A year has passed, but P.E.I.’s privacy commissioner has not yet completed her investigation into how emails written by a PNP whistleblower to a cabinet minister were obtained and released to media by the Liberal party during the provincial election.
Privacy Commissioner Maria MacDonald could not comment directly, as privacy laws prevent her from discussing her investigations.
But when asked this week whether she has filed a report yet on this investigation, MacDonald indicated nothing has yet been filed. And it will likely be some time before anything does emerge from this probe.
MacDonald said she is not even close to being finished.
In mid-September of last year, in the middle of the provincial election campaign, the P.E.I. Liberal party released private emails that were sent to former Innovation Minister Allan Campbell’s private ministerial account. The emails were accompanied by a news release attempting to discredit three former provincial civil servants making serious allegations of fraud and bribery involving the Provincial Nominee Program.
The emails were written by one of the informants, Svetlana Tenetko, to Campbell, discussing her views on the PNP and hardships she endured as a result of not having her contract with the provincial government renewed.
They were sent to Campbell’s ministerial email account. They were also marked ‘confidential.’
Premier Robert Ghiz told media at the time the emails were leaked to the Liberal party anonymously. He said he didn’t know where they came from because they came in a brown envelope.
MacDonald told The Guardian last year, before she launched her investigation, she was concerned when she saw these internal government emails containing private details being released to media.
“There’s a couple of things in there that definitely raised my eyebrow… there’s definitely some concerns with the whole thing,” MacDonald said in a Guardian interview on Sept. 16, 2011.
The RCMP are reviewing allegations that envelopes stuffed with cash were exchanged for admission to P.E.I.’s immigrant investor program. Citizenship and Immigration Canada forwarded the complaints to the Mounties and the Canada Border Services Agency last year.
Staff Sgt. Dene Williamson from the commercial crime unit of the RCMP in P.E.I. said a report on that investigation is expected within weeks.
That report will detail recommendations on whether charges should be laid or if the complaints should be dismissed.
“It is nearly complete but not complete yet,” Williamson said.
“We expected that it would be done by now but things don’t always happen as quickly as you’d like. But it shouldn’t be much longer.”
The Canada Border Services Agency closed its investigation into the allegations last November after it failed to turn up enough evidence to take any action on the file.