Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Basi-Virk: NDP MLA Leonard Krog writes Premier Gordon Campbell requesting independent public investigation into missing BC Rail-related MLA emails

Yesterday NDP MLA Leonard Krog, critic for the Attorney General's Ministry, wrote Premier Gordon Campbell with a call for an independent public investigation regarding the erasure or disappearance of four years of BC Liberal MLA emails connected the the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003.

That letter is below.

* * * * *

June 29, 2009

Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier
Room 156, West Annex
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Dear Premier Gordon Campbell,

I am writing with regard to the serious revelation that four years of Cabinet email correspondence concerning the sale of BC Rail has been deleted and/or destroyed by your government.

The destruction of government emails that have been requested by the defence in this case raises serious questions about your government’s compliance with British Columbia law and policy, particularly as it applies to emails of cabinet ministers, executive appointees and high-ranking political staff.

The destruction of government records, including emails, is covered by a provincial statute, the Document Disposal Act. The Corporate Information Management Branch has set out Records Management schedules in order to fulfill the requirements of the Act. Those schedules outline the specific requirements for classification, retention, and disposal of government documents, including emails. I attach for your information the following:

· Schedule 102903, which differentiates between transitory documents and those that are “required for ongoing legal, fiscal, audit, administrative or operational purposes”;

· Schedule 102906, a specific schedule for government executive offices that supersedes the email policy and all other schedules and requires executive records, including emails and voicemails, to be retained for a minimum of 10 years. This schedule sets a higher standard for retention and clearly articulates that executive documents related to the development and implementation of government legislation, programs and services must be retained; and,

· Section 4 of the Operations Classification System which details the specific schedule for the Office of the Premier and clearly reflects the rules laid out in the Executive Schedule and sets a 10 year retention period for most documents.
Additionally, all schedules note that documents which may relate to legal proceedings or have legal or evidentiary value must be retained.
Given the events relating to the Legislative raids and subsequent charges it must be supposed that executives as well as all government offices involved in the BC Rail transaction would have been advised of their duty to preserve records. In that light, the failure of your government to produce the records points to a serious breach of the law and policies regarding document retention.

In 2006, another breach of information preservation took place under your government - the loss of 41 computer tapes - and as a result, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) was immediately tasked by your government with a full investigation that resulted in a report with recommendations.

For your reference, the CIO’s report was Investigation Report 2006-048, dated March 24, 2006.

Given the public concern over the sale of BC Rail, an independent investigation is called for in this case, to determine the extent of legal and policy violations as well as responsibility for those violations.

By this letter, I call on you to immediately launch an independent and public investigation to determine the reasons for the disappearance of the emails in question, to determine whether any person or persons made a decision to deliberately destroy these records and finally to determine whether all avenues have been exhausted to locate or recover them.

Additionally I ask you to ensure the independence of such an investigation. Clearly, in the interests of public accountability the investigation must be seen to be separate from government.

I urge that the investigation report to the Legislature through an appropriate body.


Leonard Krog, MLA

Official Opposition Critic for Attorney General

cc: Attorney General Mike De Jong,
Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel,
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert Gillen, Criminal Justice Branch;
Minister of Citizen Services and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and the Public Affairs Bureau Ben Stewart,
Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, RCMP



Norm Farrell said...

As Canwest and Global have it, "Move along, no story here. Trust us, we know."

Anonymous said...

What a joke. and Krog was an attorney in his former life ? Small wonder he had to depend on the taxpayer to put food on the table.

Anonymous said...

I cant see where this is joke material this entire episode has been rather sad doing as you wish with no regarrd to rules is not democracy and may have been ilegal in this case i would liek an inquiry myself we need to see waht really happened its about a lot of money and politicla influence sems to be strong we need to know why

Anonymous said...

MLA Krog is asking for a public inquiry and has done so by writing the Premier, the guy who can call such an inquiry.. Does anon 8:28PM have a better idea as to try to get things moving? Hopefully an inquiry will happen. Personally I figure MLA Krog has no problem working as an attorney and his consituents have no problem electing him. So what's your problem?

Anonymous said...

It’s a grandstanding political stunt. As an attorney Krog should know there is already a criminal investigation underway and his letter is a glorified waste of time. Even as an NDP MLA you would think he might have better things to….but whatever you NDP’ers are wishful thinkers. Keep dreaming; it’s what you do best.

Anonymous said...

To answer your other question 7:44 am NO I don’t have a better idea to get things moving. The problem is that nobody who is part of the whole circus show wants to get it moving.

The defence know their clients are guilty so they are fishing and delaying like crazy to keep this thing delayed.

The government knows that the defence will never prove their clients are innocent, but they will continue to find unrelated things to embarrass the hell out of the government and they too would like too see it delayed.

The lawyers on all sides continue to cash in the longer it is delayed. And everyone knows if they can delay it long enough it will eventually get punted from the courts. As always justice delayed leads to justice denied. I am surprised so many cannot see the obvious here.

Once the above comes true; then there should be a public inquiry where we will spend millions only to learn everything we already know. By then it will be 2020 or maybe even 2022 and nobody will even remember who Campbell was. That’s my prediction. But go ahead and tell me I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Funny how many of the comments that Anon 2:46 make are never born out by the trial judge. I guess that in his conspiracy theory the judge part of the delay cover up to help the government! Or the Judge is working with the Defence stragegy as well...pathetic logic anon.

Please explain how records held by the government delay the case for the defence? The law is clear that records not obtained by the Crown (from search or seizure)cannot be added to any delay argument, otherwise every case would have non-stop 3rd party records applications. Basic law 101.

Stop drinking the Koolaid and get some facts.

The delay is due to an issue related to a "secret witness" that Special Prosecutor Bererdino claims must be protected. That Supreme Court of Canada decision will come down in October 2009 - close to 2 years (Dec 2007) since Bennett made the decision that Bererdino is appealing. Berardino has also failed miserably with Crown disclosure that lead to other decisions.

The truth is that the BC Rail deal has some troubling questions that need answers. I look forward to reading your comments during the Patrick Kinsella documents.

Chris Aikman said...

In the meantime, the premier should step aside, at least temporarily.

How else will this issue ever be resolved????