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Name names on deleted P.E.I. e-gaming emails, Steven Myers says

Opposition MLA Steven Myers seen here speaking with MLA Brad Trivers before legislature. On Tuesday, Myers accused the province of creating a "smokescreen" surrounding PISA results.
Opposition MLA Steven Myers seen here speaking with MLA Brad Trivers before legislature. On Tuesday, Myers accused the province of creating a "smokescreen" surrounding PISA results.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Email accounts of two senior P.E.I. government officials who were also key players in the province’s e-gaming scandal have been deleted — but whose accounts were deleted and who deleted them?

These were questions Opposition MLA Steven Myers and other Opposition MLAs asked over and over again last week in the legislature.

But so far, government ministers and the premier have either delayed their response or refused to answer these questions.

Myers says he believes it’s a deliberate attempt by government to protect “Liberal cronies.”

“This is a very serious case where government is hiding information from Islanders, everything they’ve done is backhanded and crooked,” Myers said.

“It shows Islanders who they’re protecting and it shows that Wade MacLauchlan is no different than the previous premier, that he is willing to hide evidence on Liberal cronies to protect them rather than do what’s best for Islanders.”

These were questions Opposition MLA Steven Myers and other Opposition MLAs asked over and over again last week in the legislature.

But so far, government ministers and the premier have either delayed their response or refused to answer these questions.

Myers says he believes it’s a deliberate attempt by government to protect “Liberal cronies.”

“This is a very serious case where government is hiding information from Islanders, everything they’ve done is backhanded and crooked,” Myers said.

“It shows Islanders who they’re protecting and it shows that Wade MacLauchlan is no different than the previous premier, that he is willing to hide evidence on Liberal cronies to protect them rather than do what’s best for Islanders.”

As part of her audit into the controversial e-gaming venture, auditor general Jane MacAdam found that emails of key government players involved in e-gaming had been removed entirely after these individuals left government.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan has since elaborated that it was two individuals whose email accounts were deleted, but when asked by The Guardian for their names, MacLauchlan refused to name them.

“The auditor general took the approach of not naming individuals, and I think if she’s going to change that, she should be the one that does so.”

He added he does not know who was responsible for deleting their accounts, but said as of now, it has been made clear to government employees this is not acceptable.

When Myers posed the same questions in the legislature last week, Education Minister Doug Currie, whose department oversees records management, said he did not know the answers, but promised to bring the information back to the house.

In the meantime, there will be no sanctions for those who did delete emails because there are currently no penalties in P.E.I.’s laws against anyone who destroys government documents.

That’s one of many government policies that will change as a result of the auditor general’s findings.

Currie says legislation will come next spring to add more teeth and clarity to the Archives and Records Act, which will include penalties for those who break it.

A five-year strategy will also be unveiled in the coming weeks that will have steps to modernize records management across government. And it will include some new investments.

Approximately $750,000 in the capital budget, which was tabled last week, has been earmarked for records management. This includes $350,000 for the purchase of additional secure physical space to store paper records. There is also $390,000 allocated for a new electronic document management system to store electronic records. This is a tool that, along with staff training and auditing, will increase compliance, government says.

Additional resources will be added to increase staffing levels to handle document storage and retention, Currie said.

“Really this is not only a response to the auditor general’s report, but really a modernization of the way governments manage records.”

Teresa.wright@tc.tc

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

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