MOMENT OF TRUTH ARRIVES FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON RECORDS

The Special Committee on Records reconvenes at 1:30pm today (Thursday, August 27, 2020) and we will know when it is over whether the committee will be on track to achieve its stated objectives. When debate on Motion 86 was taking place, it was clearly stated that this committee would finally find out: ‘Who deleted the emails?”

For the mover of Motion 86 – Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker – there was no doubt in his mind what the key aim of the Special Standing Committee would be:

Peter Bevan-Baker: “Indeed, a special committee is, I would say, the only way to reestablish public trust in our records retention systems and to finally find out the answer to that now infamous question: Who deleted the emails? This investigation on records rightly belongs in a special committee of this Legislative Assembly. A special committee will conduct its work in full public view, it has the power to subpoena and compel witnesses, and it will be able to follow the investigation wherever it leads. Indeed, a special committee is, I would say, the only way to reestablish public trust in our records retention systems and to finally find out the answer to that now infamous question: Who deleted the emails?: [Hansard, June 25, 2020, p. 2712].

During the subsequent debate on Motion 86 on June 30th, Hon. Steven Myers made it crystal clear that it was his and his government’s intention to achieve the very same objective.

Steven Myers: “I was part of the opposition who stood day after day after day after day, session after session after session, calling: Who deleted the emails? That hasn’t changed.” [Hansard, June 30, 2020, p. 2847].

So far – after three meetings of the committee – it doesn’t appear to me that a decision has been made as to what “road” to take with the line of questioning. The person at the very heart of the matter – Brad Mix is the person behind those important egaming documents that were also being illegally withheld from the court.

I’ve already alleged that the evidence now clearly shows that Mix committed perjury in his sworn answers given during cross-examination [See: “New FOIPP Documents Reveal Brad Mix Committed Perjury“] saying that he didn’t even know what the initials “FMT” stood for, meanwhile, he was in charge of the “FMT Project” files which were never disclosed to the court nor in FOIPP requests. Ms. Rose drew special attention to how those two years of emails overlapping the same 2 year egaming period were deliberately deleted.

The 4th meeting of this Special Committee has taken place and what has been discovered so far? Nothing I can put my finger on that we didn’t already know. And I am not at all surprised at the dirge of insight. When are the key players like Deputy Minister Erin McGrath-Gaudet; Hon. Matthew MacKay; Pam Gorvette (Brad Mix’s Assistant for many years who participate in FOIPP searches and the cover-up)? People with involvement and/or first-hand knowledge of the issues?

Brad Mix’s name hasn’t been mentioned to my knowledge; Brad Mix hasn’t been called as a witness to my knowledge; and when the former Auditor General, Jane MacAdam, mentioned “other missing emails’ yesterday during her appearance at committee, something she became aware of during her special audit of egaming, there were no follow up questions like, “Were those Brad Mix’s records? “ or “What else can you tell us about that?”

I know members of the committee have been, are and will continue to be very busy with many files and commitments. They hardly got a summer break with the long Spring Sitting of the House.

But this critical committee work must be a priority. Homework needs to be done. I was quite surprised to hear – more than once – the former Auditor General have to refer members of the committee back to reports that were already tabled in the Legislature with the answers to their questions, revealing their lack of knowledge and preparation, not to mention waste of her and their time and missed opportunity to ask something that would generate insight and advance the work of the committee.

Have all the committee members even read Karen Rose’s Order? I really hope so. It deserves multiple slow reads where the significance of her words for the work of the committee can be fully appreciated.  For example, ponder what she says about her inability to understand the motive for public servants lying to me (applicant 1) and Paul Maines, President of CMT (applicant 2):

[83] I find that the EGTC has failed to comply with rules relating to the destruction of records set out at section 15 of the Archives and Records Act, which was in force at the relevant time. Every public body has a duty to retain government records, including emails, in accordance with their retention and disposition schedules. By the loss of non-transitory email records, without having printed and retained paper copies, the EGTC, via the named employee, failed in this important duty.

I can think of a few questions this comment gives rise to get additional information, detail and insight from Ms. Rose. And this is a big one for me….lots of good questions pop off the page reading this:

[89] I find that the head of the EGTC did not respond to the Applicants openly, accurately and completely, violating section 8 of the FOIPP Act, when they failed to advise the Applicants that responsive records to their access requests had been destroyed, and were no longer accessible.

And this could lead to a fuller understanding of what she learned from the ITSS people about the possibility to learn more – or if learning more is even possible from forensic analysis of hard drives, or other hardware and/or software that might provide insight….avenues that she was either not mandated and/or authorized to pursue:

[78] The Acting Director was also asked about whether it is possible for ITSS to determine if emails were deleted. The Acting Director advised that it is not possible to tell if an email was deleted. Such a determination would require a keystroke analysis, which is not something ITSS does.

If the committee truly wants to discover “who deleted the emails?” stop asking questions about the record-keeping system, or at least questions looking for flaws or ways to improve the system. The question need to be laser-focused on the issues that might offer the committee a chance of achieving its objective – discovering who deleted the emails.

Ms. Rose went as far as she could go in saying what she said in her report – within the parameters and scope limitations in  the FOIPP Act. I suspect she has much more to say. I hope questions are asked that elicit that information; and if not, I hope she volunteers the information she has whether or not the ‘exact’ questions that would elicit that information are asked, knowing what the committee wants (and needs) to know to do its job and fulfill a mandate given to it by our legislative assembly.

As for the committee, I hope they start using and asking for NAMES  and exploring connections and ‘who did what’ stuff or this is going nowhere. Candid down-to-earth questions need to be asked….act like you really need to know and are in a hurry to find out, which is the truth.

I want to hear questions like: “Do you think there was a cover-up?”  or “Who were the people you dealt with at ITSS…did they tell you why that ‘second email archive’ that Brad Mix had and they mentioned on the ITSS incident report that they couldn’t access?” Do you know what happened to that second archive?”   Questions like that.

It will be fascinating to watch to see what happens. It’s streamed on Facebook and the Legislative Assembly’s website’s committee page.

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