a proxy. All a proxy is, is it allows somebody else other than the previous owner or the owner of the account to gain access to that account. When the account is disabled, you can no longer send email, you can no longer – sorry, you can only read the email. One of the reasons why a department would want to have that proxy access is in a transition of responsibilities, for example, where emails were used to conduct business. If somebody leaves, somebody else comes along and takes their place, replaces them, it’s often necessary for that individual who’s replacing the person to have that access to those emails. When an email account is disabled, it can always be re-enabled and restored. In other words, disabling the account does not remove any email.”

The files and emails in Network or email accounts which are only “disabled” remain fully intact FOREVER and are not automatically “deleted” after one year, as the former Liberal Minister responsible for the Public Archives and Records Office (PARO), Doug Currie, indicated when he misled members of the Legislative Assembly in response to a question concerning normal record management procedures (see: Hansard Transcript, December 1, 2016, p. 1629].

Premier MacLauchlan did the same thing several weeks later when he misled Islanders in his 2016 year-end interviews with both the Guardian and CBC (see for example: “From Donald Trump to the Hells Angels: Wade MacLauchlan on 2016,” CBC, December 29, 2016).

Scott Cudmore clarified these matters for members of the Public Account Committee on February 1, 2017, by explaining that: “Currently, we have about 10,000 active users in our email system and we have about 4,000 disabled accounts” [Transcript; p. 99] and later during the same meeting, reiterated that same claim, clarifying that the emails in those 4,000 disabled accounts were still intact and accessible: “I’d mentioned there were 4,000 disabled accounts so that their emails are still available” [Transcript; p.103].
How is it that a person with a background in environmental technology and agriculture gets appointed to be the Clerk of Executive Council on a Sunday, then signs a form instructing ITSS to delete all of Robert Ghiz’s electronic network files, documents and emails just five (5) days later?

Given the sheer gravity of that decision, it is not reasonable to assume that he made that decision without direction and authorization from Premier MacLauchlan.

Ghiz Employee Removal Form.jpg

Given the obvious importance of so many of the issues, documents, and files in which Premier Ghiz would have been involved right up to the time Wade MacLauchlan was elected Premier – not least of which was PNP and the “e-gaming” file, which was at that time a matter before the courts and a major public issue both here and across Canada – why would Premier MacLauchlan immediately deny himself easy and immediate “proxy access” to those extensive electronic files? That decision doesn’t come close to passing the smell test.

Electronic files can be searched and located far more efficiently than paper files stored in boxes, so why would Premier MacLauchlan want them deleted from the system entirely, huddled together in some locked storage unit, filed under general subject headings in file folders?

If Ghiz’s files were destroyed without first being copied and protected, and someone was to file an Access request asking for any of those records, that person would simply receive a response indicating that no records were found, and that would be the end of it.

If Ghiz’s electronic files had not been deleted, and the computer accounts had simply been “disabled” – and someone was to file an Access request, any responsive records would have to be printed and provided to the person making the FOIPP request. But Premier MacLauchlan had been informed of the benefits of leaving electronic files intact for proxy access long before he decided to delete all of Ghiz’s emails, files, and accounts.

Wade MacLauchlan had received a “joint briefing” covering both the Provincial Archives and Records Office (PARO) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office (FOIPP), as was learned at a later Public Accounts Meeting held on February 1, 2017, p. 92] within a week or 10 days of becoming Premier, so he would have been fully aware of the legal requirements to protect these records and have the Record Management Liason Officer (RMLO) in his office make paper copies, complete schedules, and transport records to the Public Archives and Records Office (PARO) for disposition (either ‘archiving’ or ‘deletion’):

Premier's briefing on Foipp

The ITSS Employee Removal Form for Robert Ghiz indicated that all of Ghiz’s network files and emails had been destroyed on May 29, 2015. When I discovered Ghiz’s electronic files had been deleted, I wanted to confirm whether those records had first been copied and archived by MacLauchlan, so I submitted a FOIPP request.

3. My Failed FOIPP Request for Robert Ghiz’s E-gaming Paper Records

When Capital Markets Technologies and Paul Maines were hit with a Securities Investigation, a Private Investigator was contracted by CMT (RB Mac Consultants). The investigator, a retired RCMP Officer, Bruce MacDonald, submitted a number of FOIPP requests, one of which was for records in the premier’s office relating to an egaming event in which Premier Ghiz was involved. This was the final response he received:

June 11 2014 FOIPP by Bruce McDonald

There should have been records responsive to this request, but I learned from Ghiz’s Cross-examination transcript that he had great trouble recalling just about everything he was asked about, including when he first heard about CMT/FMT. Ghiz was certain about one thing, however, at the time Chris LeClair exited Government in October 2011, Ghiz had never heard of CMT/FMT.

CMT’s lawyer John MacDonald read from Ghiz’s sworn Affidavit, then asked him when he had first heard about CMT and FMT (764):

No Knowledge of CMT or FMT

No knowledge of CMT or FMT on October 19, 2011? That was a bald-faced lie. Ghiz participated in the major “Get to know CMT/FMT and the Secret Financial Transaction Platform Project” event at Crowbush in May 2011, so that sworn claim was clearly a lie. And Chris LeClair was involved in organizing that event and delivering briefing notes to the Premier on FMT – 6 months before he left Government. But after LeClair leaves Government, and Ghiz deletes all his records, and he is asked if he ever heard of CMT or FMT, he proceeds to swear that a lie is the truth. With no consequences. What a mess!

CMT’s private investigator was actually asking for records associated with another much later meeting that took place in the Premier’s office on February 9 and 10, 2012 – where documents show a PowerPoint on the Simplex Global Transaction Platform Project was presented.

A little over a year ago, I decided to try to obtain documents from Ghiz’s archives. I received the following response to my request in late January, 2019:

February 15, 2019 Letter from Kathyrn Dickson

I purposefully submitted this as unreasonably-broad so I could have a discussion with the APSO Coordinator about “narrowing” the search with more specific search criteria. If I received such a reply, that would suggest there were paper records organized in folders to search, only instead of “keywords” for electronic searches, I expected I would be asked for subject headings for file folder tabs. I wanted more information about how the files were organized before deciding on search criteria. Sure enough, I received a request to narrow the search a short time later:

March 7, 2019

After receiving this email, I called Ms. Dickson and gave her three “subject headings” for the FOIPP search, but then realized I hadn’t specified that now that “subject” heading was being searched on just three headings, I wanted all the 18 boxes searched for records with those subject headings, and sent a follow-up email:

March 7 email from Kevin to Katthyrn Dickson

Concerned that I had heard nothing back confirming that the scope of my request would be changed from one week to the entire scope of Ghiz’s tenure as Premier, I sent another email to Ms. Dickson four days later:

March 11, 2019

I received the following response the same day:

March 11, 2019 Kathyrn to Kevin

Ms. Dickson was in touch with me by phone to assure me that she passed on the amendment to the FOIPP request scope to the public body.

On April 8, 2019, I received a final decision letter from the Premier’s Office. The first thing I noticed is that they did not search as per the scope of my request, but used the three search terms FOR ONLY ONE WEEK:

April 8

Notwithstanding the fact that the public body did not amend my initial request as per the new search scope, the final response letter referred to my request as a “revised” request. Not surprisingly, having limited the search to just five business days, nothing was found:

Not only was the search unilaterally restricted to one week, despite my revised search scope, it apparently didn’t even involve an actual search of the hardcopy records, but only checked “a list documenting the former Premier’s records” to see if my search terms were on the list. Unbelievable.

The electronic search shouldn’t have taken 20 minutes. In fact, it shouldn’t have taken any time at all: Ghiz’s electronic documents and emails – his e-gaming files included –had already been ALL deleted back in May 2015. I suspect that Mr. Ledwell didn’t realize I already knew that, and 20 minutes seems excessive to me to search an archive that doesn’t exist.

My principal aim was to determine whether those electronic records were “backed up” and stored for the Provincial Archives in accordance with the law, but I was unfortunately no further ahead knowing that, with that non-response to my request. Being busy with other things at the time, I did not resubmit the FOIPP with clear terms that couldn’t be misinterpreted or ignored, nor did I request a review of that FOIPP request with the Information Commissioner. Fast-forward to December 2019.

4. Maines’ Successful FOIPP Proving Missing and/or Deleted Ghiz Records

Paul Maines submitted a FOIPP request for Ghiz documents, which was received by the Premier’s Office (PO) on December 9, 2019. The APSO Coordinator in the PO then wrote to Maines on January 10, 2020, indicating that a time extension was required, and that the new response date would be February 7, 2020:

January 10 letter from PO to Maines

The Premier’s Office sent Maines a final response letter on February 3, 2020, indicating that no records had been found:

Unlike my request for Premier Ghiz’s egaming records using three “subject headings,” Maines’ request was very broad, asking for ANY records mentioning either Paul Jenkins or his own Chief of Staff, Chris LeClair for the ENTIRE last 6 months LeClair was in the Premier’s Office. The Premier’s Office only searched a “list” with my request, but with Maines’ FOIPP the search was with the actual “…archived files including correspondence and reports dated from May 1, 2011, to November 1, 2011.”


Section 8 of the FOIPP Act requires the public body to explain to the applicant why records that were once in the possession of the public body are no longer in the possession of the public body, and Maines immediately filed a review with the Information Commissioner’s office based on Section 8. Ms. Rose has since notified the Premier’s Office that an OIPC review on this FOIPP is underway and has requested the file:

February 12 letter from karen rose to pb

It is worth noting that it was Paul Ledwell who (1) responded to my request for Ghiz records in the Premier’s office under former Premier Wade MacLaughlan and that it was also Paul Ledwell who (2) responded to Maine’s request for Ghiz records in the Premier’s office under our current Premier, Dennis King. It seems continuity does indeed ensure consistency in outcomes!

It will be interesting to see what Ms. Rose uncovers in her investigation into Ghiz’s missing records. Of even more interest will be how Premier King is going to explain these missing Ghiz records.


There have been at least three targeted requests for e-gaming and/or CMT/FMT-related documents associated with dates and meetings when it was known that former Premier Robert Ghiz was involved with the PEI Government-FMT project: Bruce MacDonald, me, and Paul Maines. Not a single page of records was produced in any of them.

It seems nearly everywhere Paul Maines and I have looked for records related to the e-gaming and financial transaction platform projects that should exist we find the same thing: records have gone missing, or in some instances, there’s official confirmation that records were mysteriously, but permanently, deleted – by someone not authorized to do so, otherwise there would be schedules and documentation on the record disposition process for those deleted records – and that those records are now unrecoverable from backup tapes (electronic records) or were destroyed (paper records).

This problem is clearly endemic – not to mention criminal. This shameless disrespect for maintaining and making available to Islanders a truthful historical record of Government’s activity has been a festering pus-filled wound sickening our entire democracy for far too long. It urgently needs excising!

The Green Party, our Official Opposition, have yet to say anything about this rampant document destruction, missing records, repeated refusal to release documents in FOIPP requests, leading to numerous reviews at the Information and Privacy Commissioner, then Consent Orders, Court Orders, and now several PEI Supreme Court Motions that will be heard in early March 2020, including a Motion seeking a ruling against the King Government of “Contempt” for breach of a Supreme Court-enforced Order that the PEI Government, ironically, asked for, then completely ignored.

What has the King government said to explain itself? Nothing of any substance. The only justification provided in the legal defense filed on Maines’ initial Motion attempting to justify this egregious and unlawful behavior covering up information and documents was: “We’ve been busy as heck, and it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day…but don’t worry, we’ll get to it eventually.”

Can you imagine you or I saying such a thing to a Supreme Court Judge after breaching an Order that same Court issued “Ordering” you or I (that’s what Orders do) to do something by a certain date? I know I wouldn’t say I was busy and just couldn’t get around to it, or at least not without having a packed bag with fresh socks and underwear in hand for the ride out to Sleepy Hollow.

What has the Official Opposition done to call the Government to account on this extremely disturbing trend of denying access to and/or destroying Government records? What has Peter Bevan-Baker said to coax the King government to start trusting Islanders as the PC Party promised it would and provide a public explanation for the unprecedented way in which the PEI Government is blocking Islanders from accessing what our PEI laws declare we have a right to access? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a single word.

What has the leader of the NDP, Joe Byrne, had to say about all of this? Quite a lot, actually, but few Islanders would be aware of that. Byrne was the only politician to attend the recent PEI Supreme Court Motion Hearing and has published two excellent News Releases in recent weeks, [Byrne Challenges King Government on Transparency on E-gaming File {January 22, 2020} and Byrne Calls for Action on Missing E-Gaming Records (November 28, 2019)].

Unfortunately, when I asked Byrne at the Court House last week why he hadn’t sent those two News Release to the media but had only posted them on the NDP Webpage, he told me that he sent both of them to all media, but neither the Guardian, Journal Pioneer, Eastern Graphic, West Prince Graphic nor CBC published either of them.
Saltwire: You want to be the news source in PEI with the “most local”? Then publish what’s local!
CBC: You want Islanders to respect you as our “public” Broadcaster? Earn it……start reporting news from Joe (public).

Whoever is making decisions to crumple up Byrne’s news releases and toss them in the garbage should be ashamed of themselves! Have they not noticed? Joe is the only leader of a PEI political party that has been so far willing to call Government to account and offer information for Islanders about this extremely serious matter. Yet PEI’s self-proclaimed “most local” daily newspaper monopoly, as well as our “public broadcaster,” won’t let him. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs if you ask me.

Islanders were promised a fair, open, honest and transparent Government with an unmatched degree of passion and sincerity never before seen in an incoming Government.

The brutal denial of access to information and documents by the King government -coupled with the shameless silence by the Official Opposition on these historically-significant issues – has created never-before collusion on the pretense of collaboration, covering corruption that’s now obvious, blatant, continuing, and unprecedented in our political history.

When all is said and done, when the dust finally settles and the full truth is revealed about who really runs this province, the logical prediction would be that the PC Minority government won’t survive this scandal. Then again, will Islanders want the Greens in power when they either (1) haven’t had the insight to recognize the incredible political significance of what is happening that needs to be fully exposed and challenged, or (2) they don’t have the courage to rock the powers clearly pulling the strings with the King Government.

What kind of a Government would the Greens make when they can’t even find the muster to mount an effective Opposition?

And given the fact that it was the Liberals who conceived, gave birth, then hid this egaming demon child in the shadows for years….well, they can forget about being the government until this generation dies off.

So that’s my prediction: the Minority government will survive because all three political parties know they have all lost the confidence of Islanders and are terrified to tell them the truth about their impotence – the only thing left for them to do to regain some power. I suspect no PEI politician has anything they believe worth taking to the polls.

You would think the Greens would realize that they have absolutely nothing to lose by raising this issue in the public sphere, but so far, it appears that Peter Bevan-Baker’s philosophy is: “There’s nothing to fear but [the public] sphere itself!” when it comes to speaking publicly on this anti-democratic and illegal control strategy with FOIPP Act violations to keep sensitive Government documents hidden.

Perhaps if more Islanders started writing letters to the editors, short pithy ones with one or two really clear questions for the Government or Opposition Party, it might get the media ball rolling on this major story in the making that no media outlet seems to want to report. I personally think it’s time for some of the national media people I know are following this blog to put their pen to paper.